67. Once in royal David’s city

1 Once in royal David’s city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little child.

2 He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all;
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall:
with the poor and meek and lowly
lived on earth our saviour holy.

3 And through all his wondrous childhood
he would honour and obey,
love and watch the gentle mother
in whose tender arms he lay:
Christian children all should be
kind, obedient,good as he.

4 For he is our childhood’s pattern:
day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless;
tears and smiles like us he knew:
and he feels for all our sadness,
and he shares in all our gladness.

5 And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that child, so dear and gentle,
is our Lord in heaven above:
and he leads his children on
to the place where he has gone.

6 Not in that poor lowly stable
with the oxen standing by,
we shall see him, but in heaven,
set at God’s right hand on high;
there his children gather round,
bright like stars, with glory crowned.

Text Information
First Line: Once in royal David’s city
Author: Cecil F. Alexander (1818-1895)
Meter: 8 7 8 7 7 7
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: God, Saviour: Promised and Incarnate; Christmas 1: The Incarnation
Tune Information
Name: IRBY
Composer: H. J. Gauntlett (1805-1876)
Composer (descant) and Arranger: David Willcocks (born 1919)
Meter: 8 7 8 7 7 7
Key: G Major
Copyright: desc. and arr. © Oxford University Press
Notes: Includes descant and arrangement for verse 6.

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