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December 12

The lyrics of "People, Look East" were written by Eleanor Farjeon for an old Besancon carol tune which was more traditionally a setting for "Shepherds, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep". This excellent Advent hymn has verses of preparation for the four Sundays of Advent and then a fifth verse for Christmas. I've arranged the tune a little differently than I did the previous two years. I sang and played a banjo with a skin head and fishing line strings in the key of F#.

Downloads: mp3

People, Look East

Performed by Greg Barlow on banjo and voice

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.

Sources and more information