The First Nowell

Lyrics to the traditional english christmas carol The First Nowell.

  • The christmas carol The First Nowell has been around since at least the 1700s.
  • The spelling of the word Noel as Nowell has been around since at least the 1800s.
  • The word Noel comes from Noël which is French for Christmas. Noël in turn is derived from the Latin word natalis which means birthday.
  • There is also a version where Nowell/Noel has been substituted with O well, O well

Lyrics

Lyrics to two different versions of The first Noël – The first Nowell and The first Noel.

The first Nowell

Lyrics to The First Nowell

The first “Nowell” the angels 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.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
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.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Born is the King of Israel!

And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from country far;
To seek for a King was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest:
O’er Bethlehem it took its rest;
And there it did both stop and stay,
Right over the place where Jesus lay.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Born is the King of Israel!

Then did they know assuredly
Within that house the King did lie;
One entered in then for to see,
And found the Babe in poverty.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Born is the King of Israel!

Then entered in those wise men three,
Full rev’rently upon their knee,
And offered there, in his presence,
Their gold and myrrh, and frankincense.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Born is the King of Israel!

Between an ox-stall and an ass
This Child there truly bornèd was;
For want of clothing they did him lay
All in the manger, among the hay.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made heaven and earth of nought,
And with His blood mankind hath bought.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Born is the King of Israel!

If we in our time shall do well
We shall be free from death and hell,
For God hath prepared for us all
A resting-place in general.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
Born is the King of Israel!

The first Noel

Lyrics to The First Noel

The first Noel, the angels say
To Bethlehem’s shepherds as they lay.
At midnight watch, when keeping sheep,
The winter wild, the light snow deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel.

The shepherds rose, and saw a star
Bright in the East, beyond them far,
Its beauty gave them great delight,
This star it set now day nor night.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel.

Now by the light of this bright star
Three wise men came from country far;
They sought a king, such their intent,
The star their guide where’er it went.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel.

Then drawing nigh to the northwest,
O’er Bethlehem town it took its rest;
The wise men learnt its cause of stay,
And found the place where Jesus lay.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel.