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#48: The First Noel

It’s difficult to know just how old “The First Noel” is. The song (at least the words) is thought to be of Cornish origin, and may date back as early as the 13th or 14th century. During this time, miracle plays and mystery plays — dramatic productions of Catholic saints and biblical stories — were popular in Europe. “The First Noel” may have its origins in some form as early as this time, though it may also be a variation on “The First O Well,” a very old church gallery hymn. It was first published with words in 1823, as part of William Sandys’ Carols Ancient and Modern.

The arrangement here also incorporates a variation of “Prayer from the North,” a tin whistle melody by Solnamoo Song.

Lyrics

The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

And by the light of that same star
Three Wise men came from country far
To seek for a King was their intent
And to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest
O’er Bethlehem it took its rest
And there it did both Pause and stay
Right o’er the place where Jesus lay.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then entered in those Wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee
And offered there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

One Response to “#48: The First Noel”

  • Farnoosh:

    Hi! Thank you so much for sharing this. This arrangement is absolutely mesmerizing.
    I have been looking so much for “prayer from the north” piano background or at least the piano chords so that I can make a background my self and play the irish low whistle on it :).
    Is it possible to give me the chords? I would really appreciate it :)

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