Rise up Now ye Shepherds

This Christmas hymn is adapted from the Towneley Mysteries, which is a manuscript from the Middle Ages:  the adaptor / translator is unknown.

It is referred to in this concert programme from 1942.

An arrangement by British composer, pianist, conductor, teacher and political activist Alan Dudley Bush (1900-1995) was published by Novello and Co in 1963, as part of Sing Nowell - 51 Carols, and as a separate choral octavo.  This says that the melody is based on a French tune - but doesn't identify it.   The implication is that the tune is in the public domain.

More recently, it was included in Carols Old and New, released by Kevin Mayhew Ltd.

It is now out of print as an individual piece (per the catalog of Music Sales Classical which Novello is now part of - ref,) but the collection is still available from Sheet Music Plus (USA) or Amazon (UK).

The meter is irregular, with a distinctly different pattern in the odd vs even-numbered verses (ie you sing 1, 3 and 5 to the same tune, and 2 and 4 to a different tune).

Image based on Mantegna's Adoration of the Shepherds


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Rise up now ye shepherds:
Haste with joy to greet the morn
On which our blessed saviour,
Christ the Lord, is born.

Glory in the highest
Peace on earth we sing.
For today is born a saviour
Who is Christ the Lord and king.

2 Now in David's city
Is he who saves from darkness
Those in sin that pine

3 Hail O sacred infant,
Gentle, loving, mild and sweet.
Our soverign Lord and saviour,
Who shall death defeat.

4 Hail, hail, hail oh daystar,
Our heart's true hope and treasure
Bliss and joy, and joy and gain.

5 Blissfully we praise thee,
Making now these walls resound
With tidings of salvation,
To all men around.

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