New Zadoc (While Shepherds Watched)

There are probably more musical settings of Nahum Tate’s “While shepherds watched their flocks” (first published in 1700) than any other Christmas song, carol or hymn. “Zadoc” is a Cornish (West Gallery?) version. The setting is very like that of “New Jerusalem,” an American shape note piece by Jeremiah Ingalls of Newbury, VT. We tried to take the good bits from each of them to form New Zadoc. It remains an open question whether Ingalls knew “Zadoc” before writing “New Jerusalem.”

While shepherds watched their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around

Fear not, said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind
Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind

To you in David’s town this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign

The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands
And in a manger laid

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God who thus
Addressed the joyful song

All glory be to God on high
And to the Earth be peace
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease

© Golden Hind Music