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Updated 01/20/2020


The Carol of the Bagpipers

The words and music for “The Carol of the Bagpipers” was written and composed by Alphonsus Maria de Liguori. Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787) was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, composer, musician, artist, poet, lawyer, scholastic philosopher, and theologian.

He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, known as the Redemptorists, in November 1732. In 1762 he was appointed Bishop of Sant'Agata dei Goti. A prolific writer, he published nine editions of his Moral Theology in his lifetime, in addition to other devotional and ascetic works and letters. Among his best known works are The Glories of Mary and The Way of the Cross, the latter still used in parishes during Lenten devotions.

He was canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871. One of the most widely read Catholic authors, he is the patron saint of confessors.

The original Italian poem is said to contain 24 verses. It was translated by Dr. Theodore Baker in 1904.


Lyrics by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

When Christ our Lord was born at Bethlehem afar,
Altho' 't was night, there shone as bright as noon a star:
Never so brightly
Never so whitely
Shone the stars, as on that night!
The brightest star went
Away to call the Wise Men from the Orient.

There were no foes on Earth, or warfare blazing,
Beside the lion then the sheep was grazing,
Safe by the leopard
Wander'd the shepherd
With the bear the calf did play,
The wolf so savage
Would not the tender lamb molest or ravage

While shepards in the fields their flocks were tending,
A shining angel came from heav'n descending;
When he beheld them,
Straightway he told them:
Hear my voice, be not afraid!
Be glad, rejoice, now,
For Earth has all become like Paradise, now!