Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Latin hymns
 Early carols
 Later poems and carols
 Poems on Christmas merrymaking
 Back Cover

Title: A book of Christmas verse
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084097/00001
 Material Information
Title: A book of Christmas verse
Alternate Title: Christmas verse
Physical Description: xvi, 173, 1, 40 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Crane, Walter, 1845-1915 ( Illustrator )
Dunbar, William, 1460?-1520? ( Author )
Southwell, Robert, 1561?-1595 ( Author )
Herrick, Robert, 1591-1674 ( Author )
Beeching, H. C ( Henry Charles ), 1859-1919 ( Editor )
Methuen & Co ( Publisher )
T. and A. Constable ( Printer )
Publisher: Methuen and Company
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: T. and A. Constable
Publication Date: 1895
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile poetry   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile poetry   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile poetry   ( lcsh )
Christmas -- Juvenile poetry   ( lcsh )
Children's poetry   ( lcsh )
Children's poetry -- 1895   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre: Children's poetry
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
poetry   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Statement of Responsibility: selected by H.C. Beeching ; with ten designs by Walter Crane.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: Illustrated t.p. printed in red and black.
General Note: Some poems written by W. Dunbar and Robert Southwell and Robert Herrick.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084097
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002222371
notis - ALG2613
oclc - 03597049
lccn - 15022577

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Half Title
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Title Page
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Table of Contents
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Latin hymns
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Early carols
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Later poems and carols
        Page 23
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    Poems on Christmas merrymaking
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
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    Back Cover
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
Full Text

R ;;.i..

ff:"WVA[.N!m,,,l NI






A SUFFICIENT excuse for the preparation of
anthologies should be the demand for them. If
not, the anthologist may plead further the pleasure
they give in the making. In the case of Christmas
poems the more proper delight of culling and
arranging a nosegay is combined with the zeal of
the botanist who hunts shy specimens. The labour
of such search is, of course, greatly lightened by
the work of previous explorers; and here it is right
to acknowledge obligation to two gentlemen, one
known only by his initials H. V., the author of a
book called 'Christmas with the Poets' (Bell and
Daldy, 1862), the other that well-known man of
letters, and my good friend, Mr. A. H. Bullen, whose
'Carols and Poems' appeared in a limited edition in
1886 (Nimmo). The differences of the present col-
lection may best be indicated by a comparison with
its predecessors. In the first place, it does not, like
Mr. Bullen's, appeal to any antiquarian interest.
Poems and carols are accepted or rejected simply
upon their poetical merit, and for no other reason
whatever. Hence siich very popular carols as
'The first Nowell,' I saw three ships come sailing
in,' 'God rest you, merry gentlemen,' and many
others, find no admittance; hence too there are

no pieces from Poor Robin's Almanacks; and
especially my taste differs from Mr. Bullen's in
rejecting altogether the poetry of' Entire'. Such
verses as-
'Bring us in good ale, and bring us in good ale,
For our blessed Lady's sake, bring us in good ale,'
'Here stands my bottle and hook,
Good kitchen maid, draw near,
Thou art an honest cook,
And canst draw ale and beer,'
give me no delight; not that I am such a cur-
mudgeon as to grudge Poor Robin his tankard,
although the Slys, who 'came in with Richard
Conqueror' and are with us still, are seldom very
happy or useful members of society, but that I
fail to see that any one, except perhaps Herrick,
has been 'bemused with beer' to much poetical
purpose. In the section of Religious Poems there is
more matter common to both; and though my choice
has been made independently of Mr. Bullen's book,
in the course of reading for a more general Lyra
Sacra,' it is only fair to say that I have found it ill
gleaning behind him in the seventeenth century.
About a dozen pieces, however, will be found of
that period which are not in his collection. More
modern verses, with one or two exceptions, he
ignores. H. V.'s book, while it contains a good deal
that will be found both in Mr. Bullen's and in

mine, is remarkable for its selection from the poets
of the day; but that day is thirty years past, and
its vogue is not ours. Who now reads Alfred
Domett, though Browning celebrates him in
'Waring'; or John Clare, whose name has at
length been banished from the Golden Treasury';
or who can suck rapture out of the broken ana-
paestic jolt which Eliza Cook's name appeared once
to justify ?
'The holly, the holly, 0 twine it with bay,
Come give the holly a song;
For it helps to drive stern winter away,
With his garment so sombre and long.

I take the liberty of saying so much because I
myself give hostages to my own successor by print-
ing whatever poetry in the most modern taste has
Christmas for its theme. I could wish that such
pieces were more numerous. To the writers in
each case for their courteous permission, as well
as to the publishers, I desire to return my humble
H. C. B.

Yattendon Rectory.



Veni, Redemptor gentium Ambrose 3
Puer natus in Bethlehem 4
Heu quid jaces stabulo Mauburn 5
Adeste fideles 6
Corde natus ex Parentis Prudentius 8
Angelum misit suum Deus omnipotens 9

I sing of a maiden 13
As Joseph was a-walking 13
Nay, ivy, nay 14
In Bethlehem that noble place 16
This endris night 17
Saint Stephen was a clerk 21

Rorate Coeli desuper Dunbar 25
As I in hoary winter's night Southwell 27

Behold a silly tender Babe Southwell 28
Come to your heaven, you heavenly
quires Southwell 30
Let folly praise that fancy loves
Southwell 32
Immensity, cloister'd in thy dear womb
Donne 33
Immortal Babe, who this dear day Hall 34
I sing the birth was born to-night
Jonson 35
Fair eastern star, that art ordained to
run Beaumont 36
Run, shepherds, run, where Bethlehem
blest appears Drummond 39
O than the fairest day, thrice fairer night
Drummond 40
Sweet baby, sleep! What ails my dear
Wither 41
As on the night before this happy morn
Fletcher 44
Who can forget-never to be forgot
Fletcher 45
What sweeter music can we bring .
Herrick 46
In numbers, and but these few ,, 47
All after pleasures as I rid one day
Herbert 49

This is the month, and this the happy
morn Milton
Come we shepherds whose blest sight
Heaven's winged herald late he saw
Bright Babe! whose awful beauties make
Where is this blessed Babe Taylor
Awake, my soul, and come away ,
Sweet, harmless lives, upon whose holy
leisure Vaughan
Awake, glad heart, get up and sing
Sweet music, sweeter far Bolton
Happy crib, that wert alone Sherburne
But art Thou come, dear Saviour Anon
Lodged in an inn
Yet if his majesty our sovereign Lord ,,
And art Thou come, blest Babe .
While shepherds watch'd their flocks by
night Tate
Shepherd4s, rejoice, lift up your eyes
Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber

Christians, awake, salute the happy
morn Byrom 85
Hark, the glad sound! the Saviour comes
Doddridge 87
Hark! how all the welkin rings Wesley 88
The shepherds went their hasty way
Coleridge 89
She gave with joy her virgin breast
Coleridge 91
Sleep, sweet Babe! my cares beguiling
Coleridge 92
Brightest and best of the sons of the
morning .Heber 92
0 lovely voices of the sky Hemans 93
They leave the land of gems and gold
De Vere 94
It chanced upon the merry merry Christ-
mas eve Kingsley 95
How will it dawn, the coming Christmas
Day Kingsley 96
Happy night and happy silence Thring 1oo
In the bleak mid-winter C. Rossetti 102
To Bethlem did they go, the shepherds
three orris 103
Outlanders, whence come ye last ,, o6
It is the longest night in all the year ,, o8
Three damsels in the queen's chamber
Swinburne II8

Wild air, world-mothering air Hopkins
Three Kings went riding from the East
M. Robinson
It's Christmas Eve, and the dogs are a-
cold Collingwood
Consider, 0 my soul, what morn is this
Wake, what unusual light doth greet
In days of old the happy shepherds heard
The night was darker than ever before

Caput apri defero .
Proface, welcome, welcome, proface
So now is come ourjoyful'st feast Wither
Come, bring with a noise Herrick
Come, guard this night the Christmas pie
Wash your hands, or else the fire ,
Wassail the trees, that they may bear
Give way, give way, ye gates, and win

Now, now the mirth comes .












it 148

No news of navies burnt at seas Herrick 150
Now winter nights enlarge Campion 151
To shorten winter's sadness Anon 152
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen
Scott 154
The minstrels played their Christmas
tune Wordsworth 156
Winter was not unkind because uncouth
Bridges 159
- Between the moonlight and the fire
Lang z6o
In holly hedges starving birds Davidson 161



VENI, Redemptor gentium,
Ostende partum Virginis;
Miretur omne saeculum:
Talis decet parts Deum.

Non ex virili semine,
Sed mystico Spiramine,
Verbum Dei factum est caro,
Fructusque ventris floruit.

Alvus tumescit Virginis,
Claustrum pudoris permanent,
Vexilla virtutum micant,
Versatur in temple Deus.

Procedit e thalamo suo,
Pudoris aulh regia,
Geminae gigas substantive,
Alacris ut currat viam.

Egressus ejus a Patre,
Regressus ejus ad Patrem.
Excursus usque ad inferos
Recursus ad sedem Dei.

Aequalis aeterno Patri
Carnis stropheo accingere,
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti.

Praesepejam fulget tuum,
Lumenque nox spirat novum,
Quod nulla nox interpolet,
Fidequejugi luceat.
S. Ambrose.

PUER natus in Bethlehem,
Unde gaudet Jerusalem.

Hic jacet in prasepio,
Qui regnat sine termino.

Cognovit bos et asinus
Quod puer erat Dominus.

Reges de Saba veniunt,
Aurum, thus, myrrham offerunt.

Intrantes domum invicem
Novum salutant principem.

De mature natus virgine
Sine virili semine;

Sine serpentis vulnere
De nostro venit sanguine;

In care nobis similis
Peccato sed dissimilis;

Ut redderet nos homines
Deo et sibi similes.

In hoc natali gaudio
Benedicamus Domino:

Laudetur sancta Trinitas,
Deo dicamus gratias.

HEU quid jaces stabulo
Omnium Creator,
Vagiens cunabulo,
Mundi reparator ?
Si rex, ubi purpura,
Vel clientum murmura,
Ubi aula regis?
Hic omnis penuria,
Paupertatis curia,
Forma novel legis.

Istuc amor generis
Me traxit human,
Quod se noxi sceleris
Occidit profani.
His meis inopiis
Gratiarum copiis
Te pergo ditare;
Hocce natalitio,
Vero sacrificio
Te volens beare.

0 te laudum millibus
Laudo, laudo, laudo;

Tantis mirabilibus
Plaudo, plaudo, plaudo:
Gloria, sit gloria,
Amanti memorial
Domino in altis:
Cui testimonia
Dantur et praeconia
Cmelicis a psaltis.
John Mauburn.

ADESTE fideles,
Laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem;
Natum videte,
Regem angelorum,
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

Deum de Deo,
Lumen de Lumine,
Gestant puellke viscera,
Deum verum,
Genitum non factum;
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

En, grege relicto
Humiles ad cunas
Vocati pastores approperant;
Et nos ovanti
Gradu festinemus,
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

Stella duce, Magi
Christum adorantes,
Aurum, thus, et myrrham dant munera;
Jesu infant
Corda prebeamus:
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

JEterni Parentis
Splendorem aeternum
Velatum sub care videbimus,
Deum infantem
Pannis involutum;
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

Pro nobis egenum
Et feno cubantem
Piis foveamus amplexibus;
Sic nos amantem
Quis non redameret ?
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

Cantet nunc hymnos
Chorus angelorum,
Cantet nunc aula calestium:-
In excelsis Deo:
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

Ergo qui natus
Die hodierna,

Jesu, tibi sit gloria
Patris eterni
Verbum caro factum!
Venite, adoremus Dominum.

CORDE natus ex Parentis
Ante mundi exordium,
Alpha et oo cognominatus,
Ipse fons et clausula.
Omnium quae sunt, fuerunt,
Queque post future sunt
Saeculorum saeculis.

Ecce quem vates vetustis
Concinebant saeculis,
Quem prophetarum fideles
Paginae spoponderant,
Emicat promissus olim,
Cunctaque collaudent Deum
Seculorum seculis.

0 beatus ortus ille,
Virgo cum puerpera
Edidit nostram salutem
Feta sancto Spiritu,
Et puer Redemptor orbis
Os sacratum protulit
Saeculorum saculis.

Psallat altitude caeli,
Psallant omnes angeli,
Quicquid est virtutis usquam
Psallat in laudem Dei;
Nulla linguarum silescat,
Vox et omnis personet
Seculorum ssculis.

Te senes, et te juventus,
Parvulorum te cohors,
Turba matrum, virginumque
Simplices puellulm,
Voce concordes pudicis
Perstrepant concentibus
Seculorum saeculis.

Tibi, Christe, sit cum Patre
Agioque Spiritu,
Hymnus, melos, laus perennis,
Gratiarum actio,
Honor, virtus, et victoria,
Regnum, eternaliter
Ssculorum sseculis.

NOWELL, nowell, nowell, nowell,
Missus est ad virginem angelus Gabriel.

Angelum misit suum Deus omnipotens,
Ut unicum per filium ejus salvetur gens.

Virgo ave, clamat ille, 0 Maria clemens,
Concipies et parties, virgo semper manens.

Virgo clam tremescit, nam mira valde audit,
Earn cui est ille missus comfortavit.
Altissimi Patris tui virtus obumbravit.
Cui per flamen sacrum gramen in te seminavit.

Virgo clemens semper tremens ad verba angeli,
Cui flamen consolamen dat responsum illi,
Miti voce dicens, Ecce ancilla Domini,
Et secundum tuum verbum, ita fiat mihi.

Virgo Deum genuit verbum, quem alit cum cura,
Mirus Pater, mira Mater, mira Genitura;
Parit virgo solo verbo contra carnis jura,
Perseverante post et ante virgine pura.

Nobis natus, nobis datus, quem virgo lactavit,
Atque gregi, sic sub lege cunctaque creavit,
Miti corde nos a sorde moriendo lavavit;
Miserere plebi tuxe, Jhesu fili Davit.

Virgo pia, 0 Maria, pura ut lilia
Sponsa Dei, soror ei, mater et filia,
Tu Hunc ores, viatores ut fugiant vilia,
Et nos trahant huc quo gaudent sanctorum milia.


I SING of a maiden
That is makeless;1
King of all kings
To her son she ches; 2
He came also still
There his mother was,
As dew in April
That falleth on the grass.
He came also still
To his mother's bower,
As dew in April
That falleth on the flower.
He came also still
There his mother lay,
As dew in April
That falleth on the spray.
Mother and maiden
Was never none but she;
Well may such a lady
God's mother be.

AS Joseph was a-walking
He heard an angel sing:-
'This night shall be born
Our heavenly King;

Matchless. 2 Chose. As.

'He neither shall be born
In house nor in hall,
Nor in the place of Paradise,
But in an ox's stall;
'He neither shall be clothed
In purple nor in pall,
But all in fair linen
As were babies all.
'He neither shall be rocked
In silver nor in gold,
But in a wooden cradle
That rocks on the mould.
SHe neither shall be christened
In white wine or red,
But with fair spring water
With which we were christened.'

NAY, ivy, nay,
It shall not be, i-wis ;
Let holly have the mastery,
As the manner is.

Holly stand in the hall,
Fair to behold;
Ivy stand without the door,
She is full sore a-cold,
Nay, ivy, nay, etc.


Holly and his merry men,
They dancen and they sing;
Ivy and her maidens
They weepen and they wring.
Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

Ivy hath a kybe,'
She caught it with the cold;
So mot they all have ae,2
That with ivy hold.
Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

Holly hath berries
As red as any rose,
The foster [and] the hunters
Keep them from the does.
Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

Ivy hath berries
As black as any sloe;
There come the owl
And eat him as she go.
Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

Holly hath birds,
A full fair flock,
The nightingale, the popinjay,
The gentle laverock.
Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

1Chilblain. 2 Every one. 3 Forester.

Good ivy,
What birds hast thou ?
None but the howlet
That krey 'how, how.'

Nay, ivy, nay,
It shall not be, i-wis;
Let holly have the mastery
As the manner is.

IN Bethlehem that noble place,
As by prophecy said it was,
Of the Virgin Mary full of grace,
Salvator mundi natus est.
Be we merry in this feast,
In quo Salvator natus est.

On Christmas night an angel it told
To the shepherds, keeping their fold,
That into Bethlehem with beasts wold,2
Salvator mundi natus est.
Be we merry, etc.

The shepherds were compassed right,
About them was a full great light;
Dread ye nought, said the angel bright,
Salvator mundi natus est.
Be we merry, etc.

1Cries. 2Wild.

Behold to you we bring great joy;
For why1 Jesus is born this day;
To us, of Mary, that mild May,
Salvator mundi natus est.
Be we merry, etc.

And thus in faith find it ye shall,
Lying poorly in an oxes-stall.
The shepherds then God lauded all,
Quia Salvator mundi natus est.
Be we merry, etc.

THIS endris2 night
I saw a sight,
A star as bright as day;
And ever among
A maiden sung,
Lullay, byby, lullay.

This lovely lady sat and sang, and to her child said-
'My son, my brother, my father dear, why liest
thou thus in hayd ?3
My sweet brid,4
Thus it is betid
Though thou be King very;
But, nevertheless,
I will not cease
To sing byby, lullay.'

1 Because. 2 Last. S Hay. 4 Bird.

The child then spake; in his talking he to his
mother said-
'I bekid' am king, in crib though I be laid;
For angels bright
Down to me light,
Thou knowest it is no nay.
And of that sight
Thou mayest be light,
To sing byby, lullay.'
'Now, sweet son, since thou art king, why art thou
laid in stall?
Why not thou ordain thy bedding in some great
king's hall?
Methinketh it is right
That king or knight
Should be in good array;
And them among
It were no wrong
To sing byby, lullay.'
'Mary, mother, I am thy child, though I be laid in
Lords and dukes shall worship me, and so shall
kings all.
Ye shall well see,
That kings three,
Shall come on the twelfth day;
For this behest
Give me thy breast,
And sing byby, lullay.'
1 Signified, p.p. of 'bekinnen.'

'Now tell me, sweet son, I thee pray, thou art my
love and dear,
How should I keep thee to thy pay,' and make thee
glad of cheer?
For all thy will
I would fulfil,
Thou weet'st full well in fay.2
And for all this
I will thee kiss,
And sing byby, lullay.'
SMy dear mother, when time it be, take thou me
up aloft,
And set me upon thy knee, and handle me full soft.
And in thy arm
Thou wilt me warm,
And keep night and day;
If I weep
And may not sleep,
Thou sing byby, lullay.'
'Now, sweet son, since it is so, all things are at
thy will,
I pray thee grant to me a boon if it be right and skill,
That child or man,
That will and can,
Be merry upon my day;
To bliss them bring,
And I shall sing
Lullay, byby, lullay.

1 Content. 2 Faith.




SAINT STEPHEN was a clerk
In King Herodds hall,
And served him of bread and cloth
As ever king befall.

Stephen out of kitchen came,
With boards head on hand,
He saw a star was fair and bright
Over Bethlehem stand.

He kist' down the boards head
And went into the hall:
'I forsake thee, King Herod,
And thy works all.

'I forsake thee, King Herod,
And thy works all;
There is a child in Bethlehem born
Is better than we all.'

'What aileth thee, Stephen?
What is thee befall ?
Lacketh thee either meat or drink
In King Herodds hall?'

'Lacketh me neither meat ne drink
In King Herodes hall;
There is a child in Bethlehem born
H Is better than we all.'

1 Cast.

'What aileth thee, Stephen ?
Art thou wode' or thou ginnest to breed ?
Lacketh thee either gold or fee
Or any richer weed ?'

'Lacketh me neither gold or fee,
Ne none richer weed;
There is a child in Bethlehem born
Shall helpen us at our need.'

'That is al so4 sooth, Stephen,
Al so sooth, i-wis,6
As this capon crow shall
That lieth here in my dish.'

That word was not so soon said,
That word in that hall,
The capon crew,' Christus natus est,'
Among the lords all.

'Riseth up, my tormentors,
By two and all by one,
And leadeth Stephen out of this town,
And stoneth him with stone.'

Tooken they then Stephen
And stoned him in the way,
And therefore is his even
On Christes own day.

1 Mad. 2 Upbraid. 3 Dress. 4 As. 6 Certainly.



Rorate Coeli desuper!
Heavens distil your balmy showers,
For now is risen the bright daystar
From the Rose Mary, flower of flowers;
The clear sun, whom no cloud devours,
Surmounting Phoebus in the east,
Is comen of his heavenly towers;
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Archangels, angels, dominations,
Thrones, potentates, and martyrs seir,l
And all the heavenly operations,
Star, planet, firmament, and sphere,
Fire, earth, air, and water clear,
To Him give loving, most and least,
That come is in so meek maneir;
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Sinners be glad, and penance do,
And thank your Maker heartily,
For He, that ye might not come to,
To you is comen full humbly,
Your souls with His blood to buy,

' Many.

And loose you of the fiend's arrest,
And only of His own mercy;
Pro nobis Puer natus est.

Celestial fowles in the air,
Sing with your notes upon hight,
In firthes and forests fair.
Be mirthful now, at all your might,
For passed is your dully night;
Aurora has the clouds perced,
The sun is risen with gladsome light,
Et nobis Puer natus est.

Now spring up flowres from the root,
Revert you upward naturally,
In honour of the blessed fruit
That rose up from the Rose Mary;
Lay out your leaves lustily,
From dead take life now, at the least,
In worship of that Prince worthy,
Qui nobis Puer natus est.

Sing heaven imperial, most of height,
Regions of air make harmony;
All fish in floud, and fowl of flight,
Be mirthful and make melody;
All Gloria in Excelsis cry,
Heaven, earth, sea, man, bird, and beast,
He that is crowned above the sky.
Pro nobis Puer natus est.
W. Dunbar.

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my
heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was
A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air
Who scorched with exceeding heat such floods of
tears did shed,
As though His floods should quench his flames
with what His tears were fed;

Alas, quoth He, but newly born in fiery heats of fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my
fire but I.
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wound-
ing thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes
shame and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's
defiled souls;
For which, as now on fire I am, to work them to
their good,
So will I melt into a bath, to wash them in my
With this He vanished out of sight, and swiftly
shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was
Christmas day.
Robert Southwell.


Behold a silly tender Babe,
In freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies
Alas! a piteous sight.

The inns are full, no man will yield
This little Pilgrim bed;
But forced He is with silly beasts
In crib to shroud His head.

Despise Him not for lying there,
First what He is inquire;
An orient pearl is often found
In depth of dirty mire.

Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,
Nor beast that by Him feed;
Weigh not His mother's poor attire,
Nor Joseph's simple weed.

This stable is a prince's court,
This crib His chair of state;
The beasts are parcel of His pomp,
The wooden dish His plate.

The persons in that poor attire
His royal liveries wear;
The Prince Himself is come from heaven,
This pomp is prized there.

With joy approach, 0 Christian wight i
Do homage to thy King;
And highly praise this humble pomp
Which He from heaven doth bring.



Come to your heaven, you heavenly quires!
Earth hath the heaven of your desires:
Remove your dwelling to your God,
A stall is now His best abode;
Sith men their homage do deny,
Come, angels, all their faults supply.

His chilling cold doth heat require,
Come, Seraphim, in lieu of fire;
This little ark no cover hath,
Let Cherubs' wings His body swathe;
Come, Raphael, this Babe must eat,
Provide our little Tobie meat.

Let Gabriel be now His groom,
That first took up His earthly room;
Let Michael stand in His defence,
Whom love hath linked to feeble sense;
Let Graces rock when He doth cry,
And Angels sing His lullaby.

The same you saw in heavenly seat,
Is He that now sucks Mary's teat;
Agnize your King a mortal wight,
His borrowed weeds lets2 not your sight;

1 Acknowledge. 2 Hinders.

Come, kiss the manger where He lies;
That is your bliss above the skies.

This little Babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold,
All hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmed wise
The gates of hell He will surprise.

With tears He fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries;
His arrows, looks of weeping eyes;
His martial ensigns, cold and need;
And feeble flesh His warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall,
His crib His trench, hay-stalks His stakes,
Of shepherds He His muster takes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that He hath pight;
Within His crib is surest ward,
This little Babe will be thy guard;
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly Boy.



Let folly praise that fancy loves,
I praise and love that Child,
Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word,
Whose head no deed defiled.

I praise Him most, I love Him best,
All praise and love is His;
While Him I love, in Him I live,
And cannot live amiss.

Love's sweetest mark, laud's highest theme,
Man's most desired light,
To love Him life, to leave Him death,
To live in Him delight.

He mine by gift, I His by debt,
Thus each to other due,
First friend He was, best friend He is,
All times will try Him true.

Though young, yet wise; though small, yet strong;
Though man, yet God He is;
As wise He knows, as strong He can,
As God He loves to bless.

His knowledge rules, His strength defends,
His love doth cherish all;
His birth our joy, His life our light,
His death our end of thrall.

Alas! He weeps, He sighs, He pants,
Yet doth His angels sing;
Out of His tears, His sighs and throbs,
Doth bud a joyful spring.

Almighty Babe, whose tender arms
Can force all foes to fly,
Correct my faults, protect my life,
Direct me when I die!


Immensity, cloister'd in thy dear womb,
Now leaves his well-beloved imprisonment;
There He hath made Himself to his intent,
Weak enough now into our world to come:
But oh! for thee, for Him, hath th' inn no room?
Yet lay Him in His stall, and from th' orient
Stars and wise men will travel, to prevent
Th' effect of Herod's jealous general doom.
See'st thou, my soul! with thy faith's eye, how He,
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie!
E 33

Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother who partakes thy woe.

John Donne.


Immortal Babe, who this dear day
Didst change Thine heaven for our clay,
And didst with flesh Thy godhead veil,
Eternal Son of God, all hail!

Shine, happy star; ye angels, sing
Glory on high to heaven's King:
Run, shepherds, leave your nightly watch,
See heaven come down to Bethlehem's cratch.

Worship, ye sages of the east,
The King of gods in meanness dressed,
O blessed maid, smile and adore
The God thy womb and arms have bore.

Star, angels, shepherds, and wise sages,
Thou virgin glory of all ages,
Restored frame of heaven and earth,
Joy in your dear Redeemer's birth !
Bishop Hall.



I sing the birth was born to-night,
The Author both of life and light,
The angel so did sound it:
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light and were afraid,
Yet searched, and true they found it.
The Son of God, th' Eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
Was now laid in a manger.
The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no No,
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made flesh indeed,
And took on Him our nature.
What comfort by Him do we win,
Who made Himself the price of sin
To make us heirs of glory!
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A martyr born in our defence:
Can man forget the story?
Ben Jonson.



Fair eastern star, that art ordained to run
Before the sages, to the rising sun,
Here cease thy course, and wonder that the cloud
Of this poor stable can thy Maker shroud:
Ye heavenly bodies glory to be bright,
And are esteemed as ye are rich in light,
But here on earth is taught a different way,
Since under this low roof the Highest lay.
Jerusalem erects her stately towers,
Displays her windows and adorns her bowers;
Yet there thou must not cast a trembling spark,
Let Herod's palace still continue dark;
Each school and synagogue thy force repels,
There Pride enthroned in misty error dwells;
The temple, where the priests maintain their quire,
Shall taste no beam of thy celestial fire,
While this weak cottage all thy splendour takes:
A joyful gate of every chink it makes.
Here shines no golden roof, no ivory stair,
No king exalted in a stately chair,
Girt with attendants, or by heralds styled,
But straw and hay enwrap a speechless Child.
Yet Sabae's lords before this Babe unfold
Their treasures, offering incense, myrrh, and gold.

The crib becomes an altar: therefore dies
No ox nor sheep; for in their fodder lies

The Prince of Peace, who, thankful for His bed,
Destroys those rites in which their blood was shed:
The quintessence of earth he takes, and fees,
And precious gums distilled from weeping trees;
Rich metals and sweet odours now declare
The glorious blessings which His laws prepare,
To clear us from the base and loathsome flood
Of sense, and make us fit for angels' food,
Who lift to God for us the holy smoke
Of fervent prayers with which we Him invoke,
And try our actions in the searching fire,
By which the seraphims our lips inspire:
No muddy dross pure minerals shall infect,
We shall exhale our vapours up direct:
No storm shall cross, nor glittering lights deface
Perpetual sighs which seek a happy place.

Sir John Beaumont.


1 \

a I ~




Run, shepherds, run, where Bethlehem blest
We bring the best of news; be not dismayed;
A Saviour there is born more old than years,
Amidst heaven's rolling height this earth who
In a poor cottage inned, a virgin maid
A weakling did Him bear, Who all upbears;
There is He poorly swaddled, in manger laid,
To whom too narrow swaddlings are our spheres:
Run, shepherds, run, and solemnise His birth.
This is that night-no, day, grown great with
In which the power of Satan broken is:
In heaven be glory, peace unto the earth !
Thus singing, through the air the angels swam,
And cope of stars re-echoed the same.

William Drummond
of Hawthornden.



0 than the fairest day, thrice fairer night I
Night to blest days in which a sun doth rise,
Of which that golden eye which clears the skies
Is but a sparkling ray, a shadow-light!
And blessed ye, in silly pastor's sight,
Mild creatures, in whose warm crib now lies
That heaven-sent Youngling, holy-maid-born
Midst, end, beginning of our prophecies!
Blest cottage that hath flowers in winter spread,
Though withered -blessed grass that hath the
To deck and be a carpet to that place!
Thus sang, unto the sounds of oaten reed,
Before the Babe, the shepherds bowed on knees,
And springs ran nectar, honey dropped from trees.

Sweet baby, sleep! What ails my dear?
What ails my darling thus to cry?
Be still, my child, and lend thine ear
To hear me sing thy lullaby.
My pretty lamb, forbear to weep;
Be still, my dear; sweet baby, sleep!
Thou blessed soul, what canst thou fear?
What thing to thee can mischief do ?
Thy God is now Thy Father dear;
His holy spouse thy mother too.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep!
F 41

Whilst thus thy lullaby I sing,
For thee great blessings ripening be;
Thine Eldest Brother is a King,
And hath a kingdom bought for thee.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.

Sweet baby, sleep, and nothing fear;
For whosoever thee offends
By thy protector threatened are,
And God and angels are thy friends,
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.

When God with us was dwelling here,
In little babes He took delight:
Such innocents as thou, my dear,
Are ever precious in His sight.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.

A little Infant once was He,
And strength in weakness then was laid
Upon His virgin-mother's knee,
That power to thee might be conveyed.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.

In this thy frailty and thy need
He friends and helpers doth prepare,

Which thee shall cherish, clothe, and feed,
For of thy weal they tender are.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.
The King of kings, when He was born,
Had not so much for outward ease;
By Him such dressings were not worn,
Nor such like swaddling-clothes as these.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.
Within a manger lodged thy Lord,
Where oxen lay and asses fed;
Warm rooms we do to thee afford,
An easy cradle or a bed.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.
The wants that He did then sustain
Have purchased wealth, my babe, for thee;
And by His torments and His pain
Thy rest and ease secured be.
My baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.
Thou hast, yet more, to perfect this,
A promise and an earnest got
Of gaining everlasting bliss,
Though thou, my babe, perceiv'st it not.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep.
George Wither.



As on the night before this happy morn,
A blessed angel unto shepherds told
Where (in a stable) He was poorly born,
Whom nor the earth nor heaven of heavens can hold:
Thro' Bethlehem rung
This news at their return;
Yea, angels sung
That God with us was born;
And they made mirth because we should not mourn.
Their angel carol sing we, then,
To God on high all glory be,
For peace on earth bestoweth He,
And sheweth favour unto men.

This favour Christ vouchsafed for our sake;
To buy us thrones, He in a manger lay;
Our weakness took, that we His strength might
And was disrobed that He might us array;
Our flesh He wore,
Our sin to wear away;
Our curse He bore,
That we escape it may:
And wept for us, that we might sing for aye.
With angels therefore, sing again,
To God on high all glory be,
For peace on earth bestoweth He,
And sheweth favour unto men.


Who can forget-never to be forgot-
The time, that all the world in slumber lies,
When, like the stars, the singing angels shot
To earth, and heaven awaked all his eyes
To see another sun at midnight rise
On earth ? Was never sight of pareil fame,
For God before man like Himself did frame,
But God Himself now like a mortal man became.
A Child He was, and had not learnt to speak,
That with His word the world before did make;
His mother's arms Him bore, He was so weak,
That with one hand the vaults of heaven could
See how small room my infant Lord doth take,
Whom all the world is not enough to hold !
Who of His years, or of His age hath told ?
Never such age so young, never a child so old.
And yet but newly He was infanted,
And yet already He was sought to die;
Yet scarcely born, already banished;
Not able yet to go, and forced to fly:
But scarcely fled away, when by and by
The tyrant's sword with blood is all defiled,
And Rachel, for her sons, with fury wild,
Cries, '0 thou cruel king, and 0 my sweetest child !'

Egypt His nurse became, where Nilus springs,
Who, straight to entertain the rising sun,

The hasty harvest in his bosom brings;
But now for drought the fields were all undone,
And now with waters all is overrun:
So fast the Cynthian mountains pour'd their snow,
When once they felt the sun so near them glow,
That Nilus Egypt lost, and to a sea did grow.
The angels carolled loud their song of peace;
The cursed oracles were strucken dumb;
To see their Shepherd the poor shepherds press;
To see their King the kingly sophies come;
And them to guide unto his Master's home,
A star comes dancing up the orient,
That springs for joy over the strawy tent,
Where gold, to make their Prince a crown, they all
Giles Fletcher.

[Sung to the King in the Presence at Whitehall.]
Chor.-What sweeter music can we bring
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King ?
Awake the voice! awake the string!
Heart, ear, and eye, and every thing
Awake! the while the active finger
Runu divisions with the singer.
[From the flourish they come to the song.]
Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honour to this day,
That sees December turn'd to May.

If we may ask the reason, say
The why and wherefore all things here
Seem like the spring-time of the year?
Why does the chilling winter's morn
Smile like a field beset with corn ?
Or smell like to a mead new shorn,
Thus on a sudden? Come and see
The cause why things thus fragrant be:
'Tis He is born whose quickening birth
Gives life and lustre public mirth,
To heaven and the under-earth.
Chor.-We see Him come, and know Him ours,
Who with His sunshine and His showers
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
The Darling of the world is come,
And fit it is we find a room
To welcome Him. The nobler part
Of all the house here is the heart.
Chor.-Which we will give Him; and bequeath
This holly and this ivy wreath,
To do him honour; who's our King,
And Lord of all this revelling.
Robert Herrick.

In numbers, and but these few,
I sing Thy birth, 0 Jesu
Thou pretty Baby, born here
With sup'rabundant scorn here:

Who for Thy princely port here,
Hadst for Thy place
Of birth, a base
Out-stable for Thy court here.

Instead of neat enclosures
Of interwoven osiers,
Instead of fragrant posies
Of daffodils and roses,
Thy cradle, kingly Stranger,
As gospel tells,
Was nothing else
But here a homely manger.

But we with silks not crewels,
With sundry precious jewels,
And lily work will dress Thee;
And, as we dispossess Thee
Of clouts, we '11 make a chamber,
Sweet Babe, for Thee,
Of ivory,
And plaster'd round with amber.

The Jews they did disdain Thee,
But we will entertain Thee,
With glories to await here
Upon Thy princely state here,
And, more for love than pity,
From year to year
We 'll make Thee here
A free-born of our city.



All after pleasures as I rid one day,
My horse and I both tired, body and mind,
With full cry of affections quite astray,
I took up in the next inn I could find.

There, when I came, whom found I but my dear-
My dearest Lord; expecting till the grief
Of pleasures brought me to Him; ready there
To be all passengers' most sweet relief?

O Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted, light,
Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger;
Since my dark soul and brutish is Thy right,
To man, of all beasts, be not Thou a stranger.

Furnish and deck my soul, that Thou may'st have
A better lodging than a rack or grave.

The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be ?
My God, no hymn for thee ?
My soul's a shepherd too; a flock it feeds
Of thoughts and words and deeds.
The pasture is Thy word, the streams Thy grace,
Enriching every place.

Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Outsing the daylight hours.

02 uh?

Then we will chide the sun for letting night
Take up his place and right:
We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.

I will go searching till I find a sun
Shall stay till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly
As frost-nipt suns look sadly.
Then we will sing and shine all our own day,
And one another pay.

His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev'n His beams sing and my music shine.
George Herbert.


This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of heaven's eternal King,
Of wedded Maid and Virgin-Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,
That He our deadly forfeit should release,
And with His Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,

Wherewith he wont at heaven's high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and, here with us to be,
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome Him to this His new abode,
Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host kept watch in squadrons
bright ?

See, how from far, upon the eastern road,
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet;
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at His blessed feet;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the angel-quire,
From out His secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.


It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born Child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in awe to Him,
Had doffd her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathise:

It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

Only with speeches fair,
She woos the gentle air
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,
And on her naked shame,
Pollute with sinful blame,
The saintly veil of maiden-white to throw;
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

But He, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-eyed Peace;
She, crown'd with olive green, came softly
Down through the turning sphere,
His ready harbinger,
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing;
And waving wide her myrtle wand,
She strikes an universal peace through sea and

No war, or battle's sound,
Was heard the world around:
The idle spear and shield were high up-hung,
The hooked chariot stood
Unstain'd with hostile blood;
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng,
And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.

But peaceful was the night
Wherein the Prince of Light
His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds with wonder whist
Smoothly the waters kist,
Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed

The stars with deep amaze
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,
Bending one way their precious influence,
And will not take their flight
For all the morning light,
Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord Himself bespake, and bid them go.

And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,
The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame
The new enlighten'd world no more should
He saw a greater Sun appear
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree could

The shepherds on the lawn
Or ere the point of dawn
Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they then
That the mighty Pan
Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook;
Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,
As all their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly

Nature that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round
Of Cynthia's seat, the airy region thrilling,
Now was almost won
To think her part was done,
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling;
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all heaven and earth in happier union.

At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,
That with long beams the shamefaced night

The helmed Cherubim,
The sworded Seraphim,
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings dis-
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With unexpressive notes to Heaven's new-born

Such music as ('tis said)
Before was never made,
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great
His constellations set,
And the well-balanced world on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel

Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears,
(If ye have power to touch our senses so;)
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,
And let the base of heaven's deep organ blow;
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.

For if such holy song
Enwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold;
And speckled Vanity

Will sicken soon and die,
And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould;
And Hell itself will pass away,
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.

Yea, Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men.
Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between,
Throned in celestial sheen,
With radiant feet the issued clouds down
And heaven, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace-hall.

But wisest Fate says no,
This must not yet be so,
The Babe yet lies in smiling infancy,
That on the bitter cross
Must redeem our loss;
So both Himself and us to glorify:
Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep,
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through
the deep.

With such a horrid clang
As on Mount Sinai rang,
While the red fire and smouldering clouds out-
The aged earth aghast
With terror of that blast,
Shall from the surface to the centre shake;
H 57

When at the world's last session,
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his

And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,
But now begins; for from this happy day
The old dragon under ground
In straiter limits bound,
Not half so far casts his usurped sway,
And wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.

The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiv-
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathed spell,
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic

The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,
A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
From haunted spring and dale,
Edged with poplar pale,
The parting Genius is with sighing sent;

With flower-inwoven tresses torn,
The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets

In consecrated earth
And on the holy hearth
The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight
In urns and altars round,
A drear and dying sound
Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;
And the chill marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiarpower foregoes his wonted seat.

Peor and Baalim
Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine;
And mooned Ashtaroth,
Heaven's queen and mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;
The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn,
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz

And sullen Moloch, fled,
Hath left in shadows dread
His burning idol all of blackest hue;
In vain with cymbals' ring
They call the grisly king,
In dismal dance about the furnace blue;

The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.

Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove or green,
Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest,
Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud;
In vain with timbrell'd anthems dark
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worship ark.

He feels from Judah's land
The dreaded Infant's hand;
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside
Longer dare abide,
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:
Our Babe, to show His Godhead true,
Can in His swaddling bands control the damned

So when the sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to th' infernal jail;
Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave,
And the yellow-skirted Fays
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-
loved maze.

But see the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest;
Time is our tedious song should here have
Heaven's youngest-teemed star
Hath fix'd her polish'd car,
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.
John Milton.


Chorus.-Come we shepherds whose blest sight
Hath met Love's noon in Nature's night,
Come, lift we up our loftier song,
And wake the sun that lies too long.
To all our world of well-stol'n joy,
He slept and dreamt of no such thing,
While we found out heaven's fairer eye
And kist the cradle of our King;
Tell him he rises now too late,
To show us ought worth looking at.
Tell him we now can show him more
Than e'er he showed to mortal sight,
Than he himself e'er saw before,
Which to be seen needs not his light.
Tell him, Thyrsis, where th' hast been,
Tell him, Thyrsis, what th' hast seen.

TIT. Gloomy night embraced the place
Where the noble Infant lay,
The Babe looked up and showed His face;
In spite of darkness it was day.
It was Thy day, Sweet, and did rise
Not from the East but from Thine eyes.
Chorus.-It was thy day, Sweet, etc.

THYRS. Winter chid aloud and sent
The angry North to wage his wars,.
The North forgot his fierce intent,
And left perfumes instead of scars;
By those sweet eyes' persuasive powers,
Where he meant frost he scattered flowers.
Chorus.-By those sweet eyes, etc.

BOTH. We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
Bright dawn of our eternal day!
We saw Thine eyes break from their East
And chase the trembling shades away:
We saw Thee and we blest the sight,
We saw thee by thine own sweet light.

TIT. Poor world (said I), what wilt thou do
To entertain this starry Stranger?
Is this the best thou canst bestow,
A cold and not too cleanly manger?
Contend, ye powers of heaven and earth,
To fit a bed for this huge birth.
Chorus.-Contend, ye powers, etc.

THYRS. Proud world (said I), cease your contest,
And let the mighty Babe alone,
The Phoenix builds the Phoenix' nest,
Love's architecture is all one.
The Babe whose birth embraves this morn,
Made His own bed ere He was born.
Chorus.-The Babe whose birth, etc.

TIT. I saw the curl'd drops, soft and slow,
Come hovering o'er the place's head,
Offering their whitest sheets of snow
To furnish the fair Infant's bed:
Forbear (said I), be not too bold;
Your fleece is white, but 'tis too cold.
Chorus.-Forbear (said I), etc.

THYRS. I saw the obsequious seraphins
Their rosy fleece of fire bestow;
For well they now can spare their wings,
Since heaven itself lies here below:
Well done (said I), but are you sure,
Your down so warm will pass for pure?
Chorus.-Well done (said I), etc.

TIT. No, no, your King's not yet to seek
Where to repose His royal head.
See, see, how soon, His new-bloom'd cheek,
Twixt's mother's breasts is gone to bed:
Sweet choice (said I), no way but so,
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow.
Chorus.-Sweet choice (said I), etc.

BOTH. We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
Bright dawn of our eternal day!
We saw Thine eyes break from Their East
And chase the trembling shades away;
We saw Thee and we blest the sight,
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.
Chorus.-We saw thee, etc.

Full Chorus.-Welcome all wonder in one sight,
Eternity shut in a span,
Summer in winter, day in night,
Heaven in earth and God in man!
Great little One! whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth.

Welcome, though not to gold nor silk,
To more than Casar's birthright is,
Two sister seas of virgin milk,
With many a rarely-tempered kiss,
That breathes at once both maid and mother,
Warms in the one and cools in the other.

She sings thy tears asleep, and dips
Her kisses in thy weeping eye;
She spreads the red leaves of thy lips
That in their buds yet blushing lie:
She againstt those mother-diamonds tries
The points of her young eagle's eyes.

Welcome, though not to those gay flies
Gilded i' the beams of earthly kings,

Slippery souls in smiling eyes,
But to poor shepherds' home-spun things;
Whose wealth's their flock, whose wit to be
Well read in their simplicity.

Yet when young April's husband-showers
Shall bless the fruitful Maia's bed,
We'll bring the first-born of her flowers
To kiss Thy feet and crown Thy head:
To Thee, drea4 Lamb, whose love must keep
The shepherds ihore than they their sheep.

To Thee, meek Majesty soft King
Of simple graces and sweet loves,
Each of us his lamb will bring,
Each his pair of silver doves,
Till burnt at last in fire of Thy fair eyes,
Ourselves become our own best sacrifice.
Richard Crashaw.


Heaven's golden-winged herald late he saw
To a poor Galilean virgin sent:
How low the bright youth bowed, and with what
Immortal flowers to her fair hand present.

He saw th' old Hebrew's womb neglect the law
Of age and barrenness, and her babe prevent
His birth by his devotion, who began
Betimes to be a saint, before a man.

He saw rich nectar thaws release the rigour
Of th' icy north, from frost-bound Atlas' hands
His adamantine fetters fall; green vigour
Gladding the Scythian rocks, and Libyan sands.
He saw a vernal smile sweetly disfigure
Winter's sad face, and through the flowery lands
Of fair Engaddi's honey-sweating fountains
With manna, milk, and balm new broach the

He saw how in that blest day-bearing night
The heaven-rebuked shades made haste away;
How bright a dawn of angels with new light
Amazed the midnight world, and made a day
Of which the morning knew not; mad with spight
He mark'd how the poor shepherds ran to pay
Their simple tribute to the Babe, whose birth
Was the great business both of heaven and

He saw a threefold sun with rich increase
Make proud the ruby portals of the East,
He saw the temple sacred to sweet peace
Adore her Prince's birth flat on her breast.

He saw the falling idols all confess
A coming Deity. He saw the nest
Of poisonous and unnatural loves, earth-nurst,
Touch'd with the world's true antidote, to

He saw heaven blossom with a new-born light,
On which, as on a glorious stranger, gazed
The golden eyes of night, whose beam made bright
The way to Bethlem; and as boldly blazed
(Nor ask'd leave of the sun) by day as night.
By whom (as heaven's illustrious handmaid) raised
Three kings or, what is more, three wise men went
Westward to find the world's true orient.

That the great angel-blinding light should shrink
His blaze to shine in a poor shepherd's eye,
That the unmeasured God so low should sink
As Pris'ner in a few poor rags to lie,
That from His mother's breast He milk should drink
Who feeds with nectar heaven's fair family,
That a vile manger His low bed should prove
Who in a throne of stars thunders above:

That He, whom the sun serves, should faintly peep
Through clouds of infant flesh; that He the old
Eternal Word should be a Child and weep,
That He who made the fire should fear the cold:

That heaven's high majesty His court should keep
In a clay cottage, by each blast controlled:
That glory's self should serve our griefs and
And free Eternity submit to years;

And further, that the law's eternal Giver
Should bleed in His own law's obedience;
And to the circumcising knife deliver
Himself, the forfeit of His slave's offence;
That the unblemish'd Lamb, blessed for ever,
Should take the mark of sin, and pain of sense:-
These are the knotty riddles, whose dark doubt
Entangle his lost thoughts past getting out.


[Sung as by the three kings.]
Ist KING. Bright Babe! whose awful beauties
The morn incur a sweet mistake;
2nd KING. For whom the officious heavens devise
To disinherit the sun's rise ;
3rd KING. Delicately to displace
The day, and plant it fairer in thy face;
Ist KING. O Thou born King of loves!
2nd KING. Of lights!
3rd KING. Of joys!

Chorus.-Look up, sweet Babe, look up and see !
For love of Thee,
Thus far from home,
The East is come
To seek herself in Thy sweet eyes.

Ist KING. We who strangely went astray,
Lost in a bright
Meridian night;
2nd KING. A darkness made of too much day;
3rd KING. Beckoned from far,
By thy fair star,
Lo, at last have found our way.
Chorus.-To thee, thou Day of Night; thou East
of West!
Lo, we at last have found the way
To thee, the world's great universal East,
The general and indifferent day.

Ist KING. All-circling point! all-centring sphere!
The world's one, round, eternal year:
2nd KING. Whose full and all-unwrinkled face,
Nor sinks nor swells, with time or place;
3rd KING. But everywhere and every while
Is one consistent solid smile.
Ist KING. Not vexed and tost,
2nd KING. 'Twixt spring and frost;
3rd KING. Nor by alternate shreds of light,
Sordidly shifting hands with shades and night.
Chorus.-O little All, in Thy embrace,
The world lies warm and likes his place;

Nor does his full globe fail to be
Kissed on both his cheeks by Thee;
Time is too narrow for Thy year,
Nor makes the whole world Thy half-sphere.

Therefore, to Thee, and Thine auspicious ray,
(Dread sweet !), lo thus,
At least by us,
The delegated eye of day,
Does first his sceptre, then himself, in solemn
tribute pay:
Thus he undresses
His sacred unshorn tresses;
At thy adored feet thus he lays down,
Ist KING. His glorious tire
Of flame and fire,
2nd KING. His glittering robe,
3rd KING. His sparkling crown,
Ist KING. His gold,
2nd KING. His myrrh,
3rd KING. His frankincense.
Chorus.-To which he now has no pretence;
For being show'd by this day's light, how far
He is from sun, enough to make thy star,
His best ambition now is but to be
Something a brighter shadow, sweet of thee.
Or on heaven's azure forehead high to stand,
Thy golden index; with a duteous hand
Pointing us home to our own Sun,
The world's and his Hyperion.



[Being a dialogue between three shepherds]
Ist. Where is this blessed Babe
That hath made
All the world so full of joy
And expectation;
That glorious Boy
That crowns each nation
With a triumphant wreath of blessedness ?

2nd. Where should He be but in the throng,
And among
His angel ministers, that sing
And take wing
Just as may echo to His voice,
And rejoice,
When wing and tongue and all
May so procure their happiness ?

3rd. But he hath other waiters now:
A poor cow,
An ox and mule, stand and behold,
And wonder
That a stable should enfold
Him that can thunder.
Chorus.-O what a gracious God have we,
How good! how great! even as our misery.
Jeremy Taylor.


Awake, my soul, and come away:
Put on thy best array;
Lest if thou longer stay
Thou lose some minutes of so blest a day.
Go run,
And bid good-morrow to the sun;
Welcome his safe return
To Capricorn,
And that great morn
Wherein a God was born,
Whose story none can tell
But He whose every word's a miracle.

To-day Almightiness grew weak;
The Word itself was mute and could not speak.

That Jacob's star which made the sun
To dazzle if he durst look on,
Now mantled o'er in Bethlehem's night,
Borrowed a-star to show him light.
He that begirt each zone,
To whom both poles are one,
Who grasped the zodiac in his hand
And made it move or stand,
Is now by nature man,
By stature but a span;
Eternity is now grown short;
A King is born without a court;

The water thirsts, the fountain's dry;
And life, being born, made apt to die.

Chorus.-Then let our praises emulate and vie
With His humility!
Since He's exiled from skies
That we might rise,-
From low estate of men
Let's sing Him up again!
Each man wind up his heart
To bear a part
In that angelic choir and show
His glory high as He was low.
Let's sing towards men good-will and charity,
Peace upon earth, glory to God on high!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!


Sweet, harmless live[r]s! on whose holy leisure,
Waits innocence and pleasure;
Whose leaders to those pastures and clear springs
Were patriarchs, saints, and kings;
How happened it that in the dead of night
You only saw true light,
While Palestine was fast asleep, and lay
Without one thought of day ?
K 73

Was it because those first and blessed swains
Were pilgrims on those plains
When they received the promise, for which now
'Twas there first shown to you?
'Tis true he loves that dust whereon they go
That serve him here below,
And therefore might for memory of those
His love there first disclose;
But wretched Salem, once his love, must now
No voice nor vision know;
Her stately piles with all their height and pride
Now languished and died,
And Bethlem's humble cots above them stept
While all her seers slept;
Her cedar, fir, hewed stones, and gold were all
Polluted through their fall;
And those once sacred mansions were now
Mere emptiness and show.
This made the angel call at reeds and thatch,
Yet where the shepherds watch,
And God's own lodging, though he could not lack,
To be a common rack.
No costly pride, no soft-clothed luxury
In those thin cells could lie;
Each stirring wind and storm blew through their
Which never harboured plots;
Only content and love and humble joys
Lived there without all noise;
Perhaps some harmless cares for the next day
Did in their bosoms play,

As where to lead their sheep, what silent nook,
What springs or shades to look;
But that was all; and now with gladsome care
They for the town prepare;
They leave their flock, and in a busy talk
All towards Bethlem walk,
To seek their soul's great Shepherd, who was come
To bring all stragglers home;
Where now they find Him out, and, taught before,
That Lamb of God adore,
That Lamb, whose days great kings and prophets
And longed to see, but missed.
The first light they beheld was bright and gay,
And turned their night to day;
But to this later light they saw in Him
Their day was dark and dim.
Henry Vaughan.


Awake, glad heart! get up and sing!
It is the Birthday of thy King.
Awake! awake!
The sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and, all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

Awake! awake! hark how th' wood rings,
Winds whisper, and the busy springs

A concert make!
Awake! awake!
Man is their high-priest, and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.

I would I were a bird or star,
Fluttering in woods, or lifted far
Above this inn,
And road of sin!
Then either star or bird should be
Shining or singing still to Thee.

I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for Thee! or that my heart
Were so clean as
Thy manger was!
But I am all filth, and obscene:
Yet, if thou wilt, Thou canst make clean.

Sweet Jesu! will then. Let no more
This leper haunt and soil thy door!
Cure him, ease him,
0 release him!
And let once more, by mystic birth,
The Lord of life be born in earth.



Sweet music, sweeter far
Than any song is sweet:
Sweet music, heavenly rare,
Mine ears, O peers, doth greet.
You gentle flocks, whose fleeces pearled with dew,
Resemble heaven, whom golden drops make
Listen, O listen, now, O not to you
Our pipes make sport to shorten weary night:
But voices most divine
Make blissful harmony:
Voices that seem to shine,
For what else clears the sky?
Tunes can we hear, but not the singers see,
The tunes divine, and so the singers be.

Lo, how the firmament
Within an azure fold
The flock of stars hath pent,
That we might them behold,
Yet from their beams proceedeth not this light,
Nor can their crystals such reflection give.
What then doth make the element so bright?
The heavens are come down upon earth to live.

But hearken to the song,
Glory to glory's King,
And peace all men among,
These quiristers do sing.
Angels they are, as also (shepherds) He
Whom in our fear we do admire to see.
Let not amazement blind
Your souls, said he, annoy:
To you and all mankind
My message bringeth joy.
For lo! the world's great Shepherd now is born,
A blessed Babe, an Infant full of power:
After long night uprisen is the morn,
Renowning Bethlem in the Saviour.
Sprung is the perfect day,
By prophets seen afar:
Sprung is the mirthful May,
Which winter cannot mar.
In David's city doth this Sun appear
Clouded in flesh, yet, shepherds, sit we here?
Edmund Bolton.


Happy crib, that wert alone
To my God, bed, cradle, throne!
Whilst thy glorious vileness I
View with divine fancy's eye,
Sordid filth seems all the cost,
State, and splendour, crowns do boast.

See heaven's sacred majesty
Humbled beneath poverty;
Swaddled up in homely rags,
On a bed of straw and flags !
He whose hands the heavens displayed,
And the world's foundations laid,
From the world almost exiled,
Of all ornaments despoil'd.
Perfumes bathe him not, new-born,
Persian mantles not adorn;
Nor do the rich roofs look bright,
With the jasper's orient light.
Where, 0 royal Infant, be
Th' ensigns of Thy majesty;
Thy Sire's equalising state;
And Thy sceptre that rules fate ?
Where's Thy angel-guarded throne,
Whence Thy laws Thou didst make known-
Laws which heaven, earth, hell obey'd ?
These, ah! these aside he laid;
Would the emblem be-of pride
By humility outvied ?
Sir Edward Sherburne.


But art Thou come, dear Saviour? hath Thy love
Thus made Thee stoop, and leave Thy throne above
Thy lofty heavens, and thus thyself to dress
In dust to visit mortals? Could no less

A condescension serve? and after all
The mean reception of a cratch and stall ?
Dear Lord, I'11 fetch Thee thence! I have a room
('Tis poor, but 'tis my best) if Thou wilt come
Within so small a cell, where I would fain
Mine and the world's Redeemer entertain,
I mean, my Heart: 'tis sluttish, I confess,
And will not mend Thy lodging, Lord, unless
Thou send before Thy harbinger, I mean
Thy pure and purging Grace, to make it clean
And sweep its nasty corners; then I'11 try
To wash it also with a weeping eye.
And when 'tis swept and wash'd, I then will go
And, with Thy leave, I'11 fetch some flowers that
In Thine own garden, Faith and Love, to Thee;
With these I'11 dress it up, and these shall be
My rosemary and bays. Yet when my best
Is done, the room's not fit for such a Guest.
But here's the cure; Thy presence, Lord, alone
Will make a stall a Court, a cratch a Throne.
LODGED in an inn
What Guest divine
There meekly lay,
The God of night and day!
In tax-time to pay sums
He comes,

Ev'n man's price full:
From Satan's rule
He will set free
Our poor humanity.

To us betake
Blest God! and make
Within our breast
Thy lodging-place and rest;
Thou Temples seek'st, not Inns:
Let sins
No more intrude
On th' Inmate God,
Nor e'er deface
The ornaments of grace.

YET if his majesty our sovereign Lord
Should of his own accord
Friendly himself invite,
And say, 'I'11 be your guest to-morrow night,'
How should we stir ourselves, call and command
All hands to work i 'Let no man idle stand.
Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall,
See they be fitted all;
Let there be room to eat,
And order taken that there want no meat.
See every sconce and candlestick made bright,
That without tapers they may give a light.
Look to the presence: are the carpets spread,
The dais o'er the head,

The cushions in the chairs,
And all the candles lighted on the stairs ?
Perfume the chambers, and in any case
Let each man give attendance in his place.'
Thus if the king were coming would we do,
And 'twere good reason too;
For 'tis a duteous thing
To show all honour to an earthly king,
And after all our travail and our cost,
So he be pleased, to think no labour lost.
But at the coming of the King of heaven,
All's set at six and seven.
We wallow in our sin,
Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn,
We entertain Him always like a stranger,
And as at first still lodge Him in the manger.

AND art Thou come, blest Babe, and come to me ?
Come down to teach me how to come to Thee ?
Welcome, thrice welcome to my panting soul,
Which, as it loves, doth grieve that 'tis so foul.
The less 'tis fit for Thee come from above,
The more it needs Thee, and the more I love.


While shepherds watch'd their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The Angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

'Fear not,' said he (for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind);
'Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.

'To you in David's town this day
Is born of David's line
The Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the sign:-

'The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapt in swathing-bands,
And in a manger laid.'

Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith
Appear'd a shining throng
Of angels praising God, and thus
Address'd their joyful song:-

'All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace;
Good-will henceforth from heaven to men
Begin, and never cease!'
Nahum Tate.

'SHEPHERDS, rejoice, lift up your eyes,
And send your fears away;
News from the region of the skies!
Salvation's born to-day.

'Jesus, the God whom angels fear,
Comes down to dwell with you;
To-day He makes His entrance here,
But not as monarchs do.

'No gold, nor purple swaddling-bands,
Nor royal shining things;
A manger for His cradle stands
And holds the King of kings.

'Go, shepherds, where the Infant lies,
And see His humble throne:-
With tears of joy in all your eyes
Go, shepherds, kiss the Son.'

Thus Gabriel sang: and straight around
The heavenly armies throng;
They tune their harps to lofty sound,
And thus conclude the song:

'Glory to God that reigns above,
Let peace surround the earth;
Mortals shall know their Maker's love,
At their Redeemer's birth.'

Lord! and shall angels have their songs,
And men no tunes to raise?
O may we lose these useless tongues
When they forget to praise !

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