The text of this Christmas carol was first printed in the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine for 1824. Its author, the Rev. Alfred Bourne (1799-1836), was a member of the Oxford Circuit of the Wesleyan Methodist Church at the time he wrote it. A fellow-minister in the Oxford Circuit was the Rev. George Cubitt, D.D. (1791-1850), whose son R. H. Cubitt, later Editor of the Methodist Recorder, wrote the tune. From 1826 to 1835 the Rev. Alfred Bourne was a missionary in the Cingalese District of India. The carol is also found in A Selection of Carols, Pieces, and Anthems, Suitable for Christmas (London: W. Kent & Co.; Penzance: F. Rodda, ca. 1860).