140. Once in Royal David’s City

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1 Once in royal David’s city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild;
Jesus Christ, her little child.

2 He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall;
with the poor and meek and lowly,
lived on earth our Savior holy.

3 Jesus is our childhood’s pattern;
day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless;
tears and smiles like us he knew;
and he feels for all our sadness,
and he shares in all our gladness.

4 And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.

Text Information
First Line: Once in royal David's city
Title: Once in Royal David’s City
Author: Cecil Frances Alexander (1848, alt.)
Publication Date: 2013
Meter: 8.7.8.7.7.7
Scripture: Luke 2:4-7; Luke 2:11-12; Luke 2:40; Luke 2:52; John 14:2-3; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:18
Topic: Christian Year: Nativity/Christmas; Christian Year: Epiphany; Jesus Christ: Birth
Language: English
Tune Information
Name: IRBY
Composer: Henry John Gauntlett (1849)
Harmonizer: Arthur Henry Mann (1919)
Meter: 8.7.8.7.7.7
Key: F Major or modal


Text Information:

Like “All Things Bright and Beautiful” (see no. 20), this popular Christmas hymn was written by an Irish poet to illustrate for children the various articles of the Apostles’ Creed. It is not known which of several English villages the composer had in mind when naming this tune.


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Audio recording: Audio (MP3)
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