The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christ's Nativity1

From Silex Scintillans (1650-1655)

 

Words: Henry Vaughan, 1622-1695

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 215-6.

1. Awake, glad heart! get up and sing!
It is the birthday of thy King.
    Awake! Awake!
Light from his locks, and all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

2. 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.

3.  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.

4. 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 can'st make me clean.

5. Sweet Jesu! and 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 on earth.

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), pp. 109-10.

This is part one of a longer poem, in two parts. See: Christ's Nativity.

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