Gabriel's Message / Annunciation Carol

This is a carol for the Annunciation, which is often used during Advent and Christmas.   It is translated from a Basque-language folk-style Christmas carol about the Annunciation, "Birjina gaztetto bat zegoen", which is based on Luke 1:26−38, 42−48.

The English-language hymn translation was made by English Anglican priest Sabine Baring-Gould (1834 – 1924).

In recent years, it has been performed by artists including Sting - but it works well as a congregational hymn, with or without accompaniment, provided you take time to learn the slightly unusual phrasing.

The unnamed tune that it is usually set to is based on a traditional Basque tune, arranged by Edgar Pettman and published in 1922.


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Guitar-led band, professional recording:

TV show performance, contemporary style:

Singer, self-accompanied on guitar:

Traditional choir, unaccompanied:

Singer with backing track:

Instrumental - piano:


The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame
"All hail" said he "thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favoured maiden," Gloria!

For known a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honour thee,
Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold
Most highly favoured maiden," Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name."
Most highly favoured maiden, Gloria!

Of her Emmanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn
And everyone throughout the world forever saved
Most highly favoured maiden, Gloria!

(Sometimes the last line in each verse is sung as "Most highly favoured lady, Gloria!)

ABC Notation

Ref:  What is ABC

T:Gabriel's Message
T:The Angel Gabriel from Heaven came
A:Sabine Baring-Gould
Z:abc-transcription ,
B,|"Em"E2 G "D"F2 A "Em"G2 F|[M:12/8]"Em"E3 "D"F3 "Em"B,3-B, z B,|
w:1~~~The an-gel Ga-bri-el from hea-ven came,_ His
w:2~~~For known a bless-ed mo-ther thou shalt be,_ All
w:3~~~Then gen-tle Mary_ meek-ly bowed her head._ "To
w:4~~~Of her Em-man-u-el, the Christ was born._ In
[M:9/8] "Em"E2 G "D"F2 A "C"G2 F|[M:12/8]"Am"E3- E2 D "D7"E3-E z G|
w:1~~~wings as drift-ed snow, his eyes_ as flame;_ All
w:2~~~gen-er-a-tions laud and hon-_our thee,_ Thy
w:3~~~me be as it pleas-eth God,"_ she said,_ "My
w:4~~~Beth-le-hem all on a Christ_mas morn._ And
[M:12/8] "Em"G2 A G2 F "C"G2 A B2 B|"D"A3 "Em"G3 "D"F3- F z G|
w:1~~~hail, said he, thou low-ly maid_en Mary,__ Most
w:2~~~Son shall be Em-man-u-el, by seers fore-told,_ Most
w:3~~~soul shall laud and mag-ni-fy his hol-y name."_ Most
w:4~~~ev-ery-one through-out the world for-ev-er saved._ Most
[M:12/8]"D"A2 G F2 E "D" F3 B,3|"Em"E3 GFG "Am"E3- E2 "D"D|[M:9/8]"Em"E6 z3|]
w:high-ly favour-ed la-dy, Gloria!_________

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  1. A new arrangement and Lyric Video of this Advent Carol is now available on YouTube at Enjoy, and please share.

    1. Thank you, I've added it to the examples shown above.