It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

This a Christmas hymn, about Jesus as the source of peace and the angels as messengers.   It is sometimes written as "It came upon a midnight clear".

It was written by American Unitarian parish minister and author, Edmund Hamilton Sears (1810-1876). 

With meter, tunes it is set to include:
  • CAROL by American composer Richard Storrs Willis (1819–1900) - this tune is the most-commonly used setting of the hymn in the USA.
  • NOEL, aka EARDISLEY OR GERARD, adapted from an English folk tune, by Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan - this tune is the most-commonly used setting of the hymn in the UK.


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Singer with guitar, tune CAROL

Choir with organ, tune NOEL

Singer with band, professional recording, tune CAROL

Choir with organ, professional recording, tune CAROL

Chhoir with organ, professional recording, tune NOEL

Singer with band and chorus - 1958 recording, remastered, tune CAROL

Instrumental - piano, with words on-screen:


It came upon the 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 heaven's all-gracious King" –
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel-sounds
The blessed angels sing.

But with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring; –
Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the 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; –
Oh, rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening 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 splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

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