At least one of these is Nahum Tate.
While shepherds watched Their flocks by night, All seated on the ground, The angel of the Lord came down And glory shone around.
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Eccles: Whoah! Stop! You've got something there that looks like poetry. What's more it makes sense, and tells a story. In fact the whole hymn is recognisable as a faithful rendering of Luke 2, verses 8 to 14.
Nahum: Sorry, Eccles, I produced this carol before your previous master-classes on hymn-writing. Can you suggest some improvements?
Eccles: We could go for the Bernadette Farrell treatment, maybe, as seen in "Christ be our Light". You make things sound gloomy and depressing, but we know that, since we are socially-aware Tablet readers, it must be someone else's fault.
Out in the fields, shepherds are freezing, Out in the cold, shepherds have woes, Some of them coughing, some of them sneezing, And one with a runny nose. CHORUS: Christ be our light, etc.
Nahum: When do we get to the angel of the Lord and his message of Good News?
Eccles: Probably, never. We have another three verses about how there was a leak in the roof of the shepherds' hovel, one of them had a blister on his toe, and...
I'm allergic to wool, but does anyone care?
Nahum: Well, I really wanted to mention the shepherds, sheep, angel and Baby. Could we do it more punchily?
Watch, Shepherds, Watch, Keep an eye on your cuddly lambkins; Baa, Muttons, Baa, Do whatever sheep do; Shine, Angel, Shine, Tell the Good News to all the shepherds; Cry, Baby, Cry, They are off to see you...
Eccles: I like it, but it does sound vaguely familiar. Can't think why...