|Sung on Youtube video by Jennifer Nettles with guitar. Click here.|
Music by Adolphe Adam, 1843
Lyrics Placide Cappeau, 1843
English lyrics by John Sullivan Dwight, 1855.
"O Holy Night" (French: "Minuit, chretiens", "Minuit, chretien" in original edition, or "Cantique de Noël") is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chrétiens" (Midnight, Christians) written by wine merchant and poet Placide Cappeau (1808–1877).
In Roquemaure, France at the end of 1843, the church organ had recently been renovated. To celebrate the event, the parish priest asked wine merchant and poet Placide Cappeau, a native of the town, to write a Christmas poem, even though the latter had never shown any interest in religion. Cappeau agreed. Soon afterwards, in the same year, Adolphe Adam composed the music. The song was premiered in Roquemaure in 1847 by the opera singer Emily Laurey. Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight's Journal of Music, translated the song into English lyrics in 1855.
John Sullivan Dwight’s translation into English
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from the Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weaknesses no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever, His power and glory evermore proclaim.