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Behold That Star

Behold That Star

Words and Music : Thomas W. Talley

 

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. (Matthew 2:9 NKJV)

 

 

This spiritual was written by Thomas Washington Talley (1870–1952), a professor of

chemistry at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Talley was also a gifted musician, and a pioneering ethnographer.  In 1922 he published Negro Folk Rhymes, a collection of black traditional songs from rural Tennessee.  

 

 

While director of the Mozart Society at Fisk, Talley was looking for a Christmas number that would capture the spirit of a jubilee song. He wrote, "As the son of an ex-slave, I knew a great many jubilee songs, but none pertained to Christmas." After searching far and wide, he realized he would have to create an original jubilee carol. "Behold That Star" was the result. 

The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture notes that "this

successful publication was the first serious collection of folksongs from Tennessee, the

first compilation of black secular folksong, and the first to be assembled by a black

scholar."

 

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

 

There was no room found in the inn, (It is the star of Bethlehem.)

For Him Who was born free from sin. (It is the star of Bethlehem.) Oh,

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

 

The wise men came from the East (It is the star of Bethlehem.)

To worship him, the "Prince of Peace." (It is the star of Bethlehem.) Oh,

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

 

A song broke forth upon the night. (It is the star of Bethlehem.)

From angel hosts all robed in white. (It is the star of Bethlehem.) Oh,

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

 

“Glory to God, world without end.” (It is the star of Bethlehem.)

“Peace on the earth, good will to men.” (It is the star of Bethlehem.) Oh,

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder.

Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem.

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