Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings
"People Look East" is a beautiful Advent hymn to the French folk melody Besançon. The carol "Shepherds! Shake off your drowsy sleep" is also sung to this melody. My arrangement is based on the versions in the Presbyterian Hymnal and the Oxford Book of Carols. A very beautiful rendition of this hymn is included in the play Beautiful Star. My wife, Liddy, is planning to preach an Advent sermon series based on this hymn sometime in the future, finishing with the last verse as the Christmas Eve sermon.
People, Look East
Words: Eleanor Farjeon, 1928
Music: BESANÇON, traditional French melody
People, look east. The time is near of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the guest, is on the way.
Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare, one more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish, that in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the rose, is on the way.
Birds, though you long have ceased to build, guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the bird, is on the way.
Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim one more light the bowl shall brim,
shining beyond the frosty weather, bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the star, is on the way.
Angels, announce with shouts of mirth Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming with the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the Lord, is on the way.