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Once In Royal David’s City (Piano Solo)

About the Song

Melody by Henry J. Gauntlett (1805-1876)
Arranged by Sally DeFord

Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) is the lyricist for some of my favorite hymns, including “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and “There Is a Green Hill Far Away,” She also wrote the lyric for this beautiful Christmas hymn.

Although the words aren’t actually present in a piano solo, when I arrange hymns for piano the words greatly influence the way the final score turns out–hence, the minor in verse two… “with the poor and meek and lowly, lived on earth the Savior holy.”

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Once in royal David’s city
Stood a lowly cattle shed
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for His bed
Mary was that mother mild
Jesus Christ her little child

He came down to earth from heaven
Who is God and Lord of all
And His shelter was a stable
And His cradle was a stall
With the poor and meek and lowly
Lived on earth the Savior holy

And our eyes at last shall see Him
Through His own redeeming love
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone

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  1. Carol

    Thank you, Sally! I’ve been playing & enjoying your arrangements for many years. This arrangement of “Once in Royal David’s City” – one of my favorites! Simply glorious!!

  2. Kenna Kearsley

    Thank you so much for sharing the blessing of your music with so many. Always beautiful!

  3. S.C. Schijve

    Dear Sally,
    For some years I use your fine en musically nice arrangements of christmas carols in my church. I’m very happy with them!!
    I thank you so much for these free gifts you give me and all others. Your generosity is great and lovely. Thanks a lot and blessed are you from heaven!
    Sylvia Schijve (from Soest, Holland)

  4. Linda Pasarilla

    I heard this arrangement played during the processional at a Christian school Christmas program and liked it so well I decided to look for it so I could learn it for next Christmas. Thank you so much for making this beautiful arrangement available to the public!


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