Week #2 – People, Look East

“People, Look East” was written by Eleanor Farjeon, an English writer who lived from 1881-1965. Her many writings include poems, children’s stories and books, plays, operettas, biographies, and more. The prolific Farjeon, like some other notable great British writers, credited part of her love of storytelling to the imaginative games she and her older brother played as children, becoming book characters and acting things out in their everyday lives. The whole Farjeon family was really quite literary, with older brother Harry becoming a composer and music teacher, and younger brothers Joseph and Herbert joining Eleanor as writers. In her lifetime, Eleanor was friends with D.H. Lawrence, Robert Frost, and Walter de la Mare, among others.

Farjeon’s best known work is “Morning Has Broken”, that beautiful hymn in praise of each new day. Eleanor was asked to write a poem to be set to the hymn tune “Bunessan”, based on a Scottish folk tune. This new hymn was published in the 1931 hymnal Songs of Praise, and has been a staple of churchgoers ever since.

“People, Look East” is a lovely Advent hymn. Set to the French folk tune “Besancon”, the song was first published in 1928 in the Oxford Book of Carols, under the title “Carol of Advent”.

I love this Advent hymn. Each verse is sweet and the tune is happy and lilting. We look east to the dawn of a new day and to the dawn of the coming of the Savior. Enjoy!

Lovely, but skips verse 3
  1. People, look East.

The time is near

of the crowning of the year.

Make your house fair

as you are able,

trim the hearth

and set the table.

People, look East

and sing today –

Love, the Guest,

is on the way.

2. Furrows, be glad.

Though earth is bare,

one more seed

is planted there.

Give up your strength

the seed to nourish,

that is course

the flow’r may flourish.

People, look East

and sing today –

Love, the Rose,

is on the way.

A really beautiful version, with a stunning intro. But, as usual, skips verse 3

(sometimes verse 3 is omitted, but it is perhaps my favorite of them all!)

3. Birds, though you long

have ceased to build,

guard the nest

that must be filled.

Even the hour

when wings are frozen

He for fledging time

has chosen.

People, look East

and sing today –

Love, the Bird,

is on the way.

4. Stars, keep the watch.

When night is dim,

one more light

the bowl shall brim,

shining beyond

the frosty weather,

bright as sun

and moon together.

People, look East

and sing today –

Love, the Star,

is on the way.

Not the best recording, but it has tambourines AND verse 3!!!!

5. Angels announce

with shouts of mirth

Him who brings new life

to earth.

Set ev’ry peak and valley


with the word,

the Lord is coming.

People, look East

and sing today –

Love, the Lord,

is on the way.

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