The First Noel lyric question...

Posted by Word Camel on December 23, 2003

This has always bothered me a bit...

"The first Noel, The angels did say
was to certain poor shepherds,
in fields as they lay..."

Does this mean 'certain shepherds' as opposed to certain *other* shepherds? Is is an archaic verb? Is is just the way lyrics are sometimes?

This has been preying on my mind for decades. Some times I wake up and night and wonder. Many thanks in advance for any insights.

Who clearly needs a new hobby