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People Look East (Carol of the Advent)

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This Advent hymn, about the coming of love, was written by English Roman Catholic poet and children's author Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965).

It was first published in the Oxford Book of Carols in 1928 under the title "Carol of the Advent".

With meter 8.7.9.8.8.7, it is almost always set to the tune BESANÇON.  This is a traditional French carol tune (sometimes describesd as Basque tune) that had been used in 1871 with an anonymous carol beginning ‘Shepherds, shake off your drowsy sleep’ in Christmas Carols New and Old (Bramley and Stainer).


Downloads




Examples


Church choir at a carol service, unaccompanied:



Church choir with organ:



Small group with guitar-led band, professional recording:



Singer with piano, up-tempo rendition:



Children's choir with organ and guitar, professional recording:



Singer, self-accompanied on guitar:


Lyrics

The lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. But they are currently available on this website. A rough outline is:
1. People, look east. The time is near ...
.... Love, the guest, is on the way.

2. Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare ...
.... Love, the rose, is on the way.

3. Birds, though you long have ceased to build ...,
.... Love, the bird, is on the way.

4. Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim ...
... Love, the star, is on the way.

5. Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
.... Love, the Lord, is on the way.



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KEEP IN CASE ORIGINAL IS REMOVED, BUT DO NOT DISPLAY
1. People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

2. Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.

3. Birds, though you long have ceased to build,
Guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen
God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the bird, is on the way.

4. Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the star, is on the way.

5. Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the Lord, is on the way.




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