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Infant Holy, Infant Lowly

Representative Text

1 Infant holy, infant lowly,
for his bed a cattle stall;
oxen lowing, little knowing
Christ the babe is Lord of all.
Swiftly winging angels singing,
bells are ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the child is Lord of all!
Christ the child is Lord of all!

2 Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping
vigil till the morning new
saw the glory, heard the story,
tidings of a gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow,
praises voicing, greet the morrow:
Christ the child was born for you!
Christ the child was born for you!

Source: Christian Worship (2021): Hymnal #339

Author (attributed to): Piotrowi Skardze

(no biographical information available about Piotrowi Skardze.) Go to person page >

Paraphraser: Edith M. G. Reed

(no biographical information available about Edith M. G. Reed.) Go to person page >

Text Information


Scripture References:
all st. = Luke 2:1-20

Evoking the atmosphere at the manger (st. 1) and among the shepherds (st. 2), this traditional Polish carol tells the Christmas story in short phrases with tight rhymes. A final refrain sums up the significance of the event Christ the child, Lord of all, was born for our salvation!

“W Zlobie Lezy” ("In a manger lies") may date back to the thirteenth or fourteenth century. However, it was not published until the early twentieth century, when it was included with its traditional tune in Spiewniczek Piesni Koscielne (1908). Edith M. Gellibrand Reed (b. Islington, Middlesex, England, 1885; d. Barnet, Hertfordshire, England, 1935) translated the text into English and published it in Music and Youth (vol. 1, Dec. 1921), a journal that she edited.

Reed was educated at the Guildhall School of Music in London, England, and devoted her life to the musical education of children. In association with Percy Scholes she edited various magazines such as Music and Youth, The Music Student, and Pan’s Pipes. Her publications include Story Lives of Great Composers. (1925) and several Christmas dramas. She also contributed to the Kingsway Carol Book and various church school songbooks.

Liturgical Use:
Christmas season, in regular worship services, or in carol and candlelight services, especially those that feature carols from many lands.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988



The Polish tune is a rounded bar form (AABA). Its lines consist of short figures and phrases bound together by the consistent rhythmic pattern of the Polish mazurka (made famous by Frederic Chopin). Note especially the third line with its fine sequences and harmonic suspensions. Sing in parts with a…

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The Cyber Hymnal #2973
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #353
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Instances (1 - 60 of 60)

A Teaching Hymnal #34

Ambassador Hymnal #36


Baptist Hymnal 1991 #106


Baptist Hymnal 2008 #213

Breaking Bread (Vol. 39) #85


Celebrating Grace Hymnal #139

Chalice Carols #15


Chalice Hymnal #163

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Christian Worship (2021) #339

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #163


Common Praise (1998) #125


Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #321

Complete Mission Praise #342

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Evangelical Lutheran Worship #276

Gather (3rd ed.) #445


Gather Comprehensive #354

Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #377

Glory and Praise (3rd. ed.) #251

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Glory to God #128

Great Songs of the Church (Revised) #209


Hymnal Supplement 98 #812

Hymnal #206


Hymns for a Pilgrim People #130


Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #86

Hymns of the Saints #242

Hymns Old and New #251

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Hymns to the Living God #126


Journeysongs (2nd ed.) #344


Journeysongs (3rd ed.) #312


Lutheran Service Book #393

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One in Faith #398

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Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #390

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #353

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Rejoice Hymns #215


Rejoice in the Lord #221


RitualSong #509

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #127

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Sing Joyfully #211


Small Church Music #254

The Book of Praise #143


The Celebration Hymnal #279

The Christian Life Hymnal #119

The Covenant Hymnal #169


The Cyber Hymnal #2973


The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #143

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The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #322


The Presbyterian Hymnal #37


The United Methodist Hymnal #229

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The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #345

The Worshiping Church #169


Together in Song #292

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Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #216

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Trinity Psalter Hymnal #321


Voices Together #243


Voices United #58

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With Heart and Voice #82


Worship (3rd ed.) #393


Worship (4th ed.) #416


Worship and Rejoice #221

찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship #152

Include 32 pre-1979 instances
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