The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

All After Pleasures As I Rid One Day

For Christmas

Words: George Herbert

Source: George Herbert, The Poetical Works of George Herbert. (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857), pp. 101-102.


ALL after pleasures as I rid one day,

    My horse and I, both tiríd, bodie and minde,

    With full crie of affections, quite astray ;

I took up in the next inne I could finde.


There when I came, whom found I but my deare,

    My dearest Lord, expecting till the grief

    Of pleasures brought me to him, readie 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 mayst have

    A better lodging, than a rack, or grave.


THE shepherds sing ; and shall I silent be?

    My God, no hymne for thee?

My soul ís a shepherd too : a flock it feeds

    Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.

The pasture is thy word ; the streams, thy grace

    Enriching all the place.

Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers

    Out-sing the day-light houres.

Then we will chide the sunne 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 finde a sunne

    Shall stay, till we have done ;

A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,

    As frost-nipt sunnes 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 evín his beams sing, and my musick shine.


An excerpt from this poem has been published as a separate carol,  The Shepherds Sing, and Shall I Silent Be?

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