‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks’ is one of the most famous Christmas songs in the English language, and unlike many Christmas carols we know who wrote this one: a Poet Laureate, no less. So next time you’re singing ‘while shepherds watched their flocks by night’ (or, depending on company, washed their socks by night), you can bask in the knowledge that you’re taking in a bit of literature.
But what were the origins of this favourite Christmas carol? ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks’ deserves closer analysis…
While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
‘Fear not!’ said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind;
‘Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.