It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
DESCRIPTION: "It came upon a midnight clear, That glorious song of old": Angels bring the word of "Peace on the earth, goo will to men." People are told to rest and listen to the angels. Someday the whole world will join the song
AUTHOR: Words: E. H Sears (1810-1876) / Music: Richard Storrs Willis (also sometimes sung to a tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan)
EARLIEST DATE: 1850 ("Christian Register," according to Julian); reportedly written 1849
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad Jesus
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Jolly-Miller-Songster-5thEd, #208, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" (1 text)
Rodeheaver-SociabilitySongs, p. 98, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" (1 text, 1 tune)
National-4HClubSongBook, p. 42, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fuld-BookOfWorldFamousMusic, p. 308, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
NOTES [123 words]: John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 1036, says that Edmund Hamilton Sears was born and died in Massachusetts, and was a Unitarian pastor. He published five books and sundry hymns, most of them published in Sermons and Songs of the Christian Life. Julian lists three significant Sears hymns: this one (the only one I recall hearing), "Calm on the Listening Ear of Night," and "Ho, Ye That Rest Beneath the Rock."
I seem to recall reading idea that Jesus was born at midnight is said to come from a passage in the apocryphal/deuterocanonical book Wisdom of Solomon, about the λογος/word coming down at midnight, but I cannot trace the memory. - RBW
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