Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, W. P. Lunt, a minister in Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1850 Richard Storrs Willis, a composer who trained under Felix Mendelssohn, wrote the melody called "Carol". "Carol" is the most widely-known tune to the song in the USA. In the UK the tune called "Noel", which was adapted from an English melody in 1874 by Arthur Sullivan, is the usual accompaniment.
While different sources provide slightly different wordings/phrasings, and some omit the third stanza altogether, the original and most widely-known words are:
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven's all-gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
o'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
o#Interjection hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.
And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
For lo#Interjection, the days are hasten on,
By prophet seen of old,
When with the ever-encircling years
Shall come the time foretold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
Listen - this MIDI sound file consists of the first half of the first phrase of the song played twice; the first time demonstrates the variation, the second time demonstrates the original version.
It came upon a coastline clear: Winter's a great time to visit Carmel.(Originated from Knight-Ridder/ Tribune News Service)
Dec 18, 1995; CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. _ Jack London idled away his Bohemian hours here. Robinson Jeffers found inspiration for his poetry...