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Title: A Book of Christmas Verse
Author: - To be updated
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Book of Christmas Verse" ***

Transcriber’s Notes:

  Underscores “_” before and after a word or phrase indicate _italics_
    in the original text.
  Small capitals have been converted to SOLID capitals.
  Old or antiquated spellings have been preserved.
  Typographical and punctuation errors have been silently corrected.

                                   A BOOK OF
                                CHRISTMAS VERSE

                                  SELECTED BY
                                H. C. BEECHING

                                SECOND EDITION

                           LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD
                            OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

                            Oxford University Press

             _London_      _Edinburgh_    _Glasgow_     _Copenhagen_
             _New York_    _Toronto_      _Melbourne_   _Cape Town_
             _Bombay_      _Calcutta_     _Madras_      _Shanghai_

                 Humphrey Milford Publisher to the UNIVERSITY

                             _Printed in England_
                       _At the_ OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
                               _By John Johnson_
                          _Printer to the University_


    The original edition of _A Book of Christmas Verse_ was issued
    in 1895. At his death in 1919 Dean Beeching left a copy of the book
    marked with deletions and corrections, and an amount of new matter for
    insertion. This revision has been carried out, and both deletions and
    additions have been a little increased. But substantially the book
    remains the same; its editor’s divisions have been preserved, and the
    omission of his own preface to the first edition is in accord with his
    markings. A few poems by contemporary writers have been added.

    Dean Beeching’s acknowledgements for permission to use copyright poems
    are here reprinted from his notes:

    For No. 54 to the authorities of Christ Church, Oxford; for No. 71 to
    Messrs. Macmillan; for No. 112 to Mr. Robert Bridges; for No. 113 to
    Messrs. Kegan Paul and Trench; for No. 133 to the Chiswick Press; and
    for No. 114 to Mr. Davidson (with an omission specially sanctioned by
    him). Nos. 78 and 79 (by Gerard Hopkins and Selwyn Image) appeared for
    the first time in this book.

    For poems now appearing for the first time acknowledgements are due as
    follows: for No. 77, by Coventry Patmore, to Messrs. George Bell; for
    No. 81, by R. L. Stevenson, to Messrs. Chatto & Windus; for No. 82,
    by Mrs. Meynell, to Messrs. Burns & Oates; for No. 83 to Mr. Robert
    Bridges; for No. 84., by Mr. Hilaire Belloc, to Messrs. Duckworth;
    for No. 85 (from _The Wild Knight_) to Mr. G. K. Chesterton and
    Messrs. Dent; for Nos. 86 and 87 to the Rev. R. L. Gales; for No. 88,
    by Miss Sayers, to Mr. Basil Blackwell; for No. 89 to Mr. J. D. C.
    Pellow; for No. 90 to Messrs. Macmillan; for No. 91 to Mrs. Chesterton;
    for No. 92 to Mr. Francis Keppel.


        EARLY CAROLS                                               PAGE
           1. Welcome Yule                                            3
           2. I sing of a Maiden                                      4
           3. As Joseph was a-walking                                 4
           4. Now is Christëmas ycome                                 5
           5. This Endris Night                                       8
           6. Lullay, my Liking, my Dear Son                         10
           7. Saint Stephen was a Clerk                              11
           8. The Shepherds’ Offerings                               13
           9. Can I not sing but Hoy!                                15
          10. When Christ was born of Mary free                      18
          11. Be we merry in this Feast                              18
          12. Man, be merry as Bird on Berry                         19
          13. All this Time this Song is best                        20
          14. Mater, ora filium                                      21
          15. Eya, Jesus hodie                                       22
          16. Ave maris stella                                       23
          17. Noël, Noël, Noël, Noël                                 24
          18. Of a Rose, a Lovely Rose                               25

          19. God rest you merry, Gentlemen                          29
          20. Remember, O thou Man                                   31
          21. I saw Three Ships                                      33

          22. Of the Nativity of Christ      _William Dunbar_        37
          23. The Burning Babe               _Robert Southwell_      39
          24. New Prince, New Pomp           _Robert Southwell_      40
          25. New Heaven, New War            _Robert Southwell_      41
          26. A Child my Choice              _Robert Southwell_      43
          27. Nativity                       _John Donne_            44
          28. For Christmas Day              _Joseph Hall_           45
          29. A Hymn on the Nativity of
              my Saviour                     _Ben Jonson_            45
          30. The Shepherds’ Song            _Edmund Bolton_         46
          31. Of the Epiphany                _Sir John Beaumont_     48
          32. The Angels                     _William Drummond_      50
          33. The Shepherds                  _William Drummond_      50
          34. A Rocking Hymn                 _George Wither_         51
          35. Gloria in Excelsis             _Giles Fletcher_        53
          36. Who can forget?                _Giles Fletcher_        54
          37. A Christmas Carol              _Robert Herrick_        56
          38. An Ode on the Birth of our
              Saviour                        _Robert Herrick_        57
          39. Christmas                      _George Herbert_        59
          40. On the Morning of Christ’s
              Nativity                       _John Milton_           60
          41. A Hymn of the Nativity         _Richard Crashaw_       69
          42. Satan’s Sight of the Nativity  _Richard Crashaw_       74
          43. A Hymn for the Epiphany        _Richard Crashaw_       77
          44. Hymn for Christmas Day         _Jeremy Taylor_         80
          45. Hymn for Christmas Day         _Jeremy Taylor_         81
          46. Christmas Day                  _Joseph Beaumont_       82
          47. Sonnet XXV                     _Joseph Beaumont_       85
          48. On the Nativity of our
              Saviour                        _J. M._                 85
          49. The Shepherds                  _Henry Vaughan_         87
          50. Christ’s Nativity              _Henry Vaughan_         89
          51. And they laid Him in a
              Manger                         _Sir Edward Sherburne_  90
          52. At the Sign of the Heart                               91
          53. Lodged in an Inn                                       92
          54. Yet if His Majesty our
              Sovereign Lord                                         93
          55. And art Thou come, Blest Babe?                         94
          56. Song of the Angels at the
              Nativity                       _Nahum Tate_            95
          57. Shepherds, rejoice             _Isaac Watts_           96
          58. A Cradle Song                  _Isaac Watts_           97
          59. A Hymn for Christmas Day       _John Byrom_            98
          60. A Hymn for Christmas Day       _Philip Doddridge_      99
          61. A Hymn for Christmas Day       _Charles Wesley_       100
          62. The Shepherds went their
              hasty Way                   _Samuel Taylor Coleridge_ 101
          63. From Ottfried’s Paraphrase
              of the Gospel               _Samuel Taylor Coleridge_ 103
          64. The Virgin’s Cradle Hymn    _Samuel Taylor Coleridge_ 104
          65. Brightest and best of the
              Sons of the Morning!           _Reginald Heber_       105
          66. They leave the Land of
              Gems and Gold                  _Aubrey de Vere_       106
          67. Christmas and New Year
              Bells                          _Alfred Tennyson_      107
          68. The First Christmas Eve        _Alfred Domett_        109
          69. Christ was born on Christmas
              Day                            _John Mason Neale_     111
          70. A Christmas Carol              _Charles Kingsley_     112
          71. A Christmas Carol              _Christina Rossetti_   113
          72. Masters, in this Hall          _William Morris_       115
          73. Outlanders, whence come ye
              last?                          _William Morris_       117
          74. Sir Galahad, A Christmas
              Mystery                        _William Morris_       119
          75. Aishah Schechinah              _R. S. Hawker_         128
          76. King Arthur’s Waes-hael        _R. S. Hawker_         130
          77. Regina Coeli                   _Coventry Patmore_     131
          78. Mary Mother of Divine
              Grace, compared to the
              Air we breathe                 _Gerard Hopkins_       132
          79. A Meditation for Christmas
              Day                            _Selwyn Image_         136
          80. A Morning Song for Christmas
              Day                            _Herbert P. Horne_     137
          81. Christmas at Sea               _R. L. Stevenson_      139
          82. Unto us a Son is given         _Alice Meynell_        142
          83. Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913      _Robert Bridges_       143
          84. Noël                           _Hilaire Belloc_       145
          85. A Christmas Carol              _G. K. Chesterton_     146
          86. The Creatures’ Nowel           _R. L. Gales_          147
          87. The Heavenly Noel              _R. L. Gales_          148
          88. Carol                          _Dorothy L. Sayers_    150
          89. Christmas Carol                _J. D. C. Pellow_      150
          90. The Oxen                       _Thomas Hardy_         151
          91. How far is it to Bethlehem?    _Frances Chesterton_   152
          92. Epiphany                       _Francis Keppel_       153

          93. Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell                        157
          94. Man, be joyful                                        157
          95. Make we merry                                         158
          96. Holly and Ivy                                         159
          97. Alleluia, Alleluia                                    159
          98. Ivy Chief of Trees it is                              160
          99. Nay, Ivy, nay                                         161
         100. Hey, hey, hey, hey                                    162
         101. Caput apri defero                                     163
         102. Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel                            164
         103. Proface, welcome, welcome                             164
         104. Christmas Merry-making         _George Wither_        165
         105. Ceremonies for Christmas       _Robert Herrick_       169
         106. The Wassail                    _Robert Herrick_       170
         107. Twelfth Night                  _Robert Herrick_       172
         108. To Sir Simond Steward          _Robert Herrick_       173
         109. Song                           _Thomas Campion_       175
         110. Song                                                  176
         111. The Damsel donn’d her
               Kirtle Sheen                  _Sir Walter Scott_     176
         112. Winter was not unkind          _Robert Bridges_       178
         113. Ballade of Christmas Ghosts    _Andrew Lang_          179
         114. Christmas Eve                  _John Davidson_        180
         115. Now have good Day!                                    184

         116. Puer natus in Bethlehem                               189
         117. Heu quid jaces stabulo         _John Mauburn_         190
         118. Adeste fideles                                        191
         119. Corde natus ex Parentis        _Prudentius_           193
         120. Ave Jesu, Deus magne                                  194
         121. Nowell, Nowell, Nowell                                195

       INDEX OF AUTHORS                                             197

       INDEX OF FIRST LINES                                         198



    _Welcome Yule, thou merry man,
    In worship of this holy day._

    Welcome be thou, heaven-king,
    Welcome, born in a morning,
    Welcome, for whom we shall sing
                        _Welcome Yule._

    Welcome be ye, Stephen and John,
    Welcome Innocents, every one;
    Welcome Thomas, martyr one;
                        _Welcome Yule._

    Welcome be ye, good new year,
    Welcome Twelfth day, both in fere;
    Welcome Saintës, lief and dear;
                        _Welcome Yule._

    Welcome be ye, Candlemas,
    Welcome be ye, Queen of bliss,
    Welcome both to more or less,
                        _Welcome Yule._

    Welcome be ye that are here;
    Welcome all and make good cheer;
    Welcome all, another year,
                        _Welcome Yule._


    I sing of a maiden
      That is makeless;[1]
    King of all kingës
      To her son she ches;[2]
    He came also[3] 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
      Goddes mother be.

[1] Matchless.

[2] Chose.

[3] As.


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

    ‘He neither shall be born
      In housen 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.

    ‘He neither shall be christened
      In white wine or red,
    But with fair spring water
      With which we were christened.’


    Now is Christëmas ycome,
    Father and Son together in one,
    Holy Ghost as ye be one
                      In fere,
    God send us a good new year.

    I would you sing and I might
    Of a Child is fair in sight,
    His mother him bare this endris[4] night
                      So still,
    And as it was his will.

    There came three kings fro Galilee
    Into Bethlem, that fair citee,
    To seek him that should ever be
                      By right,
    Lord and king and knight.

    As they came forth with their off’ring,
    They met with Herod, that moody king,
                      This tide,
    And this to them he said,

    ‘Of whence be ye, you kingës three?’
    ‘Of the East, as ye may see,
    To seek him that should ever be
                      By right,
    Lord and king and knight.’

    ‘When you at this child have be
    Come home again by me,
    Tell me the sights that you have see,
                      I pray,
    Go you no nother way.’

    They took their leave both old and ying[5]
    Of Herod, that moody king:
    They went forth with their offering
                      By night,
    By the star that shone so bright,

    Till they came in to the place
    Where Jesu and his mother was;
    Offered they up with great solace
                      In fere,
    Gold and ’cense and myrrh.

    When they had their offering made
    As the Holy Ghost them bade,
    Then were they both merry and glad
                      And light:
    It was a well fair sight.

    Anon as they away went
    The Father of heaven an angel sent
    To these three Kings that made present
                      This tide,
    And thus to them he said,

    ‘My Lord have warned you every one
    By Herod king you go not home:
    For an you do he will you slowe
                      And strow,[6]
    And do you mickle woe.’

    They yeden all another way
    Thorough the might of Goddes lay[7]
    As the angel to them did say
                      Full right:
    It was a well fair sight.

    When they were come to their countree
    Glad and blithe they were all three
    Of the sights that they had see;
                      By dene[8]
    The company was clean.

    Kneel we now here adown;
    Pray we in good devotion
    To the King of great renown
                      For grace
    In heaven to have a place.

[4] Last.

[5] Young.

[6] Lay low.

[7] Law.

[8] Forthwith.


              This endris[9] night
              I saw a sight,
              A star as bright as day;
              And ever among[10]
              A maiden sung
                Lullay, byby, lullay.

    This lovely lady sat and sang, and to her child gan say,
    ‘My son, my brother, my father dear, why liest thou thus in hay?
              My sweetë brid,[11]
              Thus it is betid
                Though thou be King veray;
              But, nevertheless,
              I will not cease
                To sing byby, lullay.’

    The child then spake in his talking; and to his mother said—
    ‘I am beknown for heaven’s 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 sweetë son, since thou art king, why art thou laid in stall?
    Why ne thou ordainèd thy bedding in some great kingës hall?
              Methinketh it right
              That king or knight
                Should lie in good array;
              And then among
              It were no wrong
                To sing byby, lullay.’

    ‘Mary, mother, I am thy child, though I be laid in stall,
    Lords and dukes shall worship me, and so shall kingës all.
              Ye shall well see,
              The kingës three
                Shall come the twelfthë day;
              For this behest
              Give me thy breast,
                And sing byby, lullay.’

    ‘Now tell me, sweet son, I thee pray, thou art me lief and dear,
    How should I keep thee to thy pay,[12] and make thee glad of cheer?
              For all thy will
              I would fulfil,
                Thou weet’st full well in fay.[13]
              And for all this
              I will thee kiss,
                And sing byby, lullay.’

    ‘My dear mother, when time it be, thou take me up aloft,
    And settë me upon thy knee, and handle me full soft.
              And in thy arm
              Thou hile[14] me warm,
                And keepë night and day;
              If I weep
              And may not sleep,
                Thou sing byby, lullay.’

    ‘Now, sweet son, since it is so, that all is at thy will,
    I pray thee grant to me a boon if it be right and skill,[15]
              That child or man
              That will or can
                Be merry upon my day;
              To bliss them bring,
              And I shall sing
                Lullay, byby, lullay.’

[9] Last.

[10] Anon.

[11] Bird.

[12] Content.

[13] Faith.

[14] Cover.

[15] Reasonable.


    Lullay, my liking, my dear son, my sweeting,
    Lullay, my dear heart, my own dear darling.

    I saw a fair maiden sitten and sing.
    She lulled a little child, a sweet lording.
              Lullay, &c.

    That ilke lord is that that made all thing,
    Of all lordës he is lord, of all kingës king.
              Lullay, &c.

    There was mickle melody at that childës birth,
    All that were in heaven’s bliss they made mickle mirth.
              Lullay, &c.

    Angels bright they sung that night and saiden to that child,
    Blessed be thou, and so be she that is both meek and mild.
              Lullay, &c.

    Pray we now to that child, and to his mother dear.
    Grant them his blessing that now maken cheer.
              Lullay, &c.


    Saint Stephen was a clerk
      In King Herodës hall,
    And servèd him of bread and cloth
      As every king befall.

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

    He cast adown the boarës head
      And went into the hall:
    ‘I forsake thee, King Herodës,
      And thy workës all.

    ‘I forsake thee, King Herodës,
      And thy werkës all;
    There is a child in Bethlem born
      Is better than we all.’

    ‘What aileth thee, Stephen?
      What is thee befall?
    Lacketh thee either meat or drink
      In King Herodës hall?’

    ‘Lacketh me neither meat ne drink
      In King Herodës hall;
    There is a child in Bethlem born
      Is better than we all.’

    ‘What aileth thee, Stephen? Art thou wode[16]
      Or thou ginnest to breed?[17]
    Lacketh thee either gold or he
      Or any richë weed?’[18]

    ‘Lacketh me neither gold or fee,
      Ne none richë weed;
    There is a child in Bethlem born
      Shall help us at our need.’

    ‘That is also[19] sooth, Stephen,
      Also sooth, i-wis,[20]
    As this capon crowë shall
      That lieth here in my dish.’

    That word was not so soonë said,
      That word in that hall,
    The capon crew, ‘Christus natus est,’
      Among the lordës all.

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

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

[16] Mad.

[17] Become (mad).

[18] Dress.

[19] As.

[20] Certainly.


            Herdmen hend,[21]
            Dread ye no thing
            Of this star that ye do see;
            For this same morn
            God’s son is born
            In Bethlem of a maiden free.

    _First Shepherd._
       Hail maid, mother, and wife so mild!
         As the angel said, so have we fand.
       I have nothing to present with thy child
         But my pipe; hold, hold, take it in thy hand;
         Wherein much pleasure that I have fand;
       And now, to honour thy glorious birth,
       Thou shalt it have to make thee mirth.

    _Second Shepherd._
       Now, hail be thou, child, and thy dame!
         For in a poor lodging here art thou laid,
       So the angel said and told us thy name;
         Hold, take thou here my hat on thy head!
         And now of one thing thou art well sped,
       For weather thou hast no need to complain,
       For wind, ne sun, hail, snow, and rain.

    _Third Shepherd._
       Hail be thou, Lord over water and lands!
         For thy coming all we may make mirth.
       Have here my mittens to put on thy hands,
         Other Treasure have I none to present thee with.

       Now, herdmen bend,
       For your coming
       To my child shall I pray,
       As he is heaven king
       To grant you his blessing
       And to his bliss that ye may wend
         At your last day.

    _Here the Shepherds sing_:
       As I out rode this enderes[22] night
       Of three jolly shepherds I saw a sight,
       And all about their fold a star shone bright;
         They sang _terli_, _terlow_;
       So merrily the shepherds their pipes can blow.

       Down from heaven, from heaven so high,
       Of angels there came a great company,
       With mirth and joy and great solemnity,
         They sang _terli_, _terlow_;
       So merrily the shepherds their pipes can blow.

[21] Courteous.

[22] Last.


        _Can I not sing but Hoy!_
        _When the jolly shepherd made so much joy!_

    The shepherd upon a hill he sat,
    He had on him his tabard and his hat,
    His tar-box, his pipe, and his flagat.
    His name was called Jolly, Jolly Wat;
        For he was a good herds-boy,
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy.
            _Can I not sing but hoy._

    The shepherd upon a hill was laid,
    His dog to his girdle was tayd,
    He had not slept but a little braid,
    But _gloria in excelsis_ was to him said;
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

    The shepherd on a hill he stood,
    Round about him his sheep they yode,
    He put his hand under his hood,
    He saw a star as red as blood.
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

    Now farewell Mall, and also Will,
    For my love go ye all still,
    Unto I come again you till,
    And ever more Will ring well thy bell.
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

    Now must I go there Christ was born,
    Farewell, I come again to-morn;
    Dog, keep well my sheep fro the corn,
    And warn well Warroke when I blow my horn!
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

    When Wat to Bethlehem come was,
    He sweat, he had gone faster than a pace.
    He found Jesus in a simple place,
    Between an ox and an ass.
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

    The shepherd said anon right:
    ‘I will go see yon ferly[23] sight,
    Where as the angel singeth on-height,
    And the star that shineth so bright!’
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

    ‘Jesus, I offer to thee here my pipe,
    My skirt, my tar-box, and my scrip,
    Home to my fellows now will I skip,
    And also look unto my sheep!’
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

    ‘Now farewell, mine own herds-man Wat!’
    ‘Yea,’fore God, Lady, even so I hat![24]
    Lull well Jesus in thy lap.
    And farewell, Joseph, with thy round cap!’
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

    ‘Now may I well both hop and sing,
    For I have been at Christ’s bearing;
    Home to my fellows now will I fling;
    Christ of heaven to His bliss us bring!
                  Ut hoy!
        For in his pipe he made so much joy!
            _Can I not sing, &c._

[23] Wondrous.

[24] Am called.


    When Christ was born of Mary free
    In Bethlem, in that fair citee,
    Angels sang there with mirth and glee,
                          _In excelsis gloria._

    Herdmen beheld these angels bright,
    To them appearèd with great light,
    And said, ‘God’s son is born this night.’
                          _In excelsis gloria._

    The King is comen to save kind,
    As in scripturës we find,
    Therefore this song have we in mind,
                          _In excelsis gloria._

    Then, Lord, for thy great grace
    Grant us in bliss to see thy face
    When we may sing to thee solace,
                          _In excelsis gloria._


        _Be we merry in this feast,_
        _In quo Salvator natus est._

    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, &c._

    On Christmas night an angel it told
    To the shepherds, keeping their fold,
    That into Bethlehem with beastës wold,[25]
    Salvator mundi natus est.
                _Be we merry, &c._

    The shepherds were compassèd right,
    About them was a full great light;
    ‘Dread ye nought’, said the angel bright,
    ‘Salvator mundi natus est.’
                _Be we merry, &c._

    ‘Behold to you we bring great joy;
    For why[26] Jesus is born this day,
    To us, of Mary, that mild may,[27]
    Salvator mundi natus est.’
                _Be we merry &c._

    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 &c._

[25] Would go.

[26] Because.

[27] Maid.


        _Man, be merry as bird on berry_
        _And all thy care let away._

    This time is born a child full good,
    He that us bought upon the rood;
    He bound the devil that is so wood,
          Till the dreadful doomës-day.

    When the child of mickle might
    Would be born of Mary bright,
    A token he sent to king and knight,
          A star that shone both night and day.

    The star shone as bright as fire,
    Over all the world both far and near,
    In token He was without peer;
          And peerless he shall lasten ay.

    The xii day come kingës three
    Out of the east, with heartë free;
    To worship Him they kneeled on knee
          With gold and myrrh and frankincense.


        _All this time this song is best:_
        _Verbum caro factum est!_

    This night there is a child born
    That sprang out of Jesse’s thorn;
    We must sing and say thereforn
        _Verbum caro factum est!_

    Jesus is the childës name
    And Mary mild is his dame;
    All our sorrow shall turn to game,
        _Verbum caro factum est._

    It fell upon high midnight,
    The stars shone both fair and bright,
    The angels sang with all their might
        _Verbum caro factum est._

    Now kneel we down on our knee,
    And pray we to the Trinity,
    Our help, our succour for to be!
        _Verbum caro factum est._


        _Mater, ora filium_
        _ut post hoc exilium_
        _nobis donet gaudium_
        _beatorum omnium!_

    Fair maiden, who is this bairn
    That thou bearest in thine arm?
    Sir, it is a Kingës Son,
    That in heaven above doth wone.[28]
              _Mater, ora, &c._

    Man to father he hath none,
    But Himself God alone!
    Of a maiden He would be born,
    To save mankind that was forlorn!
              _Mater, ora, &c._

    Three Kingës brought him presents,
    Gold, myrrh, and frankincense,
    To my Son full of might,
    King of Kings and Lord of right!
              _Mater, ora, &c._

    Fair maiden, pray for us
    Unto thy Son, sweet Jesus,
    That He will send us of His grace
    In heaven on high to have a place.
              _Mater, ora, &c._

[28] Dwell.


        _Eya, Jesus hodie_
        _Natus est de virgine._

    Blessed be that maid Mary!
    Born He was of her body;
    Goddes son that sit’th on high,
          _Non ex virili semine._

    In a manger of an ass
    Jesu lay and lulled was,
    Hardë painës for to pass,
          _Pro peccante homine._

    Kingës came from divers land
    With great giftës in their hand,
    In Bethlem the child they fand,
          _Stellae ducti lumine._

    Man and child both old and young
    Now in his blissful coming
    To that child may we sing
          _Gloria tibi, Domine._

    Nowel, nowel in this hall,
    Make merry, I pray you all;
    Unto the child may we call
          _Ullo sine crimine_.


    _Ave maris stella_
      The star on the sea,
    _Dei Mater alma_
      Blessed mot[29] she be,
    _Atque semper virgo_
      Pray thy son for me,
    _Felix caeli porta,_
      That I may come to thee.

    Gabriel that archangel,
      He was messenger;
    So fair he gret our Lady
      With an ’ave’ so clear:
    ‘Hail be thou, Mary,
      Be thou, Mary,
    Full of Goddes grace,
      And Queen of Mercy.’

[29] May.


        _Noël, Noël, Noël, Noël,_
        _This is the salutation of Gabriel!_

    Tidings true there be come new, sent from the Trinity
    By Gabriel to Nazareth, city of Galilee,
    A clean maiden and pure virgin thoro’ her humility
    Conceived the second person in divinity.

    When he first presented was before her fair visage
    In most demure and goodly wise he did to her homage
    And said, ‘Lady, from heaven so high, that lordës heritage
    The which of thee born would be, I am sent on message.’

    ‘Hail, virgin celestial, the meekest that ever was;
    Hail, temple of deity, and mirror of all grace;
    Hail, virgin pure, I thee ensure within full little space
    Thou shalt receive and Him conceive that shall bring great solace.’

    Then again to the angel she answered womanly,
    ‘Whatever my lord command me do, I will obey meekly;
    _Ecce sum humillima ancilla Domini,
    Secundum verbum tuum_, she said, _fiat mihi._’


        _Of a rose, a lovely rose,_
        _Of a rose is all my song._

    Listen, lordings, both eld and ying,
    How this rose began to spring;
    Such a rose to my liking
            In all this world ne know I none.

    The angel came from heaven’s tower
    To greet Mary with great honour,
    And saidë she should bear the flower
            That should break the fiendës bond.

    The flower sprung in high Bethlem,
    That is bothë bright and sheen;
    The rose is Mary, heaven’s queen,
            Out of her bosom the blossom sprung.

    The firstë branch is full of might,
    That sprung on Christëmass night;
    The star shone over Bethlem bright
            That is both broad and long.

    The second branch sprung to hell,
    The fiendës power down to fell;
    Therein might none soulë dwell;
            Blessed be the time the rose sprung.

    The third branch is good and swote,
    It sprang to heaven crop[30] and root,
    Therein to dwell and be our boot,
            Every day it showeth in priestës hand.

    Pray we to her with great honour,
    She that bare the blessed flower,
    She be our help and succoúr,
            And shield us from the fiendës bond.

[30] Tip.



    God rest you merry, gentlemen,
      Let nothing you dismay;
    Remember Christ our Saviour
      Who was born on Christmas Day,
    To save our souls from Satan’s fold
      Which long time had gone astray.
          _And ’tis tidings of comfort and joy._

    From him that is our Father
      The Blessed Angel came,
    And to the watchful shepherds brought
      The tidings of the same;
    That there was born in Bethlehem
      The Son of God by name.
          _And ’tis, &c._

    Fear not, then said God’s Angel,
      Let nothing you affright,
    This day is born a Saviour
      Of a Virgin pure and bright;
    He is able to advance you
      And throw down Satan quite.
          _And ’tis, &c._

    The shepherds at these tidings
      Rejoiced much in mind,
    And left their flocks a-feeding
      In tempest, storm, and wind.
    And straight they went to Bethlehem
      The Son of God to find.
          _And ’tis, &c._

    But when they came to Bethlehem
      Where as our Saviour lay,
    They found him in a manger,
      Where oxen fed on hay,
    Our blessed Lady kneeling by
      Unto the Lord did pray.
          _And ’tis, &c._

    At which with sudden gladness
      The shepherds then were filled,
    When as the Babe of Israel
      Thus when they had beheld.
    Before his mother thus to lie
      The Scripture thus fulfilled.
          _And ’tis, &c._

    Now let me all of you entreat
      That are within this place,
    That each dear loving Xian
      The other would embrace.
    For the happy time of Xmas
      Is drawing on apace.
          _With its, &c._

This version is from a broadside in the British Museum; another version
is given in Sandy’s _Christmas Carols_ (1833), of which the last verse

    Now to the Lord sing praises
      All you within this place;
    And with true love and brotherhood
      Each other now embrace:
    This holy tide of Xmas
      All others doth deface.
          _With its, &c._


    Remember, O thou man,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    Remember, O thou man,
          Thy time is spent.
    Remember, O thou man,
    How thou earnest to me than,
    And I did what I can:
          Therefore repent.

    Remember Adam’s fall,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    Remember, O thou man,
          From Heaven to Hell.
    Remember Adam’s fall,
    How we were condemnèd all
    To Hell perpetual
          There for to dwell.

    Remember God’s goodness,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    Remember God’s goodness
          And promise made.
    Remember God’s goodness,
    How his only Son He sent
    Our sins for to redress;
          Be not afraid!

    The Angels all did sing,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    The Angels all did sing
          On Sion Hill;

    The Angels all did sing
    Praise to our heavenly king
    And peace to man living
          With right good will.

    The shepherds amazèd was,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    The shepherds amazèd was,
          To hear the Angels sing.
    The shepherds amazèd was,
    How this should come to pass,
    That Christ our Messias
          Should be our king.

    To Bethlehem did they go,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    To Bethlehem did they go
          This thing to see;
    To Bethlehem did they go
    To see whether it was so,
    Whether Christ was born or no
          To set us free.

    As th’ Angels before did say,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    As th’ Angels before did say,
          So it came to pass.
    As th’ Angels before did say
    They found him wrapt in hay
    In a manger where he lay,
          So poor he was.

    In Bethlehem was he born,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    In Bethlehem was he born
          For mankind dear.
    In Bethlehem was he born
    For us that were forlorn,
    And therefore took no scorn
          Our sins to bear.

    In a manger laid he was,
    O thou man, O thou man,
    In a manger laid he was
          At this time present.
    In a manger laid he was,
    Between an ox and an ass
    And all for our trespass;
          Therefore repent.

    Give thanks to God alway
    O thou man, O thou man,
    Give thanks to God alway
          With hearts most jolly.
    Give thanks to God alway
    Upon this blessed day,
    Let all men sing and say
          Holy, holy.


    I saw three ships come sailing in
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
    I saw three ships come sailing in
      On Christmas day in the morning.

    And what was in those ships all three
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
    And what was in those ships all three
      On Christmas day in the morning?

    Our Saviour Christ and His lady
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
    Our Saviour Christ and His lady
      On Christmas day in the morning.

    Pray, whither sailed those ships all three
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
    Pray, whither sailed those ships all three
      On Christmas day in the morning?

    O they sailed unto Bethlehem
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
    O they sailed unto Bethlehem
      On Christmas day in the morning.

    And all the bells on earth shall ring
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
    And all the bells on earth shall ring
      On Christmas day in the morning.

    And all the angels in heaven shall sing
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
    And all the angels in heaven shall sing
      On Christmas day in the morning.

    And all the souls on earth shall sing
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day
    And all the souls on earth shall sing
      On Christmas day in the morning.

    Then let us all rejoice amain
      On Christmas day, on Christmas day.
    Then let us all rejoice amain
      On Christmas day in the morning!



    _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,[31]
    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 soulës with His blood to buy,
    And loose you of the fiend’s arrest,
      And only of His own mercy;
    _Pro nobis Puer natus est._

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

    Now spring up flowrës from the root,
      Revert you upward naturally,
    In honour of the blessed fruit
      That rose up from the Rose Mary;
      Lay out your leavës 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._
                              WILLIAM DUNBAR

[31] Many.


    As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
    Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
    And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
    A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear.
    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 I fry,
    Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I.
    My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
    Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
    The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals;
    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 blood:
    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 prizèd there.

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


    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[32] your King a mortal wight,
    His borrowed weeds lets[33] not your sight;
    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 unarmèd 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 pitchèd 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.
                              ROBERT SOUTHWELL

[32] Acknowledge.

[33] Hinders.


    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 desirèd 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!
                              ROBERT SOUTHWELL


    Immensity, cloistered 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 the 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 eyes, how He,
    Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie!
    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 blessèd maid, smile and adore
    The God thy womb and arms have bore.

    Star, angels, shepherds, and wise sages,
    Thou virgin glory of all ages,
    Restorèd frame of heaven and earth,
    Joy in your dear Redeemer’s birth!
                              JOSEPH 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 our 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 we do 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


    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 bright,
    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 blessèd 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


    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


    Run, shepherds, run, where Bethlehem blest appears,
      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 stayed.
      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 solemnize His birth.
      This is that night—no, day, grown great with bliss,
      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-echoèd the same.
                              WILLIAM DRUMMOND


    O than the fairest day, thrice fairer night!
    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 blessèd ye, in silly pastor’s sight,
      Mild creatures, in whose warm crib now lies
    That heaven-sent Youngling, holy-maid-born Wight,
    Midst, end, beginning of our prophecies!

    Blest cottage that hath flowers in winter spread,
      Though withered—blessèd grass that hath the grace
      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.
                              WILLIAM DRUMMOND


    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 blessèd 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!

    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 securèd 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 blessèd 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 vouchsafèd for our sake;
      To buy us thrones, He in a manger lay;
    Our weakness took, that we His strength might take;
      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.
                              GILES FLETCHER


    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 awakèd 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 shake,
    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 banishèd;
    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, ‘O thou cruel king, and O 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 poured 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 cursèd 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 present.



[Sung to the King in the Presence at Whitehall.]

        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
        Runs division with the singer.

        [From the flourish they come to the song.]

    1. Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
       And give the honour to this day,
       That sees December turn’d to May.

    2. If we may ask the reason, say
       The why and wherefore all things here
       Seem like the spring-time of the year?

    3. Why does the chilling winter’s morn
       Smile like a field beset with corn?
       Or smell like to a mead new shorn,
          Thus on the sudden? 4. 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.

           We see Him come, and know Him ours,
           Who with His sunshine and His showers
           Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

    1. The Darling of the world is come,
       And fit it is we find a room
       To welcome Him. 2. The nobler part
       Of all the house here is the heart.

           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, O 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’ll make a chamber,
            Sweet Babe, for Thee,
            Of ivory,
    And plastered 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.
                              ROBERT HERRICK


    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.
    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 keep 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.

                          THE HYMN

    It was the winter wild,
    While the heaven-born Child
        All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
    Nature in awe to Him,
    Had doff’d her gaudy trim,
        With her great Master so to sympathize:
    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 sliding
    Down through the turning sphere,
    His ready harbinger,
        With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing;
    And waving wide her myrtle wand,
    She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.

    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 wave.

    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 need;
    He saw a greater Sun appear
    Than his bright throne, or burning axletree could bear.

    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 close.

    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 shamefac’d night array’d,
    The helmed Cherubim,
    And sworded Seraphim,
        Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display’d,
    Harping in loud and solemn quire,
    With unexpressive notes to Heaven’s new-born Heir.

    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 keep.

    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 th’ 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,
    Thron’d in celestial sheen,
        With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;
    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 lies yet 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 outbrake:
    The aged earth aghast
    With terror of that blast,
        Shall from the surface to the centre shake;
    When at the world’s last session,
    The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne.

    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 deceiving
    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 cell.

    The lonely mountains o’er,
    And the resounding shore,
        A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament;
    From haunted spring and dale,
    Edg’d with poplar pale,
        The parting Genius is with sighing sent;
    With flower-inwoven tresses torn,
    The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.

    In consecrated earth
    And on the holy hearth
        The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint;
    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 peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.

    Peor and Baälim
    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 mourn.

    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 loud:
    Nor can he be at rest
    Within his sacred chest,
        Naught but profoundest hell can be his shroud;
    In vain with timbrell’d anthems dark
    The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark.

    He feels from Juda’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 crew.

    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 ending,
    Heaven’s youngest-teemed star
    Hath fix’d her polish’d car,
        Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending:
    And all about the courtly stable
    Bright-harness’d angels sit in order serviceable.
                              JOHN MILTON


    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 aught 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, Tityrus, where th’ hast been,
    Tell him, Thyrsis, what th’ hast seen.

    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, &c.

    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, &c.

    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.

    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, &c.

    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, &c.

    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), &c.

    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), &c.

    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), &c.

    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, &c.

    _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 Caesar’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 ’gainst 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, dread Lamb, whose love must keep
    The shepherds more 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-wingèd herald late he saw
    To a poor Galilean virgin sent:
    How long the bright youth bowed, and with what awe
    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 mountains.

    He saw how in that blest day-bearing night
    The heaven rebukèd 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 earth.

    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 burst.

    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 controll’d:
        That glory’s self should serve our griefs and fears,
        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.
                              RICHARD CRASHAW
                             (from _Sospetto d’Herode_)


[Sung as by the three kings.]

    _1st King._
     Bright Babe! whose awful beauties make
     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;
    _1st King._
     O Thou born King of loves!
    _2nd King._ Of lights!
    _3rd King._ Of joys!
     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.

    _1st 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.
     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.
    _1st 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.
    _1st 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.
     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 adorèd feet thus he lays down,
    _1st King._
     His glorious tire
     Of flame and fire,
    _2nd King._ His glittering robe,
    _3rd King._                      His sparkling crown,
    _1st King._ His gold,
    _2nd King._           His myrrh,
    _3rd King._                      His frankincense.
     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.
                               RICHARD CRASHAW


[Being a dialogue between three shepherds.]

     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?

     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?

     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.

     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 goodwill and charity,
     Peace upon earth, glory to God on high!
                     Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
                               JEREMY TAYLOR


            Wonder’s birthday,
        Which mak’st December’s face
            Fairer than May,
        And bidst the spring give place
    To fresher winter, in whose hardy snow
    A flower more sweet than the whole spring doth grow.

            For winter now
        A virgin plant espies,
            Which all his snow
        Could never equalize:
    More white, more chaste is she, yet fertile too,
    The King of Miracles would have it so.

            For he it was
        Who would be born below.
            And find a place
        Amongst poor us to grow.
    Himself he planted in our dust that he
    Might be as true a mortal thing as we.

            Himself he set
        And by that art was sure
            That he should get
        A birth all clean and pure:
    Proud flesh corrupts and stains the seed we sow;
    He, planted by his Spirit, will spotless grow.

        His Father wanteth not,
            Though glorious he
        So great a Son hath got;
    Wherefore Heaven orders that a virgin be
    The Lily-Mother of his purity.

            Upon the white
        Church-wall oft-times have I
            Observ’d the light,
        Which darting from the sky
    Pierc’d the unbroken glass and with it brought
    The orient colours in the window wrought.

            So from his sphere
        The Lord of Light doth come,
            And passing here
        His crystal Mother’s womb
    Leaves her entirely whole, yet brings away
    Her perfect image, born a man to-day.

            He who did wear
        God’s radiant boundless form
            Shrinks himself here
        Into a simple worm.
    Heaven moulded up in earth; Eternity
    Grasp’d in a span of time doth bounded lie.

            All Paradise
        Collected in one bud
            Doth sweetly rise
        From its fair Virgin bed:
    Omnipotence an Infant’s shape puts on,
    Immensity becomes a Little One.

            But only LOVE
        Would not thus scanted be,
            But stoutly strove
        ’Gainst this conspiracy
    Of strange Epitomies, and did display
    Itself more full on this contracting day.
                              JOSEPH BEAUMONT


_Incarnatio est maximum Dei donum._

    Like as the fountain of all light created
    Doth pour out streams of brightness undefin’d
    Through all the conduits of transparent kind,
    That heaven and air are both illuminated,
    And yet his light is not thereby abated;
    So God’s eternal bounty ever shin’d
    The beams of being, moving, life, sense, mind;
    And to all things himself communicated
    But for the violent diffusive pleasure
    Of goodness that left not till God had spent
    Himself by giving us himself his treasure
    In making man a God omnipotent.
    How might this goodness draw ourselves above
    Which drew down God with such attractive love!
                              JOSEPH BEAUMONT


    Why does the frowning winter smile
    And check his fierce intent?
    Why does he curb his ruffling powers,
    As he for snow would sprinkle flowers?
    There is a reason for this guile,
      ’Twas but to pay his rent:
    It is the best that Huff-capp gives
        At the great birth
        Of publicke mirth,
    And pay’d, no longer lives.

    The Babe unveils His lovely face
      To chase the shades away;
    As soon as He casts up His eyes
    A sudden brightness will arise
    To gild the room does Him embrace;
      In spite of clouds ’tis Day.
    Lodg’d in His mother’s bosom He
        May sleep in snow,
        (Without cold tho’)
    For down from cold is free.

    Be not amazèd, souls, for this
      Is but the half of Joy;
    The Angels spare their nimble wings,
    For now they’re but superfluous things;
    To men, since Heaven descended is
      Contracted in a Boy.
    The Rose of Sharon’s budded now
        And every thing
        Portends a spring.
    December snows adieu:

    Adieu, but stay: a Subject prov’d a Ring,
    Presents as great, as splendid, offering.
    My breast’s the mine whence golden precepts rise,
    Myrrh drops in bitter tears from virgin eyes.
    Frankincense, praise’s furnish’d with desert
    Offered upon no altar but my heart,
    This reinvites my God unto my breast
    And spreads the table for the welcome guest.
    Tho’ gold, myrrh, frankincense, kings off’red Thee,
    Thou’st frankincense, with gold and myrrh from me.
    If these shrink in performance, at Thy eyes
    I’ll trine my selfe and prove Thy sacrifice.
                              J. M.


    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 happen’d it that in the dead of night
      You only saw true light,
    While Palestine was fast asleep, and lay
      Without one thought of day?
    Was it because those first and blessèd 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 languishèd 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 cots,
      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 wished
      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 some 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,
        O release him!
    And let once more, by mystic birth,
    The Lord of life be born in earth.
                              HENRY VAUGHAN


    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 display’d,
    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, O royal Infant, be
    Th’ ensigns of Thy majesty;
    Thy Sire’s equalizing 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’ll 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’ll 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’ll fetch some flowers that grow

    In Thine own garden, Faith and Love, to Thee;
    With these I’ll 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’ll be your guest to-morrow night,’
     How should we stir ourselves, call and command
     All hands to work! ‘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 daïs 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 display’d,
    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!

     Glory to God that reigns above,
       That pitied us forlorn!
     We join to sing our Maker’s love—
       For there’s a Saviour born.
                               ISAAC WATTS


    Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber,
      Holy angels guard thy bed!
    Heavenly blessings without number
      Gently falling on thy head.

    Sleep, my babe; thy food and raiment,
      House and home thy friends provide;
    All without thy care or payment,
      All thy wants are well supplied.

    How much better thou’rt attended
      Than the Son of God could be,
    When from heaven He descended,
      And became a Child like thee!

    Soft and easy is thy cradle;
      Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay:
    When His birthplace was a stable,
      And His softest bed was hay.

    See the kinder shepherds round Him,
      Telling wonders from the sky!
    Where they sought Him, there they found Him,
      With the virgin-mother by.

    See the lovely Babe a-dressing;
      Lovely Infant, how He smiled!
    When He wept, the mother’s blessing
      Soothed and hushed the holy Child.

    Lo, He slumbers in His manger
      Where the hornèd oxen fed;
    —Peace, my darling, here’s no danger;
      Here’s no ox a-near thy bed.

    Mayst thou live to know and fear Him,
      Trust and love Him all thy days;
    Then go dwell for ever near Him,
      See His face, and sing His praise.

    I could give thee thousand kisses,
      Hoping what I most desire;
    Not a mother’s fondest wishes
      Can to greater joys aspire.
                           ISAAC WATTS


    Christians, awake, salute the happy morn
    Whereon the Saviour of the world was born;
    Rise to adore the Mystery of love,
    Which hosts of angels chanted from above:
    With them the joyful tidings first begun
    Of God incarnate, and the Virgin’s Son:
    Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
    Who heard th’ Angelic Herald’s voice—‘Behold!
    I bring good tidings of a Saviour’s birth
    To you, and all the nations upon earth;
    This day hath God fulfill’d his promised word;
    This day is born a Saviour, Christ, the Lord:
    In David’s city, shepherds, ye shall find
    The long-foretold Redeemer of mankind,
    Wrapt up in swaddling clothes, the Babe divine
    Lies in a manger; this shall be the sign.’
                                        JOHN BYROM


    Hark, the glad sound! the Saviour comes,
      The Saviour promised long;
    Let every heart prepare a throne,
      And every voice a song!

    He comes, the prisoners to release
      In Satan’s bondage held;
    The gates of brass before Him burst,
      The iron fetters yield.

    He comes, the broken heart to bind,
      The bleeding soul to cure,
    And with the treasures of His grace
      T’ enrich the humble poor.

    Our glad Hosannas, Prince of Peace,
      Thy welcome shall proclaim,
    And heaven’s eternal arches ring
      With Thy belovèd name.
                              PHILIP DODDRIDGE


    Hark! how all the welkin rings,
    Glory to the King of kings!
    Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
    God and sinners reconciled!
    Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
    Join the triumph of the skies;
    Universal nature say,
    Christ the Lord is born to-day.

    Christ, by highest Heaven adored;
    Christ, the Everlasting Lord;
    Late in time behold Him come,
    Offspring of a Virgin’s womb;
    Veil’d in flesh the Godhead see;
    Hail, th’ Incarnate Deity!
    Pleased as man with men t’ appear,
    Jesus, our Immanuel here!

    Hail! the heavenly Prince of Peace!
    Hail! the Sun of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings,
    Risen with healing in His wings.
    Mild He lays His glory by,
    Born that man no more may die,
    Born to raise the sons of earth,
    Born to give them second birth.
                              CHARLES WESLEY


    The shepherds went their hasty way,
      And found the lowly stable-shed,
    Where the virgin-mother lay;
      And now they checked their eager tread,
    For to the Babe, that at her bosom clung,
    A mother’s song the virgin-mother sung.

    They told her how a glorious light,
      Streaming from a heavenly throng,
    Around them shone, suspending night!
      While sweeter than a mother’s song,
    Blest angels heralded the Saviour’s birth,
    Glory to God on high! and peace on earth!

    She listened to the tale divine,
      And closer still the Babe she pressed;
    And while she cried, The Babe is mine!
      The milk rushed faster to her breast:
    Joy rose within her, like a summer’s morn;
    Peace, peace on earth! the Prince of Peace is born.

    Thou mother of the Prince of Peace,
      Poor, simple, and of low estate!
    That strife should vanish, battle cease,
      O why should this thy soul elate?
    Sweet music’s loudest note, the poet’s story,—
    Didst thou ne’er love to hear of fame and glory?

    And is not War a youthful king,
      A stately hero clad in mail?
    Beneath his footsteps laurels spring;
      Him earth’s majestic monarchs hail
    Their friend, their playmate! and his bold bright eye
    Compels the maiden’s love-confessing sigh.

    ‘Tell this in some more courtly scene
      To maids and youths in robes of state!
    I am a woman poor and mean,
      And therefore is my soul elate.
    War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled,
    That from the aged father tears his child.

    ‘A murderous fiend by fiends adored,
      He kills the sire and starves the son;
    The husband kills, and from her board
      Steals all his widow’s toil had won;
    Plunders God’s world of beauty; rends away
    All safety from the night, all comfort from the day.

    ‘Then wisely is my soul elate,
      That strife should vanish, battle cease;
    I’m poor and of a low estate,
      The mother of the Prince of Peace.
    Joy rises in me, like a summer’s morn:
    Peace, peace on earth! the Prince of Peace is born.’
                              SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE


    She gave with joy her virgin breast;
    She hid it not, she bared the breast
    Which suckled that divinest Babe!
    Blessed, blessed were the breasts
    Which the Saviour Infant kiss’d;
    And blessed, blessed was the mother
    Who wrapp’d His limbs in swaddling clothes,
    Singing placed Him on her lap,
    Hung o’er Him with her looks of love,
    And soothed Him with a lulling motion.
    Blessed! for she shelter’d Him
    From the damp and chilling air;
    Blessed, blessed! for she lay
    With such a Babe in one blest bed,
    Close as babes and mothers lie!
    Blessed, blessed evermore,
    With her virgin lips she kiss’d,
    With her arms, and to her breast,
    She embraced the Babe divine,
    Her Babe divine the virgin-mother!
    There lives not on this ring of earth
    A mortal that can sing her praise.
    Mighty mother, virgin pure,
    In the darkness and the night
    For us she _bore_ the heavenly Lord.
                              SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE


Copied from a print of the Virgin in a Catholic village in Germany.

    Dormi, Jesu! mater ridet
    Quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
      Dormi, Jesu! blandule!
    Si non dormis, mater plorat,
    Inter fila cantans orat,
      Blande, veni, somnule.

    Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling:
    Mother sits beside thee smiling;
      Sleep, my darling, tenderly;
    If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
    Singing as her wheel she turneth:
      Come, soft slumber, balmily!
                              SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE


    Brightest and best of the sons of the morning!
      Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid!
    Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
      Guide where our Infant Redeemer is laid!

    Cold on His cradle the dew-drops are shining;
      Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
    Angels adore Him, in slumber reclining,
      Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

    Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,
      Odours of Edom and offerings divine?
    Gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
      Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?

    Vainly we offer each ample oblation;
      Vainly with gifts would His favour secure;
    Richer by far is the heart’s adoration;
      Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

    Brightest and best of the sons of the morning!
      Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid!
    Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
      Guide where our Infant Redeemer is laid!
                              REGINALD HEBER


    They leave the land of gems and gold,
      The shining portals of the East;
    For Him, the woman’s Seed foretold,
      They leave the revel and the feast.

    To earth their sceptres they have cast,
      And crowns by kings ancestral worn;
    They track the lonely Syrian waste;
      They kneel before the Babe new born.

    O happy eyes that saw Him first;
      O happy lips that kissed His feet;
    Earth slakes at last her ancient thirst;
      With Eden’s joy her pulses beat.

    True kings are those who thus forsake
      Their kingdoms for the Eternal King;
    Serpent, her foot is on thy neck;
      Herod, thou writhest, but canst not sting.

    He, He is King, and He alone
      Who lifts that infant hand to bless;
    Who makes His mother’s knee His throne,
      Yet rules the starry wilderness.
                              AUBREY DE VERE


    The time draws near the birth of Christ:
        The moon is hid; the night is still;
        The Christmas bells from hill to hill
    Answer each other in the mist.

    Four voices of four hamlets round,
        From far and near, on mead and moor,
        Swell out and fail, as if a door
    Were shut between me and the sound:

    Each voice four changes on the wind,
        That now dilate, and now decrease,
        _Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
    Peace and goodwill, to all mankind._

    This year I slept and woke with pain,
        I almost wish’d no more to wake,
        And that my hold on life would break
    Before I heard those bells again:

    But they my troubled spirit rule,
        For they controll’d me when a boy;
        They bring me sorrow touch’d with joy,
    The merry, merry bells of Yule.

    Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
        The flying cloud, the frosty light:
        The year is dying in the night;
    Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

    Ring out the old, ring in the new,
        Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
        The year is going, let him go;
    Ring out the false, ring in the true.

    Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
        For these that here we see no more;
        Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
    Ring in redress to all mankind.

    Ring out a slowly dying cause,
        And ancient forms of party strife;
        Ring in the nobler modes of life,
    With sweeter manners, purer laws.

    Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
        The faithless coldness of the times;
        Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
    But ring the fuller minstrel in.

    Ring out false pride in place and blood,
        The civic slander and the spite;
        Ring in the love of truth and right,
    Ring in the common love of good.

    Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
        Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
        Ring out the thousand wars of old,
    Ring in the thousand years of peace.

    Ring in the valiant man and free,
        The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
        Ring out the darkness of the land,
    Ring in the Christ that is to be.
                              ALFRED TENNYSON
                             (from _In Memoriam_)


    It was the calm and silent night:
      Seven hundred years and fifty-three
    Had Rome been growing up to might,
      And now was Queen of earth and sea:
    The clashing of continual wars
      Was hushed throughout the wide domain;
    Apollo, Pallas, Jove and Mars
      Held undisturbed their ancient reign,
          In the solemn midnight
                    Centuries ago.

    It was the calm and silent night:
      The Senator of ancient Rome
    Impatient urged his chariot’s flight,
      From lordly revel rolling home:
    Triumphal arches gleaming swell
      His breast with thoughts of boundless sway;
    Nought recked the Roman what befell
      A paltry province far away,
          In the solemn midnight
                    Centuries ago.

    Within that province far away,
      Went plodding home the weary boor.
    A streak of light before him lay,
      Fallen through a half-shut stable door
    Across his path:—he passed; for nought
      Told what was going on within;
    How bright the stars his only thought,
      The air, how calm and cold and thin
          In the solemn midnight
                    Centuries ago.

    Oh strange indifference! low and high
      Drowsed over common joys and cares—
    The earth was still, it knew not why,
      The world was listening unawares,
    How calm a moment may precede
      One that shall thrill the world for ever.
    To that still moment none would heed,
      Man’s doom was linked, no more to sever,
          In the solemn midnight
                    Centuries ago.

    It is the calm and silent night—
      A thousand bells ring out, and throw
    Their joyous peals around, and smite
      The darkness—charmed and holy now—
    The day that erst no name had worn,
      To it a blessed name is given,
    For in that stable lay, new born,
      The Peaceful Prince of earth and heaven—
          In the solemn midnight
                    Centuries ago.
                              ALFRED DOMETT


    Christ was born on Christmas day;
    Wreathe the holly, twine the bay;
        _Christus natus hodie_:
    The Babe, the Son, the Holy One of Mary.

    He is born to set us free,
    He is born our Lord to be,
        _Ex Maria Virgine_:
    The God, the Lord, by all adored for ever.

    Let the bright red berries glow
    Everywhere in goodly show;
        _Christus natus hodie_:
    The Babe, the Son, the Holy One of Mary.

    Christian men, rejoice and sing;
    ’Tis the birthday of a King,
        _Ex Maria Virgine_:
    The God, the Lord, by all adored for ever.

    Night of sadness, Morn of gladness
    Ever, ever, after many troubles sore,
    Morn of gladness, evermore and evermore.

    Midnight scarcely passed and over,
    Drawing to this holy morn,
    Very early, very early
    Christ was born.

    Sing out with bliss, His name is this—
    As was foretold in days of old
            By Gabriel.
                              J. M. NEALE


    It chanced upon the merry merry Christmas eve
      I went sighing past the church across the moorland dreary—
    ‘Oh! never sin and want and woe this earth will leave,
      And the bells but mock the wailing round, they sing so cheery.
    How long, O Lord! how long before Thou come again?
      Still in cellar, and in garret, and on moorland dreary
    The orphans moan, and widows weep, and poor men toil in vain,
      Till earth is sick of hope deferred, though Christmas bells be

    Then arose a joyous clamour from the wildfowl on the mere,
      Beneath the stars, across the snow, like clear bells ringing,
    And a voice within cried—‘Listen!—Christmas carols even here!
      Though thou be dumb, yet o’er their work the stars and snows
          are singing.

    Blind! I live, I love, I reign; and all the nations through
      With the thunder of my judgements even now are ringing;
    Do thou fulfil thy work, but as yon wildfowl do,
      Thou wilt hear no less the wailing, yet hear through it angels
                              CHARLES KINGSLEY


    In the bleak mid-winter
      Frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron,
      Water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
      Snow on snow,
    In the bleak mid-winter
      Long ago.

    Our God, heaven cannot hold Him,
      Nor earth sustain;
    Heaven and earth shall flee away
      When He comes to reign:
    In the bleak mid-winter
      A stable-place sufficed
    The Lord God Almighty
      Jesus Christ.

    Enough for Him whom cherubim
      Worship night and day,
    A breastful of milk
      And a mangerful of hay;
    Enough for Him whom angels
      Fall down before,
    The ox and ass and camel
      Which adore.

    Angels and archangels
      May have gathered there,
    Cherubim and seraphim
      Thronged the air:
    But only His mother,
      In her maiden bliss,
    Worshipped the Belovèd
      With a kiss.

    What can I give Him,
      Poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd
      I would bring a lamb,
    If I were a wise man
      I would do my part,—
    Yet what I can I give Him:
      Give my heart.
                              CHRISTINA ROSSETTI


    To Bethlem did they go, the shepherds three;
    To Bethlem did they go, to see whe’r it were so or no,
          Whether Christ were born or no
            To set men free.

          Masters, in this hall,
            Hear ye news to-day
          Brought over sea,
            And ever I you pray,
              Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
                Sing we clear!
              Holpen are all folk on earth,
                Born is God’s Son so dear.

            Going over the hills
              Through the milk-white snow,
            Heard I ewes bleat
              While the wind did blow.
                Nowell, &c.

            Shepherds many an one
              Sat among the sheep;
            No man spake more word
              Than they had been asleep.
                Nowell, &c.

            Quoth I, ‘Fellows mine,
              Why this guise sit ye?
            Making but dull cheer,
              Shepherds though ye be?’
                Nowell, &c.

           ‘Shepherds should of right
              Leap and dance and sing;
            Thus to see ye sit
              Is a right strange thing.’
                Nowell, &c.

            Quoth these fellows then,
             ‘To Bethlem town we go,
            To see a mighty Lord
              Lie in manger low.’
                Nowell, &c.

           ‘How name ye this Lord,
              Shepherds?’ then said I.
           ‘Very God,’ they said,
             ‘Come from heaven high.’
                Nowell, &c.

            Then to Bethlem town
              We went two and two,
            And in a sorry place
              Heard the oxen low.
                Nowell, &c.

            Therein did we see
              A sweet and goodly May,
            And a fair old man;
              Upon the straw she lay.
                Nowell, &c.

            And a little Child
              On her arm had she;
           ‘Wot ye who This is?’
              Said the hinds to me.
                Nowell, &c.

            Ox and ass Him know,
              Kneeling on their knee:
            Wondrous joy had I
              This little Babe to see.
                Nowell, &c.

            This is Christ the Lord,
              Masters, be ye glad!
            Christmas is come in,
              And no folk should be sad.
                Nowell, &c.
                              WILLIAM MORRIS


    Outlanders, whence come ye last?
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
    Through what green sea and great have ye passed?
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    From far away, O masters mine,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
    We come to bear you goodly wine:
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    From far away we come to you,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
    To tell of great tidings strange and true:
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    News, news of the Trinity,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
    And Mary and Joseph from over the sea:
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    For as we wandered far and wide,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
    What hap do ye deem there should us betide?
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    Under a bent when the night was deep,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
    There lay three shepherds tending their sheep:
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    ‘O ye shepherds, what have ye seen,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door,
    To slay your sorrow and heal your teen?’
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    ‘In an ox-stall this night we saw,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door,
    A Babe and a maid without a flaw.’
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    ‘There was an old man there beside,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door,
    His hair was white and his hood was wide.’
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    ‘And as we gazed this thing upon,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door,
    Those twain knelt down to the Little One.’
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    ‘And a marvellous song we straight did hear,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door,
    That slew our sorrow and healed our care.’
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.

    News of a fair and a marvellous thing,
      The snow in the street and the wind on the door.
    Nowell, nowell, nowell, we sing!
      Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
                              WILLIAM MORRIS


     It is the longest night in all the year,
       Near on the day when the Lord Christ was born;
     Six hours ago I came and sat down here,
       And ponder’d sadly, wearied and forlorn.

     The winter wind that pass’d the chapel door,
       Sang out a moody tune, that went right well
     With mine own thoughts: I look’d down on the floor,
       Between my feet, until I heard a bell

     Sound a long way off through the forest deep,
       And toll on steadily; a drowsiness
     Came on me, so that I fell half asleep,
       As I sat there not moving: less and less

     I saw the melted snow that hung in beads
       Upon my steel shoes; less and less I saw
     Between the tiles the bunches of small weeds:
       Heartless and stupid, with no touch of awe

     Upon me, half-shut eyes upon the ground,
       I thought; O Galahad! the days go by,
     Stop and cast up now that which you have found,
       So sorely you have wrought and painfully.

     Night after night your horse treads down alone
       The sere damp fern, night after night you sit
     Holding the bridle like a man of stone,
       Dismal, unfriended, what thing comes of it.

     And what if Palomydes also ride,
       And over many a mountain and bare heath
     Follow the questing beast with none beside?
       Is he not able still to hold his breath

     With thoughts of Iseult? doth he not grow pale
       With weary striving, to seem best of all
     To her, ‘as she is best,’ he saith? to fail
       Is nothing to him, he can never fall.

     For unto such a man love-sorrow is
       So dear a thing unto his constant heart,
     That even if he never win one kiss,
       Or touch from Iseult, it will never part.

     And he will never know her to be worse
       Than in his happiest dreams he thinks she is:
     Good knight, and faithful, you have ’scaped the curse
       In wonderful-wise; you have great store of bliss.

     Yea, what if Father Launcelot ride out,
       Can he not think of Guenevere’s arms, round,
     Warm and lithe, about his neck, and shout
       Till all the place grows joyful with the sound?

     And when he lists can often see her face,
       And think, ‘Next month I kiss you, or next week,
     And still you think of me’: therefore the place
       Grows very pleasant, whatsoever he seek.

     But me, who ride alone, some carle shall find
       Dead in my arms in the half-melted snow,
     When all unkindly with the shifting wind,
       The thaw comes on at Candlemas: I know

     Indeed that they will say: ‘This Galahad
       If he had lived had been a right good knight;
     Ah! poor chaste body!’ but they will be glad,
       Not most alone, but all, when in their sight

     That very evening in their scarlet sleeves
       The gay-dress’d minstrels sing; no maid will talk
     Of sitting on my tomb, until the leaves,
       Grown big upon the bushes of the walk,

     East of the Palace-pleasaunce, make it hard
       To see the minster therefrom: well-a-day!
     Before the trees by autumn were well bared,
       I saw a damozel with gentle play,

     Within that very walk say last farewell
       To her dear knight, just riding out to find
     (Why should I choke to say it?) the Sangreal,
       And their last kisses sunk into my mind,

     Yea, for she stood lean’d forward on his breast,
       Rather, scarce stood; the back of one dear hand,
     That it might well be kiss’d, she held and press’d
       Against his lips; long time they stood there, fann’d

     By gentle gusts of quiet frosty wind,
       Till Mador de la Porte a-going by,
     And my own horsehoofs roused them; they untwined,
       And parted like a dream. In this way I,

     With steeply face bent to the chapel floor,
       Kept musing half asleep, till suddenly
     A sharp bell rang from close beside the door,
       And I leapt up when something pass’d me by,

     Shrill ringing going with it, still half blind
       I stagger’d after, a great sense of awe
     At every step kept gathering on my mind,
       Thereat I have no marvel, for I saw

     One sitting on the altar as a throne,
       Whose face no man could say he did not know,
     And though the bell still rang, he sat alone,
       With raiment half blood-red, half white as snow.

     Right so I fell upon the floor and knelt,
       Not as one kneels in church when mass is said,
     But in a heap, quite nerveless, for I felt
       The first time what a thing was perfect dread.

     But mightily the gentle voice came down:
       ‘Rise up, and look and listen, Galahad,
     Good knight of God, for you will see no frown
       Upon my face; I came to make you glad.

     ‘For that you say that you are all alone,
       I will be with you always, and fear not
     You are uncared for, though no maiden moan
       Above your empty tomb; for Launcelot,

     ‘He in good time shall be my servant too,
       Meantime, take note whose sword first made him knight,
     And who has loved him alway, yea, and who
       Still trusts him alway, though in all men’s sight,

     ‘He is just what you know, O Galahad,
       This love is happy even as you say,
     But would you for a little time be glad,
       To make me sorry long day after day?

     ‘Her warm arms round his neck half throttle Me,
       The hot love-tears burn deep like spots of lead,
     Yea, and the years pass quick: right dismally
       Will Launcelot at one time hang his head;

     ‘Yea, old and shrivell’d he shall win my love.
       Poor Palomydes fretting out his soul!
     Not always is he able, son, to move
       His love, and do it honour: needs must roll

     ‘The proudest destrier sometimes in the dust,
       And then ’tis weary work; he strives beside
     Seem better than he is, so that his trust
       Is always on what chances may betide;

     ‘And so he wears away, my servant, too,
       When all these things are gone, and wretchedly
     He sits and longs to moan for Iseult, who
       Is no care now to Palomydes: see,

     ‘O good son Galahad, upon this day,
       Now even, all these things are on your side,
     But these you fight not for; look up, I say,
       And see how I can love you, for no pride

     ‘Closes your eyes, no vain lust keeps them down.
       See now you have ME always; following
     That holy vision, Galahad, go on,
       Until at last you come to Me to sing

     ‘In heaven always, and to walk around
       The garden where I am’: he ceased, my face
     And wretched body fell upon the ground;
       And when I look’d again, the holy place

     Was empty; but right so the bell again
       Came to the chapel-door, there entered
     Two angels first, in white, without a stain,
       And scarlet wings, then after them a bed,

     Four ladies bore, and set it down beneath
       The very altar-step, and while for fear
     I scarcely dared to move or draw my breath,
       Those holy ladies gently came a-near,

     And quite unarm’d me, saying: ‘Galahad,
       Rest here a while and sleep, and take no thought
     Of any other thing than being glad;
       Hither the Sangreal will be shortly brought,

    ‘Yet must you sleep the while it stayeth here.’
       Right so they went away, and I, being weary,
     Slept long and dream’d of heaven: the bell comes near,
       I doubt it grows to morning. Miserere!

    [_Enter two angels in white, with scarlet wings;
        also, four ladies in gowns of red and green; also
        an angel, bearing in his hands a surcoat of white,
        with a red cross._]

    _An Angel._

    O servant of the high God, Galahad!
      Rise and be arm’d, the Sangreal is gone forth
    Through the great forest, and you must be had
      Unto the sea that lieth on the north:

    There shall you find the wondrous ship wherein
      The spindles of King Solomon are laid,
    And the sword that no man draweth without sin,
      But if he be most pure: and there is stay’d,

    Hard by, Sir Launcelot, whom you will meet
      In some short space upon that ship: first, though,
    Will come here presently that lady sweet,
      Sister of Percival, whom you well know,

    And with her Bors and Percival: stand now,
      These ladies will to arm you.

    _First Lady_ [_putting on the hauberke_].
    That I may stand so close beneath your brow,
      I, Margaret of Antioch, am glad.

    _Second Lady_ [_girding him with the sword_].
    That I may stand and touch you with my hand,
      O Galahad, I, Cecily, am glad.

    _Third Lady_ [_buckling on the spurs_].
    That I may kneel while up above you stand,
      And gaze at me, O holy Galahad,

    I, Lucy, am most glad.

    _Fourth Lady_ [_putting on the basnet_].
                            O gentle knight,
      That you bow down to us in reverence,
    We are most glad, I, Katherine, with delight
      Must needs fall trembling.

    _Angel_ [_putting on the crossed surcoat_].
                                  Galahad, we go hence,

    For here, amid the straying of the snow,
      Come Percival’s sister, Bors, and Percival.

    [_The four Ladies carry out the bed, and all go but Galahad._]

    How still and quiet everything seems now!
      They come, too, for I hear the horsehoofs fall.

    [_Enter Sir Bors, Sir Percival, and his Sister._]

    Fair friends and gentle lady, God you save!
      A many marvels have been here to-night;
    Tell me what news of Launcelot you have,
      And has God’s body ever been in sight?

    _Sir Bors._
    Why, as for seeing that same holy thing,
      As we were riding slowly side by side,
    An hour ago, we heard a sweet voice sing,
      And through the bare twigs saw a great light glide,

    With many-colour’d raiment, but far off,
      And so pass’d quickly—from the court nought good;
    Poor merry Dinadan, that with jape and scoff
      Kept us all merry, in a little wood

    Was found all hack’d and dead; Sir Lionel
      And Gauwaine have come back from the great quest,
    Just merely shamed; and Lauvaine, who loved well
      Your father Launcelot, at the king’s behest

    Went out to seek him, but was almost slain,
      Perhaps is dead now; everywhere
    The knights come foil’d from the great quest; in vain,
      In vain they struggle for the vision fair.
                              WILLIAM MORRIS


    A shape, like folded light, embodied air,
      Yet wreath’d with flesh and warm;
    All that of heaven is feminine and fair,
      Moulded in visible form.

    She stood, the Lady Schechinah of earth,
      A chancel for the sky;
    Where woke, to breath and beauty, God’s own birth
      For men to see Him by.

    Round her, too pure to mingle with the day,
      Light, that was life, abode;
    Folded within her fibres meekly lay
      The link of boundless God.

    So link’d, so blent, that when, with pulse fulfill’d,
      Moved but that infant hand,
    Far, far away, His conscious Godhead thrill’d,
      And stars might understand.

    Lo! where they pause, with intergathering rest,
      The Threefold and the One!
    And lo! He binds them to her orient breast,
      His Manhood girded on.

    The Zone, where two glad worlds for ever meet,
      Beneath that bosom ran:
    Deep in that womb, the conquering Paraclete
      Smote Godhead on to man!

    Sole scene among the stars, where, yearning, glide
      The Threefold and the One:
    Her God upon her lap, the Virgin-Bride,
      Her Awful Child, her Son.
                              R. S. HAWKER



    When the brown bowl is filled for yule, let the dome
        or upper half be set on; then let the waes-haelers
        kneel one by one and draw up the wine with their
        reeds through the two bosses at the rim. Let one
        breath only be drawn by each of the morice for his

    Waes-hael for knight and dame!
      O! merry be their dole;
    Drink-hael! in Jesu’s name
      We fill the tawny bowl;
    But cover down the curving crest,
    Mould of the Orient Lady’s breast.

    Waes-hael! yet lift no lid:
      Drain ye the reeds for wine.
    Drink-hael! the milk was hid
      That soothed that Babe divine;
    Hushed, as this hollow channel flows,
    He drew the balsam from the rose.

    Waes-hael! thus glowed the breast
      Where a God yearned to cling;
    Drink-hael! so Jesu pressed
      Life from its mystic spring;
    Then hush, and bend in reverent sign,
    And breathe the thrilling reeds for wine.

    Waes-hael! in shadowy scene,
      Lo! Christmas children we;
    Drink-hael! behold we lean
      At a far Mother’s knee;
    To dream, that thus her bosom smiled,
    And learn the lip of Bethlehem’s Child.
                              R. S. HAWKER


    Say, did his Sisters wonder what could Joseph see
    In a mild, silent little Maid like thee?
    And was it awful, in that narrow house,
    With God for Babe and Spouse?
    Nay, like thy simple, female sort, each one
    Apt to find Him in Husband and in Son,
    Nothing to thee came strange in this.
    Thy wonder was but wondrous bliss:
    Wondrous, for, though
    True Virgin lives not but does know,
    (Howbeit none ever yet confess’d,)
    That God lies really in her breast,
    Of thine He made His special nest!
    And so
    All mothers worship little feet,
    And kiss the very ground they’ve trod;
    But, ah, thy little Baby sweet
    Who was indeed thy God.
                              COVENTRY PATMORE


    Wild air, world-mothering air,
    Nestling me everywhere,
    That each eyelash or hair
    Girdles; goes home betwixt
    The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
    Snow-flake; that’s fairly mixed
    With, riddles, and is rife
    In every least thing’s life;
    This needful, never spent
    And nursing element;
    My more than meat and drink,
    My meal at every wink;
    This air, which, by life’s law,
    My lung must draw and draw
    Now, but to breathe its praise,—
    Minds me in many ways
    Of her who not only
    Gave God’s infinity,
    Dwindled to infancy,
    Welcome in womb and breast,
    Birth, milk, and all the rest,
    But mothers each new grace
    That does now reach our race,
    Mary Immaculate,
    Merely a woman, yet
    Whose presence, power is
    Great as no goddess’s
    Was deemèd, dreamèd; who
    This one work has to do—
    Let all God’s glory through,
    God’s glory, which would go
    Through her and from her flow
    Off, and no way but so.
      I say that we are wound
    With mercy round and round
    As if with air: the same
    Is Mary, more by name,
    She, wild web, wondrous robe,
    Mantles the guilty globe,
    Since God has let dispense
    Her prayers His providence.
    Nay, more than almoner,
    The sweet alms’ self is her
    And men are meant to share
    Her life as life does air.
      If I have understood,
    She holds high motherhood
    Towards all our ghostly good
    And plays in grace her part
    About man’s beating heart,
    Laying, like air’s fine flood,
    The death-dance in his blood;
    Yet no part but what will
    Be Christ our Saviour still.
    Of her flesh he took flesh:
    He does take, fresh and fresh,
    Though much the mystery how,
    Not flesh but spirit now
    And wakes, O marvellous!
    New Nazareths in us,
    Where she shall yet conceive
    Him, morning, noon, and eve;
    New Bethlems, and he born
    There, evening, noon and morn—
    Bethlem or Nazareth,
    Men here may draw like breath
    More Christ, and baffle death;
    Who, born so, comes to be
    New self, and nobler me
    In each one, and each one
    More makes, when all is done,
    Both God’s and Mary’s son.
      Again, look overhead
    How air is azurèd.
    O how! nay do but stand
    Where you can lift your hand
    Skywards: rich, rich it laps
    Round the four finger-gaps.
    Yet such a sapphire-shot,
    Charged, steepèd sky will not
    Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
    It does no prejudice.
    The glass-blue days are those
    When every colour glows,
    Each shape and shadow shows.
    Blue be it: this blue heaven
    The seven or seven times seven
    Hued sunbeam will transmit
    Perfect, not alter it.
    Or if there does some soft
    On things aloof, aloft,
    Bloom breathe, that one breath more
    Earth is the fairer for.
    Whereas did air not make
    This bath of blue and slake
    His fire, the sun would shake,
    A blear and blinding ball
    With blackness bound, and all
    The thick stars round him roll
    Flashing like flecks of coal,
    Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt
    In grimy vasty vault.
      So God was God of old;
    A mother came to mould
    Those limbs like ours which are
    What must make our daystar
    Much dearer to mankind:
    Whose glory bare would blind
    Or less would win man’s mind.
    Through her we may see Him
    Made sweeter, not made dim,
    And her hand leaves His light
    Sifted to suit our sight.
      Be thou, then, O thou dear
    Mother, my atmosphere;
    My happier world wherein
    To wend and meet no sin;
    Above me, round me lie
    Fronting my froward eye
    With sweet and scarless sky;
    Stir in my ears, speak there
    Of God’s love, O live air,
    Of patience, penance, prayer;
    World-mothering air, air wild,
    Wound with thee, in thee isled,
    Fold home, fast fold thy child.
                              GERARD HOPKINS


    Consider, O my soul, what morn is this!
      Whereon the eternal Lord of all things made
    For us, poor mortals, and our endless bliss,
      Came down from heaven; and, in a manger laid,
      The first, rich, offerings of our ransom paid:
    Consider, O my soul, what morn is this!

    Consider what estate of fearful woe
      Had then been ours, had He refused this birth;
    From sin to sin tossed vainly to and fro,
      Hell’s playthings, o’er a doomed and helpless earth!
      Had He from us withheld His priceless worth,
    Consider man’s estate of fearful woe!

    Consider to what joys He bids thee rise,
      Who comes, Himself, life’s bitter cup to drain!
    Ah! look on this sweet Child, whose innocent eyes,
      Ere all be done, shall close in mortal pain,
      That thou at last Love’s Kingdom may’st attain:
    Consider to what joys He bids thee rise!

    Consider all this wonder, O my soul:
      And in thine inmost shrine make music sweet!
    Yea, let the world, from furthest pole to pole,
      Join in thy praises this dread birth to greet!
      Kneeling to kiss thy Saviour’s infant feet!
    Consider all this wonder, O my soul!
                              SELWYN IMAGE


[For Music.]

    1 Wake, what unusual light doth greet
      The early dusk of this our street?

    2 It is the Lord! it is the Christ!
      That hath the will of God sufficed;
      That ere the day is born anew,
      Himself is born a Child for you.

      The harp, the viol, and the lute,
      To strike a praise unto our God!
      Bring here the reeds! bring here the flute!
      Wake summer from the winter’s sod!
      Oh, what a feast of feasts is given
      To His poor servants, by the King of Heaven!

    3 Where is the Lord?

    2                   Here is the Lord,
      At thine own door. ’Tis He, the Word;
      He, at whose face, the eternal speed
      Of orb on orb was changed to song.
      Shall He the sound of viols heed,
      Whose ears have heard so high a throng?
      Shall He regard the citherns strung
      To whom the morning stars have sung?

      Then wake, my heart, and sweep the strings,
      The seven in the Lyre of Life!
      Instead of lutes, the spirit sings;
      With praise its quiet house is rife!
      Oh, what a feast of feasts is given
      To His poor servants, by the King of Heaven!

    4 Who is the Lord?

    2                   He is the Lord,
      That Light of light, that Chief of all!

    1 Who is the Lord?

    2                   He is the Lord,
      An outcast lying in a stall;
      For in the inn no room is left,
      While the unworthy feast instead;
      He of all welcome is bereft,
      And hath not where to lay His head.

    1 What fitter place could I prepare,
      What better cradle, say, is there
      Than this my heart, if that were fair?

    2 Thou hast divined! A nobler part
      In man or angel, or of earth, or skies,
      There is not, than a broken heart;
      The which thy God may ne’er despise.

                     THE HYMN

      Lord, in my heart a little child,
      Now that the snows beat far and wide,
      While ever wails the tempest wild,
                           Good Lord abide.

      Nor go Thou if the summer comes,
      Nor if the summer days depart;
      But chiefly make Thy home of homes,
                           Lord, in my heart.
                              HERBERT P. HORNE


     The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
     The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce could stand;
     The wind was a nor’wester, blowing squally oft the sea;
     And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

     They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day;
     But ’twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
     We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
     And we gave her the maintops’l, and stood by to go about.

     All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;
     All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
     All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
     For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

     We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared;
     But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard;
     So’s we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
     And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

     The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
     The good red fires were burning bright in every ’long-shore home;
     The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
     And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

     The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
     For it’s just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
     This day of our adversity was blessèd Christmas morn,
     And the house above the coastguard’s was the house where I was born.

     O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
     My mother’s silver spectacles, my father’s silver hair;
     And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
     Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves.

     And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
     Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
     And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
     To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessèd Christmas Day.

     They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
    ‘All hands to loose topgallant sails,’ I heard the captain call.
    ‘By the Lord, she’ll never stand it,’ our first mate, Jackson, cried.
    ... ‘It’s the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,’ he replied.

     She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
     And the ship smelt up to windward, just as though she understood.
     As the winter’s day was ending, in the entry of the night,
     We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

     And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
     As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
     But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
     Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.
                               R. L. STEVENSON


    Given, not lent,
    And not withdrawn—once sent,
    This Infant of mankind, this One,
    Is still the little welcome Son.

    New every year,
    New born and newly dear,
    He comes with tidings and a song,
    The ages long, the ages long;

    Even as the cold
    Keen winter grows not cold
    As childhood is so fresh, foreseen,
    And spring in the familiar green.

    Sudden as sweet
    Come the expected feet.
    All joy is young, and new all art,
    And He, too, whom we have by heart.
                              ALICE MEYNELL


_Pax hominibus bonae voluntatis_

    A frosty Christmas Eve when the stars were shining
    Fared I forth alone where westward falls the hill,
    And from many a village in the water’d valley
    Distant music reach’d me peals of bells aringing:
    The constellated sounds ran sprinkling on earth’s floor
    As the dark vault above with stars was spangled o’er.

    Then sped my thought to keep that first Christmas of all
    When the shepherds watching by their folds ere the dawn
    Heard music in the fields and marvelling could not tell
    Whether it were angels or the bright stars singing.

    Now blessed be the tow’rs that crown England so fair
    That stand up strong in prayer unto God for our souls:
    Blessed be their founders (said I) an’ our country folk
    Who are ringing for Christ in the belfries to-night
    With arms lifted to clutch the rattling ropes that race
    Into the dark above and the mad romping din.

    But to me heard afar it was starry music
    Angels’ song, comforting as the comfort of Christ
    When He spake tenderly to His sorrowful flock:
    The old words came to me by the riches of time
    Mellow’d and transfigured as I stood on the hill
    Heark’ning in the aspect of th’ eternal silence.
                              ROBERT BRIDGES

84. NOËL

     On a winter’s night long time ago
       (_The bells ring loud and the bells ring low_),
     When high howled wind, and down fell snow
       (Carillon, Carilla).

     Saint Joseph he and Nostre Dame,
     Riding on an ass, full weary came
     From Nazareth into Bethlehem.
       And the small child Jesus smile on you.

     And Bethlehem inn they stood before
       (_The bells ring less and the bells ring more_),
     The landlord bade them begone from his door
       (Carillon, Carilla).

    ‘Poor folk’ (says he), ‘must lie where they may,
     For the Duke of Jewry comes this way,
     With all his train on a Christmas Day.’
       And the small child Jesus smile on you.

     Poor folk that may my carol hear
       (_The bells ring single and the bells ring clear_),
     See! God’s one child had hardest cheer!
       (Carillon, Carilla.)

     Men grown hard on a Christmas morn;
     The dumb beast by and a babe forlorn.
     It was very, very cold when our Lord was born.
       And the small child Jesus smile on you.

     Now these were Jews as Jews must be
       (_The bells ring merry and the bells ring free_).
     But Christian men in a band are we
       (Carillon, Carilla).

     Empty we go, and ill-bedight,
     Singing Noël on a winter’s night.
     Give us to sup by the warm firelight,
       And the small child Jesus smile on you.
                               HILAIRE BELLOC


    The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
      His hair was like a light.
    (O weary, weary were the world,
      But here is all aright.)

    The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast,
      His hair was like a star.
    (O stern and cunning are the kings,
      But here the true hearts are.)

    The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
      His hair was like a fire.
    (O weary, weary is the world,
      But here the world’s desire.)

    The Christ-child stood at Mary’s knee,
      His hair was like a crown,
    And all the flowers looked up at him,
      And all the stars looked down.
                              G. K. CHESTERTON


    Where Mary keeps her court
    With the humble and the high,
    The little dog has sport
    For he is also by.

    The creatures of the earth
    They have great joy and mirth
    On the night of the Great Birth.

    The hedgehog and the hare
    Are of that Birth aware,
    Their timid footsteps go,
    Quick, furtive, over the snow,

    They come thro’ the cold
    The young Child to behold,
    In the stable bare.

    They have no fear there,
    No hurt and no annoy,
    But great bliss and joy
    With the Baby Boy,
    In that safe stable’s shade
    With none to make afraid,
    To kill or to destroy.

    The lamb in his white fleece
    Plays with the wolf in peace,
    The leopard lies down with the kid,
    The ox and the ass they bid
    The lion to share their straw;
    All creatures tame or wild
    Are there with the Little Child;
    The ox says ‘moo’ and the ass ‘hee-haw’.
                              R. L. GALES


    Oh! what great thing is done to-night,
    Or what good news has sped?
    What ails the blessèd Saints in heaven,
    They cannot rest in bed?
    But up and down so ceaselessly
    They go in joy and dread.

    The gate-house all is lighted up,
    Wherein Saint Peter dwells;
    Saint James looks out of his great house,
    All made of oyster shells;
    In his good hostel by the flood
    Saint Julian rings the bells.

    Saint Catherine wears her silver shoes
    And pearl-besprinkled gown;
    Saint Barbara from her high, high tower
    Upon the earth looks down;
    Saint Christopher bends wondering eyes
    On David’s distant town.

    The Angels’ chanting sounds afar
    An ancient waterfall;
    They do not listen to their strain,
    Nor answer to their call;
    Their thoughts are on the little earth,
    Not in the heavenly hall.

    For there they see a lovelier thing
    That is beyond the sky;
    They see the little Lord of Heaven
    Upon His hard bed lie;
    Their hearts are filled with wonder for
    The Change of the Most High.
                              R. L. GALES


    The Ox said to the Ass, said he, all on a Christmas night:
    ‘Do you hear the pipe of the shepherds a-whistling over the hill?
    That is the angels’ music they play for their delight,
    “Glory to God in the highest and peace upon earth, goodwill”....
    Nowell, nowell, my masters, God lieth low in stall,
    And the poor labouring Ox was here before you all.’

    The Ass said to the Ox, said he, all on a Christmas day:
    ‘Do you hear the golden bridles come clinking out of the east?
    Those are the three wise Mages that ride from far away
    To Bethlehem in Jewry to have their lore increased....
    Nowell, nowell, my masters, God lieth low in stall,
    And the poor, foolish Ass was here before you all.’
                              DOROTHY L. SAYERS


    Oh, brother Juniper, come out and play:
    Men should be gay on this Holy-Day.

    Lo, brother Sun laughing there in the sky,
    All so merrily, clear and high.

    Blithe and merry are men and beasts all
    In field and stall, in church and in hall.

    Oh, little brother, let the fat men sneer,
    We have good cheer this day o’ the year.

    Oh, brother Juniper, leave ’em their scorn:
    Christ is born to us this bright morn.
                              J. D. C. PELLOW


     Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
       ‘Now they are all on their knees,’
     An elder said as we sat in a flock
       By the embers in hearthside ease.

     We pictured the meek mild creatures where
       They dwelt in their strawy pen,
     Nor did it occur to one of us there
       To doubt they were kneeling then.

     So fair a fancy few would weave
       In these years! Yet, I feel,
     If some one said on Christmas Eve,
       ‘Come; see the oxen kneel

    ‘In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
       Our childhood used to know,’
     I should go with him in the gloom,
       Hoping it might be so.
                               THOMAS HARDY


    How far is it to Bethlehem?
      Not very far.
    Shall we find the stable-room
      Lit by a star?

    Can we see the little Child,
      Is he within?
    If we lift the wooden latch
      May we go in?

    May we stroke the creatures there,
      Ox, ass, or sheep?
    May we peep like them and see
      Jesus asleep?

    If we touch his tiny hand
      Will he awake?
    Will he know we’ve come so far
      Just for his sake?

    Great kings have precious gifts,
      And we have nought,
    Little smiles and little tears
      Are all we brought.

    For all weary children
      Mary must weep.
    Here, on his bed of straw
      Sleep, children, sleep.

    God in his mother’s arms,
      Babes in the byre,
    Sleep, as they sleep who find
      Their heart’s desire.
                              FRANCES CHESTERTON


    With a long train of camels following them,
      Laden with myrrh and frankincense and gold,
      Balthasar, Gaspar, Melchior the old,
    Draw near a stable door in Bethlehem,
    And, bending down, each king his diadem
      Lays at the feet of Him, whom they behold
      Wrapped round in swaddling clothes against the cold:
    The Babe that is a prince of Jesse’s stem.

    And the mild Mother sees with wondering eyes
      The strange, bright gems on their uplifted hands,
        Their jewelled swords, and raiment of rich fur.
    And, drawing near beneath the starlit skies,
      A train of camels bringing from strange lands
        Tribute of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
                              FRANCIS KEPPEL



     _Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell._
    ‘Who is there that singeth so _nowell, nowell, nowell_?’

    ‘I am here, Sir Christmas.’
    ‘Welcome, my lord Sir Christmas.
     Welcome to us both more and less,
                   Come near.’ _Nowell._

    ‘Dieu vous garde, beau sire. Tidings I you bring;
     A maid hath born a Child full ying[34]
     The which causeth for to sing

    ‘Christ is now born of a pure maid;
     In an ox-stall he is laid:
     Wherefore sing we all at a brayde[35]

    ‘Beuvez bien par tutte la company,
     Make good cheer and be right merry;
     And sing with us now right joyfully,

[34] Young.

[35] At once.


    _Man, be joyful and mirth thou make,_
    _For Christ is made man for thy sake._

    Man, be merry, I thee rede,
      But be ware what mirths thou make:
    Christ is clothèd in thy weed
      And He is made man for thy sake.

    He came from His Father’s seat,
      Into this world to be thy make;
    Man, be ware how thou Him treat,
      For He is made man for thy sake.

    Look thou mercy ever cry,
      Now and alway, rathe and late,
    And He will set thee wonder high,
      For He is made man for thy sake.


    _Make we merry, both more and less_
    _For now is the time of Christëmas!_

    Let no man come into this hall,
    Groom, page, nor yet marshall,
    But that some sport he bring withal!
      _For now is the time of Christëmas!_

    If that he say he cannot sing,
    Some other sport then let him bring,
    That it may please at this feasting.
      _For now is the time of Christëmas!_

    If he say he can nought do,
    Then for my love ask him no mo,
    But to the stocks then let him go!
      _For now is the time of Christëmas!_


     Holly and Ivy made a great party,
     Who should have the mastery
       In landës where they go.

     Then spake Holly, ‘I am free and jolly.
     I will have the mastery
       In landës where we go.’

     Then spake Ivy, ‘I am loud and proud,
     And I will have the mastery,
       In landës where we go.’

     Then spake Holly, and set him down on his knee,
    ‘I pray thee, gentle Ivy,
     Say me no villainy,
       In landës where we go.’


      _Alleluia, Alleluia,_
      _Alleluia, now sing we._

    Here comes holly, that is so gent,
    To please all men is his intent.

    But lord and lady of this hall,
    Who so ever against holly call,

    Who so ever against holly do cry,
    In a lepe[36] shall he hang full high.

    Who so ever against holly do sing,
    He may weep and handës wring.

[36] Basket.


      _Ivy chief of trees it is,_
      _Veni coronaberis._

    The most worthy she is in town;
      He that saith other, doth amiss:
    And worthy to bear the crown;
                _Veni coronaberis_.

    Ivy is soft and meek of speech,
      Against all bale she is bliss;
    Well is he that may her reach;
                _Veni coronaberis_.

    Ivy is green, with colour bright,
      Of all trees best she is;
    And that I prove well now by right.
                _Veni coronaberis._

    Ivy beareth berries black;
      God grant us all his bliss!
    For there shall we nothing lack.
                _Veni coronaberis._


    Nay, ivy, nay,
      It shall not be, i-wis;[37]
    Let holly have the mastery,
      As the manner is.

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

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

    Ivy hath a kybe,[38]
      She caught it with the cold;
    So mot they all have
      That with ivy hold.
                  Nay, ivy, nay, &c.

    Holly hath berries
      As red as any rose,
    The foster[39] {and} the hunter
      Keep them from the does.
                  Nay, ivy, nay, &c.

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

    Holly hath birdës,
      A full fair flock,
    The nightingale, the popinjay,
      The gentle laverock.
                  Nay, ivy, nay, &c.

    Good ivy,
      What birdës hast thou?
    None but the howlet
      That cries ‘how, how.’

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

[37] Certainly.

[38] Chilblain.

[39] Forester.


     _Hey, hey, hey, hey,_
     _The boarës head is armed gay._

    The boarës head in hand I bring
    With garland gay in portering,
    I pray you all with me to sing,
              _With hey, &c._

    Lordës, knightës, and squïers,
    Parsons, priestës, and vicars,
    The boarës head is the first mess,
              _With hey, &c._

    The boarës head, as I you say,
    He takes his leave and goeth his way
    Anon after the twelfth day,
              _With hey, &c._


      _Caput apri defero,_
      _Reddens laudes Domino._

    The boar’s head in hand bring I,
    With garlands gay and rosemary;
    I pray you all sing merrily,
                  _Qui estis in convivio._

    The boar’s head, I understand,
    Is the chief service in this land;
    Look, wherever it be fand,
                  _Servite cum cantico._

    Be glad, lords, both more and less,
      For this hath ordained our steward,
    To cheer you all this Christmas,
      The boar’s head with mustard.


      _Nowel, nowel, nowel, nowel,_
      _Tidings good I think to tell._

    The boarës head that we bring here
    Betokeneth a prince withouten peer
    Is born this day to buy us dear.

    A boar is a sovereign beast
    And acceptable in every feast:
    So mote this Lord be to most and least.

    This boarës head we bring with song
    In worship of Him that thus sprung
    Of a virgin, to redress all wrong.


    Proface,[40] welcome, welcome, proface,
    This time is born a child of grace,
    That for us mankind hath take.

    A king’s son and an emperor
    Is comen out of a maiden’s tower,
    With us to dwell with great honour.

    This holy time of Christës-mass,
    All sorrow and sin we should release,
    And cast away all heaviness.

    The good lord of this place entere
    Saith welcome to all that now appear
    Unto such fare as ye find here.

    Welcome be this New Year,
    And look ye all be of good cheer;
    Our Lord God be at our dinnere.

[40] i. e. _proficiat_, may it do you good.


    So now is come our joyful’st feast,
      Let every man be jolly;
    Each room with ivy leaves is drest,
      And every post with holly.
    Though some churls at our mirth repine,
    Round your foreheads garlands twine;
    Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
      And let us all be merry.

    Now all our neighbours’ chimneys smoke,
      And Christmas logs are burning;
    Their ovens they with baked meats choke,
      And all their spits are turning.
    Without the door let sorrow lie;
    And, if for cold it hap to die,
    We’ll bury’t in a Christmas pie,
      And evermore be merry.

    Now every lad is wondrous trim,
      And no man minds his labour;
    Our lasses have provided them
      A bagpipe and a tabour;
    Young men and maids, and girls and boys,
    Give life to one another’s joys;
    And you anon shall by their noise
      Perceive that they are merry.

    Rank misers now do sparing shun;
      Their hall of music soundeth;
    And dogs thence with whole shoulders run,
      So all things there aboundeth.
    The country folks themselves advance,
    For crowdy-mutton’s[41] come out of France;
    And Jack shall pipe, and Jill shall dance,
      And all the town be merry.

    Ned Squash hath fetched his bands from pawn,
      And all his best apparel;
    Brisk Ned hath bought a ruff of lawn,
      With droppings of the barrel.
    And those that hardly all the year
    Had bread to eat or rags to wear,
    Will have both clothes and dainty fare,
      And all the day be merry.

    Now poor men to the justices
      With capons make their arrants,
    And if they hap to fail of these,
      They plague them with their warrants.
    But now they feed them with good cheer,
    And what they want they take in beer;
    For Christmas comes but once a year,
      And then they shall be merry.

    Good farmers in the country nurse
      The poor that else were undone;
    Sour landlords spend their money worse
      On lust and pride at London.
    There the roysters they do play,
    Drab and dice their lands away,
    Which may be ours another day;
      And therefore let’s be merry.

    The client now his suit forbears,
      The prisoner’s heart is eased;
    The debtor drinks away his cares,
      And for the time is pleased.
    Though other purses be more fat,
    Why should we pine or grieve at that?
    Hang sorrow! care will kill a cat,
      And therefore let’s be merry.

    Hark, how the wags abroad do call
      Each other forth to rambling:
    And you’ll see them in the hall
      For nuts and apples scrambling.
    Hark, how the roofs with laughter sound!
    And they’ll think the house goes round:
    For they the cellar’s depth have found,
      And there they will be merry.

    The wenches with their wassail bowls
      About the streets are singing;
    The boys are come to catch the owls,
      The wildmare[42] in is bringing.
    Our kitchen-boy hath broke his box,
    And to the dealing of the ox
    Our honest neighbours come by flocks,
      And here they will be merry.

    Now kings and queens poor sheep-cotes have
      And mate with everybody:
    The honest now may play the knave,
      And wise men play at noddy.[43]
    Some youths will now a-mumming go,
    Some others play at Rowland-ho,
    And twenty other gameboys mo,
      Because they will be merry.

    Then wherefore in these merry days
      Should we, I pray, be duller?
    Ho, let us sing some roundelays,
      To make our mirth the fuller.
    And whilst thus inspired we sing,
    Let all the streets with echoes ring,
    Woods and hills and everything
      Bear witness we are merry.
                              GEORGE WITHER

[41] Fiddlers.

[42]? A see-saw.

[43] Cribbage.


      Come, bring with a noise,
      My merry, merry boys,
    The Christmas log to the firing;
      While my good dame she
      Bids ye all be free,
    And drink to your hearts’ desiring.

      With the last year’s brand
      Light the new block, and
    For good success in his spending,
      On your psaltries play,
      That sweet luck may
    Come while the log is a-teending.[44]

      Drink now the strong beer,
      Cut the white loaf here;
    The while the meat is a-shredding;
      For the rare mince-pie,
      And the plums stand by
    To fill the paste that’s a-kneading.

    Come, guard this night the Christmas pie,
    That the thief, though ne’er so sly,
    With his flesh-hooks don’t come nigh
                              To catch it.

    From him, who all alone sits there,
    Having his eyes still in his ear
    And a deal of nightly fear,
                              To watch it.

    Wash your hands, or else the fire
    Will not teend to your desire;
    Unwash’d hands, ye maidens, know,
    Dead the fire though ye blow.

    Wassail the trees, that they may bear
    You many a plum and many a pear;
    For more or less fruits they will bring,
    As you do give them wassailing.
                              ROBERT HERRICK

[44] Kindling.


    Give way, give way, ye gates, and win
    An easy blessing to your bin
    And basket, by our entering in.

    May both with manchet[45] stand replete;
    Your larders too so hung with meat,
    That though a thousand, thousand eat,

    Yet, ere twelve moons shall whirl about
    Their silv’ry spheres, there’s none may doubt
    But more’s sent in than was serv’d out.

    Next may your dairies prosper so
    As that your pans no ebb may know;
    But if they do, the more to flow;

    Like to a solemn sober stream
    Bank’d all with lilies, and the cream
    Of sweetest cowslips filling them.

    Then, may your plants be prest with fruit,
    Nor bee or hive you have be mute;
    But sweetly sounding like a lute.

    Next may your duck and teeming hen
    Both to the cock’s tread say Amen;
    And for their two eggs render ten.

    Last may your harrows, shears, and ploughs,
    Your stacks, your stocks, your sweetest mows,
    All prosper by your virgin vows.
                              ROBERT HERRICK

[45] White bread.


      Now, now the mirth comes
      With the cake full of plums,
    Where bean’s the king of the sport here;
      Besides we must know,
      The pea also
    Must revel as queen in the court here.

      Begin then to choose
      This night as ye use,
    Who shall for the present delight here;
      Be a king by the lot,
      And who shall not
    Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here.

      Which known, let us make
      Joy-sops with the cake;
    And let not a man then be seen here,
      Who unurg’d will not drink,
      To the base from the brink,
    A health to the king and the queen here.

      Next crown the bowl full
      With gentle lamb’s wool:
    Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
      With store of ale too:
      And thus ye must do
    To make the wassail a swinger.

      Give then to the king
      And queen wassailing:
    And though with ale ye be whet here,
      Yet part ye from hence
      As free from offence
    As when ye innocent met here.
                              ROBERT HERRICK


    No news of navies burnt at seas;
    No noise of late-spawn’d tittyries;[46]
    No closet plot, or open vent
    That frights men with a parliament:
    No new device or late-found trick
    To read by th’ stars the kingdom’s sick;
    No gin to catch the state, or wring
    The free-born nostrils of the king,
    We send to you: but here a jolly
    Verse crown’d with ivy and with holly,
    That tells of winter’s tales and mirth,
    That milkmaids make about the hearth,
    Or Christmas sports, the wassail bowl,
    That tost up, after fox-i-th’-hole;
    Of blind-man-buff, and of the care
    That young men have to shoe the mare;
    Of twelve-tide cakes, of peas and beans,
    Wherewith you make those merry scenes,
    Whenas ye choose your king and queen
    And cry out: ‘Hey, for our town green’;
    Of ash-heaps in the which ye use
    Husbands and wives by streaks to choose;
    Of crackling laurel which foresounds
    A plenteous harvest to your grounds:
    Of these and such-like things for shift,
    We send instead of New Year’s gift.
    Read then, and when your faces shine
    With buxom meat and cap’ring wine,
    Remember us in cups full crown’d,
    And let our city-health go round,
    Quite through the young maids and the men,
    To the ninth number, if not ten;
    Until the fired chestnuts leap
    For joy to see the fruits ye reap
    From the plump chalice and the cup
    That tempts till it be tossed up;
    Then as ye sit about your embers,
    Call not to mind those fled Decembers,
    But think on these that are t’ appear
    As daughters to the instant year:
    Sit crown’d with rosebuds, and carouse
    Till Liber Pater twirls the house
    About your ears; and lay upon
    The year your cares that’s fled and gone.
    And let the russet swains the plough
    And harrow hang up resting now;
    And to the bagpipe all address,
    Till sleep takes place of weariness.
    And thus, throughout, with Christmas plays
    Frolic the full twelve holidays.
                              ROBERT HERRICK

[46] An early club of Mohocks.

109. SONG

    Now winter nights enlarge
      The number of their hours;
    And clouds their storms discharge
      Upon the airy towers.
    Let now the chimneys blaze
      And cups o’erflow with wine,
    Let well-tuned words amaze
      With harmony divine.
    Now yellow waxen lights
      Shall wait on honey love,
    While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights,
      Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

    This time doth well dispense
      With lovers’ long discourse,
    Much speech hath some defence,
      Though beauty no remorse.
    All do not all things well;
      Some measures comely tread,
    Some knotted riddles tell,
      Some poems smoothly read.
    The summer hath his joys,
      And winter his delights;
    Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
      They shorten tedious nights.
                              THOMAS CAMPION

110. SONG

    To shorten winter’s sadness,
    See where the nymphs with gladness
    Disguisèd all are coming
    Right wantonly a-mumming.
                            Fa la.

    Whilst youthful sports are lasting
    To feasting turn our fasting;
    With revels and with wassails
    Make grief and care our vassals.
                            Fa la.

    For youth it well beseemeth
    That pleasure he esteemeth;
    And sullen age is hated
    That mirth would have abated.
                            Fa la.


    The damsel donn’d her kirtle sheen;
    The hall was dress’d with holly green;
    Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
    To gather in the mistletoe.
    Then open’d wide the baron’s hall
    To vassal, tenant, serf and all;
    Power laid his rod of rule aside,
    And ceremony doff’d his pride.
    The heir with roses in his shoes
    That night might village partner choose;
    The lord underogating share
    The vulgar game of post-and-pair.
    All hail’d with uncontroll’d delight
    And general voice the happy night
    That to the cottage as the crown
    Brought tidings of salvation down.

    The fire with well-dried logs supplied
    Went roaring up the chimney wide;
    The huge hall-table’s oaken face,
    Scrubb’d till it shone, the day to grace,
    Bore then upon its massive board
    No mark to part the squire and lord.
    Then was brought in the lusty brawn
    By old blue-coated serving-man;
    Then the grim boar’s head frown’d on high,
    Crested with bay and rosemary.
    Well can the green-garb’d ranger tell
    How, when, and where the monster fell,
    What dogs before his death he tore,
    And all the baiting of the boar.
    The wassail round, in good brown bowls,
    Garnish’d with ribbons, blithely trowls.
    There the huge sirloin reek’d; hard by
    Plum-porridge stood and Christmas pie;
    Nor fail’d old Scotland to produce
    At such high-tide her savoury goose.
    Then came the merry masquers in
    And carols roar’d with blithesome din;
    If unmelodious was the song
    It was a hearty note and strong.
    Who lists may in their mumming see
    Traces of ancient mystery;
    White shirts supplied the masquerade,
    And smutted cheeks the visors made:
    But oh! what masquers richly dight
    Can boast of bosoms half so light!
    England was merry England when
    Old Christmas brought his sports again.
    ’Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale,
    ’Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
    A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
    The poor man’s heart through half the year.
                              SIR WALTER SCOTT


      Winter was not unkind because uncouth;
    His prison’d time made me a closer guest,
    And gave thy graciousness a warmer zest,
    Biting all else with keen and angry tooth:
    And bravelier the triumphant blood of youth
    Mantling thy cheek its happy home possest,
    And sterner sport by day put strength to test,
    And custom’s feast at night gave tongue to truth.

      Or say hath flaunting summer a device
    To match our midnight revelry, that rang
    With steel and flame along the snow-girt ice?
    Or when we hark’t to nightingales that sang
    On dewy eves in spring, did they entice
    To gentler love than winter’s icy fang?
                              ROBERT BRIDGES


    Between the moonlight and the fire
    In winter twilights long ago,
    What ghosts we raised for your desire,
    To make your merry blood run slow!
    How old, how grave, how wise we grow!
    No Christmas ghost can make us chill,
    Save those that troop in mournful row,
    The ghosts we all can raise at will!

    The beasts can talk in barn and byre
    On Christmas Eve, old legends know.
    As year by year the years retire,
    We men fall silent then I trow,
    Such sights hath memory to show,
    Such voices from the silence thrill,
    Such shapes return with Christmas snow,—
    The ghosts we all can raise at will.

    Oh, children of the village choir,
    Your carols on the midnight throw!
    Oh, bright across the mist and mire,
    Ye ruddy hearths of Christmas glow!
    Beat back the dread, beat down the woe,
    Let’s cheerily descend the hill;
    Be welcome all, to come or go,
    The ghosts we all can raise at will!

    Friend, sursum corda, soon or slow
    We part, like guests who’ve joyed their fill;
    Forget them not, nor mourn them so,
    The ghosts we all can raise at will,
                              ANDREW LANG


_Basil. Sandy. Brian. Menzies._

        In holly hedges starving birds
          Silently mourn the setting year.

        Upright like silver-plated swords
          The flags stand in the frozen mere.

        The mistletoe we still adore
          Upon the twisted hawthorn grows.

        In antique gardens hellebore
          Puts forth its blushing Christmas rose.

        Shrivelled and purple, cheek by jowl,
          The hips and haws hang drearily.

        Rolled in a ball the sulky owl
          Creeps far into his hollow tree.

        In abbeys and cathedrals dim
          The birth of Christ is acted o’er;
        The kings of Cologne worship Him,
          Balthazar, Jasper, Melchior.

        And while our midnight talk is made
          Of this and that and now and then,
        The old earth-stopper with his spade
          And lantern seeks the fox’s den.

        Oh, for a northern blast to blow
          These depths of air that cream and curdle!

        Now are the halcyon days, you know;
          Old Time has leapt another hurdle:
        And pauses as he only may
          Who knows he never can be caught.

        The winter solstice, shortest day
          And longest night, was past, I thought.

        Oh yes! but fore-and-aft a week
          Silent the winds must ever be,
        Because the happy halcyons seek
          Their nests upon the sea.

        The Christmas-time! the lovely things
          That last of it! Sweet thoughts and deeds!

        How strong and green old Legend clings
          Like ivy round the ruined creeds!

        A fearless, ruthless, wanton band,
          Deep in our hearts we guard from scathe,
        Of last year’s log a smouldering brand
          To light at Yule the fire of faith.

        The shepherds in the field at night
          Beheld an angel glory-clad,
        And shrank away with sore affright.
          ‘Be not afraid,’ the angel bade.

       ‘I bring good news to king and clown,
          To you here crouching on the sward;
        For there is born in David’s town
          A Saviour which is Christ the Lord.
       ‘Behold the Babe is swathed, and laid
          Within a manger.’ Straight there stood
        Beside the angel all arrayed
          A heavenly multitude.

       ‘Glory to God,’ they sang; ‘and peace,
          Good pleasure among men.’

        The wondrous message of release!

          Glory to God again!

        Again! God help us to be good!

        Hush! hark! without; the waits, the waits!
          With brass, and strings, and mellow wood.

        A simple tune can ope heaven’s gates!

        Slowly they play, poor careful souls,
          With wistful thoughts of Christmas cheer,
        Unwitting how their music rolls
          Away the burden of the year.

        And with the charm, the homely rune,
          Our thoughts like childhood’s thoughts are given,
        When all our pulses beat in tune
          With all the stars of heaven.

        Oh cease! Oh cease!

                            Ay; cease, and bring
        The wassail bowl, the cup of grace.

        Pour wine, and heat it till it sing,
          With cloves, and cardamums and mace.

           *       *       *       *       *

        Hush! hark! the waits far up the street!

        A distant, ghostly charm unfolds,
      Of magic music wild and sweet,
        Anomes and clarigolds.
                              JOHN DAVIDSON


    _Now have good day, now have good day!_
    _I am Christmas, and now I go my way!_

    Here have I dwelt with more and less
    From Hallow-tide till Candlemas!
    And now must I from you hence pass,
        _Now have good day!_

    I take my leave of King and Knight,
    And Earl, Baron, and Lady bright;
    To wilderness I must me dight.
        _Now have good day!_

    And at the good Lord of this hall
    I take my leave, and of guestës all.
    Methinks I hear Lent doth call.
        _Now have good day!_

    And at every worthy officer,
    Marshall, panter, and butler,
    I take my leave as for this year.
        _Now have good day!_

    Another year I trust I shall
    Maken merry in this hall!
    If rest and peace in England may fall!
        _Now have good day!_

    But oftentimes I have heard say
    That he is loth to part away,
    That often biddeth ‘have good day’!
        _Now have good day!_

    Now fare ye well, all in fere![47]
    Now fare ye well for all this year!
    Yet for my sake make ye good cheer!
        _Now have good day!_

[47] Company.



    Puer natus in Bethlehem,
    Unde gaudet Jerusalem.

    Hic jacet in praesepio,
    Qui regnat sine termino.

    Cognovit bos et asinus
    Quod puer erat Dominus.

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

    Intrantes domum invicem
    Novum salutant principem.

    De matre natus virgine
    Sine virili semine;

    Sine serpentis vulnere
    De nostro venit sanguine;

    In carne 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 novae legis.

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

    O te laudum millibus
    Laudo, laudo, laudo;
    Tantis mirabilibus
    Plaudo, plaudo, plaudo:
    Gloria, sit gloria,
    Amanti memoria
    Domino in altis:
    Cui testimonia
    Dantur et praeconia
    Coelicis 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 puellae 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 infanti
        Corda praebeamus:
    Venite, adoremus Dominum.

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

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

        Cantet nunc hymnos.
        Chorus angelorum,
    Cantet nunc aula caelestium:—
        In excelsis Deo:
    Venite, adoremus Dominum.

        Ergo qui natus
        Die hodierna,
    Jesu, tibi sit gloria
        Patris aeterni
        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,
    Quaeque post futura sunt
        Saeculorum saeculis.

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

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

    Psallat altitudo caeli,
    Psallant omnes angeli,
    Quicquid est virtutis usquam
    Psallat in laudem Dei;
    Nulla linguarum silescat,
    Vox et omnis personet
        Saeculorum saeculis.

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

    Tibi, Christe, sit cum Patre
    Agioque Spiritu,
    Hymnus, melos, laus perennis,
    Gratiarum actio,
    Honor, virtus, et victoria,
    Regnum, aeternaliter
        Saeculorum saeculis.


    Ave Jesu, Deus magne
    Ave Puer, mitis agne,
    Ave Deus, homo nate
    In praesepi reclinate!
    O potestas, O egestas.
    O majestas Domini!
    O majestas, quidnon praestas homini?

    Ut me pauperem ditares,
    Ut me perditum salvares,
    Jaces pannis involutus,
    Omni ope destitutus.
              O potestas, &c.

    Inter bruta quam abjectus
    Vagis, patris O dilectus!
    Judex summe, verus Deus,
    Propter me fis homo reus!
              O potestas, &c.

    O mi Jesu, cor devotum
    Post te trahe, sume totum,
    Igne tuo sancto ure,
    Ah ah penitus combure.
              O potestas, &c.

    Procul vanas hinc amores
    Procul malos arce mores,
    Tuis meos aptos finge,
    Aeterno me nexu stringe
              O potestas, &c.


      _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, O Maria clemens,
    Concipies et paries, virgo semper manens.

    Virgo clam tremescit, nam mira valde audit,
    Eam cui est ille missus confortavit.
    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 lavit;
    Miserere plebi tuae, Jhesu fili Davit.

    Virgo pin, O 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.

    O Pater qui genuisti Hunc ab initio,
    Et dedisti gentes Isti, pregaudens sacrificio,
    Hic cum venit quos redemit sanguinis precio
    Judicare, fac vitare nos a supplicio.


    Beaumont, Sir John, 31.
    Beaumont, Joseph, 46, 47.
    Belloc, Hilaire, 84.
    Bolton, Edmund, 30.
    Bridges, Robert, 83, 112.
    Byrom, John, 59.

    Campion, Thomas, 109.
    Chesterton, Frances, 91.
    Chesterton, G. K., 85.
    Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 62-4.
    Crashaw, Richard, 41-3.

    Davidson, John, 114.
    Doddridge, Philip, 60.
    Domett, Alfred, 68.
    Donne, John, 27.
    Drummond, William, 32, 33.
    Dunbar, William, 22.

    Fletcher, Giles, 35, 36.

    Gales, R. L., 86, 87.

    Hall, Joseph, 28.
    Hardy, Thomas, 90.
    Hawker, R. S., 75, 76.
    Heber, Reginald, 65.
    Herbert, George, 39.
    Herrick, Robert, 37, 38, 105-8.
    Hopkins, Gerard, 78.
    Horne, Herbert P., 80.

    Image, Selwyn, 79.

    J., M., 48.
    Jonson, Ben, 29.

    Keppel, Francis, 92.
    Kingsley, Charles, 70.

    Lang, Andrew, 113.

    Mauburn, John, 117.
    Meynell, Alice, 82.
    Milton, John, 40.
    Morris, William, 72-4.

    Neale, J. M., 69.

    Patmore, Coventry, 77.
    Pellow, J. D. C., 89.
    Prudentius, 119.

    Rossetti, Christina, 71.

    Sayers, Dorothy L., 88.
    Scott, Sir Walter, 111.
    Sherburne, Sir Edward, 51.
    Southwell, Robert, 23-6.
    Stevenson, R. L., 81.

    Tate, Nahum, 56.
    Taylor, Jeremy, 44, 45.
    Tennyson, Alfred, 67.

    Unknown, 1-21, 52-5, 93-103, 110,
             115, 116, 118, 120, 121.

    Vaughan, Henry, 49, 50.
    Vere, Aubrey de, 66.

    Watts, Isaac, 57, 58.
    Wesley, Charles, 61.
    Wither, George, 34, 104.


    Adeste fideles,                                           118
    A frosty Christmas Eve,                                    83
    All after pleasures as I rid one day,                      39
    Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, now sing we,                 97
    All this time this song is best,                           13
    And art Thou come, blest Babe, and come to me?             55
    A shape, like folded light, embodied air,                  75
    As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,  23
    As Joseph was a-walking,                                    3
    As on the night before this happy morn,                    35
    Ave Jesu, Deus magne,                                     120
    Ave maris stella,                                          16
    Awake, glad heart, get up and sing!                        50
    Awake, my soul, and come away,                             45

    Behold a silly tender Babe,                                24
    Between the moonlight and the fire,                       113
    Be we merry in this feast,                                 11
    Bright Babe! whose awful beauties make,                    43
    Brightest and best of the sons of the morning!             65
    But art Thou come, dear Saviour? hath Thy love,            52

    Can I not sing but Hoy!                                     9
    Caput apri defero,                                        101
    Christians, awake, salute the happy morn,                  59
    Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock,                    90
    Christ was born on Christmas day,                          69
    Come, bring with a noise,                                 105
    Come, guard this night the Christmas pie,                 105
    Come to your heaven, you heavenly quires!                  25
    Come we shepherds whose blest sight,                       41
    Consider, O my soul, what morn is this!                    79
    Corde natus ex Parentis,                                  119

    Dormi, Jesu! mater ridet,                                  64

    Eya, Jesus hodie,                                          15

    Fair eastern star, that art ordained to run,               31

    Given, not lent,                                           82
    Give way, give way, ye gates, and win,                    106
    God rest you merry, gentlemen,                             19

    Happy crib, that wert alone,                               51
    Hark! how all the welkin rings,                            61
    Hark, the glad sound! the Saviour comes,                   60
    Heaven’s golden-wingèd herald late he saw,                 42
    Herdmen hend, Dread ye no thing,                            8
    Heu quid jaces stabulo,                                   117
    Hey, hey, hey, hey,                                       100
    Holly and Ivy made a great party,                          96
    How far is it to Bethlehem?                                91
    Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber,                      58

    Immensity, cloistered in thy dear womb,                    27
    Immortal Babe, who this dear day,                          28
    In holly hedges starving birds,                           114
    In numbers, and but these few,                             38
    In the bleak mid-winter,                                   71
    I saw three ships come sailing in,                         21
    I sing of a maiden,                                         2
    I sing the birth was born to-night,                        29
    It chanced upon the merry merry Christmas eve,             70
    It is the longest night in all the year,                   74
    It was the calm and silent night,                          68
    Ivy chief of trees it is,                                  98

    Let folly praise that fancy loves,                         26
    Like as the fountain of all light created,                 47
    Lodged in an inn,                                          53
    Lullay, my liking, my dear son, my sweeting,                6

    Make we merry both more and less,                          95
    Man, be joyful and mirth thou make,                        94
    Man, be merry as bird on berry,                            12
    Mater, ora filium,                                         14

    Nay, ivy, nay,                                             99
    Noël, Noël, Noël, Noël,                                    17
    No news of navies burnt at seas,                          108
    Nowel, nowel, nowel, nowel, Tidings good,                 102
    Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell, Missus est,               121
    Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Who is there,              93
    Now have good day, now have good day!                     115
    Now is Christëmas ycome,                                    4
    Now, now the mirth comes,                                 107
    Now winter nights enlarge,                                109

    Of a rose, a lovely rose,                                  18
    Oh, brother Juniper, come out and play,                    89
    Oh! what great thing is done to-night,                     87
    On a winter’s night long time ago,                         84
    O than the fairest day, thrice fairer night!               33
    Outlanders, whence come ye last?                           73

    Proface, welcome, welcome, proface,                       103
    Puer natus in Bethlehem,                                  116

    Remember, O thou man,                                      20
    Rorate Coeli desuper!                                      22
    Run, shepherds, run, where Bethlehem blest appears,        32

    Saint Stephen was a clerk,                                  7
    Say, did his Sisters wonder what could Joseph see,         77
    She gave with joy her virgin breast,                       63
    Shepherds, rejoice, lift up your eyes,                     57
    So now is come our joyful’st feast,                       104
    Sweet baby, sleep! What ails my dear?                      34
    Sweet, harmless live{r}s! on whose holy leisure,           49
    Sweet music, sweeter far,                                  30

    The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,                        85
    The damsel donn’d her kirtle sheen,                       111
    The Ox said to the Ass, said he, all on a Christmas night, 88
    The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand,  81
    The shepherds went their hasty way,                        62
    The time draws near the birth of Christ,                   67
    They leave the land of gems and gold,                      66
    This endris night,                                          5
    This is the month, and this the happy morn,                40
    To Bethlem did they go, the shepherds three,               72
    To shorten winter’s sadness,                              110

    Waes-hael for knight and dame!                             76
    Wake, what unusual light doth greet,                       80
    Wash your hands, or else the fire,                        105
    Wassail the trees, that they may bear,                    105
    Welcome Yule, thou merry man,                               1
    What sweeter music can we bring,                           37
    When Christ was born of Mary free,                         10
    Where is this blessed Babe,                                44
    Where Mary keeps her court,                                86
    While shepherds watch’d their flocks by night,             56
    Who can forget—never to be forgot,                        36
    Why does the frowning winter smile,                        48
    Wild air, world-mothering air,                             78
    Winter was not unkind because uncouth,                    112
    With a long train of camels following them,                92
    Wonder’s birthday,                                         46

    Yet if his majesty our sovereign Lord,                     54

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Book of Christmas Verse" ***

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