Songs & Hymns

Once in Royal David's City

(General, Gathering)
This traditional carol was first published in the nineteenth century in a book called Hymns for Little Children by the writer Cecil F. Alexander . Every Christmas, it is sung at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge, where a boy chorister sings the first verse as a solo, which is broadcast live on TV! 

Download options

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.

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 mean, and lowly
lived on earth our Saviour holy.

And, through all his wondrous childhood,
he would honour and obey,
love and watch the lowly maiden
in whose gentle arms he lay:
Christian children all must be
mild, obedient, good as he.

For he 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 feeleth for our sadness,
and he shareth in our gladness.

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.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
with the oxen standing by,
we shall see him; but in heaven,
set at God's right hand on high;
when like stars, his children crowned,
all in white shall wait around.

This arrangement © The Royal School of Church Music, 19 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EB.  This song may be photocopied under the terms of the CCLE Music Reproduction Licence. CCLI Song No. 2649014. Please include all items copied in your annual report, quoting 'Worship Workshop'.

Music produced and mixed by Nic Rowley at Vandborg Studios. Backing tracks arranged, performed and recorded by Nic Rowley, Jane Carr, James Welch and Katie Chatburn.  Recording engineer James Welch at Masterlink Productions. Organist Gillian Lloyd. Recorded on the organ of Guildford United Reformed Church by kind permission of the Elders.

Created with Spark and Bang