How far is it to Bethlehem (Geoffrey Shaw)

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  • (Posted 2021-07-22)  CPDL #65243:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2021-07-22).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 133 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2018-09-11)  CPDL #51290:        (Sibelius 8.5)
Editor: Ian Haslam (submitted 2018-09-11).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 77 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
Score updated July 2021 to correct errors.

General Information

Title: How far is it to Bethlehem
Composer: Geoffrey Shaw
Lyricist: Frances Chesterton

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredCarol

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1922 Novello's Short Anthems no.245

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

How far is it to Bethlehem?
 Not very far.
Shall we find the stable-room
 Lit by a star?

Can we see the little Child?
 Is He within?
If we lift the wooden latch,
 May we go in?

May we stroke the creatures there —
 Ox, ass, or sheep?
May we peep like them and see
 Jesus asleep?

If we touch His tiny hand,
 Will He awake?
Will He know we've come so far
 Just for His sake?

Great kings have precious gifts,
 And we have naught;
Little smiles and little tears
 Are all we brought.

For all weary children
 Mary must weep;
Here, on His bed of straw,
 Sleep, children, sleep.

God, in His mother's arms,
 Babes in the byre,
Sleep, as they sleep who find
 Their heart's desire.