It Came upon a Midnight Clear

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It Came upon the Midnight Clear  (1849) 
by Edmund Sears
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" was written by Edmund Sears (1810-1876), pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts. It appeared on December 29, 1849 in the (Boston, Massachusetts) Christian Register. Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, W. P. Lunt, a minister in Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1850 Richard Storrs Willis, a composer who trained under Felix Mendelssohn as well as editor and critic for the New York Tribune, wrote the melody called "Carol". The tune used in England, called "Noel" was adapted from an English melody by the composer Arthur Sullivan.

This carol is also known by the title "It Came upon the Midnight Clear".

It came upon a midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heav'n's all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still thru the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heav'nly music floats
O'er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hov'ring wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing:
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo, the days are hast'ning on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient spendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.