“The First Noel” (also written “The First Noël” and “The First Nowell”) is a traditional classical English Christmas carol, most likely from the early modern period, although possibly earlier. Noel is an Early Modern English synonym of “Christmas”.
The First Noel is of Cornish origin. Its current form was first published in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Carols (1833), both of which were edited by William Sandys and arranged, edited and with extra lyrics written by Davies Gilbert for Hymns and Carols of God. Today, it is usually performed in a four-part hymn arrangement by the English composer John Stainer, first published in his Carols, New and Old in 1871. Variations of its theme are included in Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s Carol Symphony.
Richard Benjamin Haymes (September 13, 1916 – March 28, 1980), known as Dick Haymes, was an American actor and singer. He was one of the most popular male vocalists of the 1940s and early 1950s. He was the older brother of Bob Haymes who was an actor, television host, and songwriter.
1944 Dick Haymes – The First Noel
The first Noel the angel 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.
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
Born is the king of Israel
Then entered in the wise men three,
Fall reverently upon their knee,
And offered there in his presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Born is the king of Israel.