Pe bolta cerului senin

Pe bolta cerului senin
Cântări au răsunat,
Când îngerii duios și lin
Din harfe au cântat:
„Slăvit să fie Dumnezeu,
Și pace pe pământ!”
Ascultă-ntregul univers,
Al îngerilor cânt.
Și azi e cerul larg deschis,
Iar îngerii în zbor,
Din străluciri de nedescris,
Sublim ne cântă-n cor.
Deasupra tristelor câmpii
Se-apleacă cerul sfânt
Să stingă zbuciumul din noi
Cu-al îngerilor cânt.
Căci iată, clipele grăbesc
Spre ceasul profețit,
Când vremurile se opresc în prag, la răsărit.
Când cerul nou se va ivi
Având un nou pământ,
Atunci și oamenii vor ști
Al îngerilor cânt.
Compusă în 1849. S1S2S3

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Versiunea Originală

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven's all-gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

— Original five-stanza hymn

Povestea din Spate (EN)

This Christmas hymn was written by Edmund Hamilton Sears, a Unitarian minister in Wayland, Massachusetts, in 1849. It was a troubled time. The California Gold Rush was creating excitement, but was also disrupting the lives of men and women caught up in Gold Fever. The Industrial Revolution was pulling people from their small, marginal farms to the cities, where they often just exchanged one form of poverty for another. And, of course, the tensions over slavery, which would soon plunge the nation into its most terrible war, were already present.

In that troubled context, Sears wrote this hymn that emphasizes peace as a gift from "heaven's all-gracious king" (v. 1). He portrays angels bringing peace to a still-weary world –– angels hovering above "sad and lowly plains" (v. 2). Sears portrays a painful view of life, with its "crushing load" ––and "painful steps and slow" –– and a "weary road" –– but offers the hope of "glad and golden hours" that will "come swiftly on the wing" (v. 3). And he looks forward to the fulfillment of prophecy –– "When the NEW heaven and earth shall own the Prince of Peace their King" (v. 4).

Sears didn't start from scratch when he wrote this hymn at Christmastime in 1849. A dozen years earlier, he had written a poem entitled, "Calm on the Listening Ear." He pulled that poem from his files, made some revisions, and this hymn was born.

Sears was accustomed to submitting articles for publication, so he submitted this verse to The Christian Register, which published it in December, 1849.

The hymn tune was written later by Richard Willis, a music critic for the New York Herald Tribune –– a newspaper that is no longer published but was quite influential in its time. Willis had studied music in Germany, and knew Felix Mendelssohn.

I have read that, even though he was a Unitarian, Sears believed in the divinity of Jesus. However, this is one of the few Christmas hymns that fail to mention "Jesus" or "Christ," so I am not sure that was true. Nevertheless, Christians who do believe in the divinity of Jesus have sung the hymn for a century and a half, seeing Jesus in "heaven's all-gracious King" (v. 1) and "The Prince of Peace" (v. 4). If Sears didn't believe in Jesus' divinity, he certainly left room for those of us who do to find Jesus in this hymn.

Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan