The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Carol Of The Fir Tree

Alfred Noyes (1880 - 1958)

1. Quoth the Fir-tree, 'Orange and vine'
Sing Nowell, Nowell, Nowell!
'Have their honour: I have mine!'
In Excelsis Gloria!
'I am kin to the great king's house,'
Ring Nowell, Nowell, Nowell!
'And Lebanon whispers in my boughs.'
In Excelsis Gloria!

2. Apple and cherry, pear and plum,
Winds of Autumn, sigh Nowell!
All the trees like mages come
Bending low with 'Gloria!'
Holding out on every hand
Summer pilgrims to Nowell!
Gorgeous gifts from Elfin-land.
And the May saith 'Gloria!'

3. Out of the darkness—who shall say
Gold and myrrh for this Nowell:
How they win their wizard way?
Out of the East with 'Gloria'!
Men that eat of the sun and dew
Angels laugh and sing, 'Nowell.'
Call it 'fruit,' and say it 'grew'!
Into the West with 'Gloria'!

4. 'Leaves that fall,' whispered the fir
Through the forest sing Nowell!
'I am winter's minister,'
In Excelsis Gloria!
Summer friends may come and go,
Up the mountain sing 'Nowell.'
Love abides thro' storm and snow,
Down the valley, 'Gloria'!

5. 'Lay the axe at my young stem now!'
Woodman, woodman, sing 'Nowell.'
'Set a star on every bough!'
In Excelsis Gloria!
'Hall and cot shall see me stand,'
Rich and poor man, sing 'Nowell'!
'Giver of gifts from Elfin-land.'
Oberon, answer 'Gloria.'

6. 'On my boughs, on mine, on mine,'
Father and mother, sing 'Nowell'!
'All the fruits of the earth shall twine.'
Bending low with 'Gloria.'
'Sword of wood and doll of wax'
Little children, sing 'Nowell'!
'Swing on the stem was cleft with the axe!'
Craftsmen all, a 'Gloria.'

7. 'Hear! I have looked on the other side,'
Out of the East, O sing 'Nowell'!
'Because to live this night I died!'
Into the West with 'Gloria.'
'Hear! In this lighted room I have found'
Ye that seek, O sing 'Nowell'!
'The spell that worketh underground.'
Ye that doubt a 'Gloria.'

8. 'I have found it, even I,'
Ye that are lowly, sing 'Nowell'!
'The secret of this alchemy!'
Ye that are poor, a 'Gloria.'
'Look, your tinsel turneth to gold,'
Sing Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
'Your dust to a hand for love to hold!'
In Excelsis Gloria.

9. 'Hung by the hilt on your Christmas-tree'
Little children, sing 'Nowell'!
'Your wooden sword is a cross for me.'
Emperors, a 'Gloria.'
'I have found that fabulous stone'
Ocean-worthies, cry 'Nowell'!
'Which turneth all things into one.'
Wise men all, a 'Gloria.'

10. 'It is not ruby nor anything'
Jeweller, jeweller, sing 'Nowell'!
'Fit for the crown of an earthly king:'
In Excelsis Gloria!
'It is not here! It is not there!'
Traveller, rest and cry 'Nowell'!
'It is one thing and everywhere!'
Heaven and Earth sing 'Gloria.'

11. 'It is the earth, the moon, the sun,'
Mote in the sunbeam, sing 'Nowell'!
'And all the stars that march as one,'
In Excelsis Gloria!
'Here, by the touch of it, I can see'
Sing, O Life, a sweet Nowell!
'The world's King die on a Christmas-tree.'
Answer, Death, with 'Gloria.'

12. 'Here, not set in a realm apart,'
East and West are one 'Nowell'!
'Holy Land is in your heart!'
North and South one 'Gloria'!
'Death is a birth, birth is a death,'
Love is all, O sing Nowell!
'And London one with Nazareth.'
And all the World a 'Gloria.'

13. 'And angels over your heart's roof sing'
Birds of God, O pour Nowell!
'That a poor man's son is the Son of a King!'
Out of your heart this 'Gloria'!
'Round the world you'll not away'
In your own soul, they sing Nowell!
'From Holy Land this Christmas Day!'
In your own soul, this 'Gloria.'

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