Carol IV. The Virgin and Child
How Blest With More Than Woman's Bliss
Source: Christmas Carols, or Sacred Songs, Suited to the Festival of our Lord's Nativity (London: John William Parker, 1833), pp. 30-33.
THE VIRGIN AND CHILD.
" Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."ŚMatt. i. 22, 23.
How blest with more than woman's bliss was she the espoused maid,
And Virgin Mother, when she saw upon her bosom laid
Her new-born babe, and gaz'd on him with meek adoring eye,
His Sire the Holy Spirit's might, the pow'r of God Most High.
Methinks I see thee, Mary, look on him with fixed gaze,
And ponder in thy secret heart the Almighty Father's ways;
As to thy thoughts in contrast strong the past and present rise,
The glory whence thy infant came, the stable where he lies.
Strange scene, whereon the angel hosts with ecstasy may look,
That He the Son of God should thus an earthly mother brook:
That He his Father's throne should leave of Majesty on high,
And on a humble mother's lap a feeble infant lie:
That whom the heav'n and heav'n of heav'ns of late could not contain,
A homely manger now should hold, and swaddling bands restrain;
And lowing kine and bleating sheep salute his infant ear,
Which wont the gratulating songs of angel harps to hear!
O sign, defying human thought, and scorning human aid,
That God should thus send forth his Son, of thee, a woman, made!
Yet, ages since, his seer foretold that Son with us should dwell,
The offspring of a virgin pure, the blest Emmanuel!
And thou hast heard the angel's tongue the wondrous sign renew,
And bow'd thee to the will supreme, and known the promise true;
What time he brought, with words of peace, the mandate from the sky,
And hail'd thee mother of thy Lord, his Sire the Pow'r on high.
Fit birth for him, who, when with God and man in favour grown,
His Father's glory shall display, his Father's and his own;
When at his will the crystal stream to generous wine shall turn,
And from his lips the astonish'd poor God's glorious gospel learn ;
When the blind eye unclos'd shall see its great Restorer near,
And the dumb tongue his praise proclaim, the ear that heard not hear;
The leprous taint be cleans'd, and death beneath his feet be trod,
And suppliant fiends their prey release, and own the Son of God.
O Mary, virgin mother blest, what rapture shall be thine,
Thus in thy child to see fulfill'd each heav'n-appointed sign !
And though a sword thy bosom pierce amid the mighty woes,
Which o'er thy lov'd, thy worshipp'd Son, in gloom sepulchral close,
'Twill glad thy soul to know that He, the offspring of thy womb,
Thy Saviour, Mary, and thy Lord, hath burst the rock-hewn tomb,
And soar'd his heritage to claim high o'er the realms of light,
The bosom of his Father's love, the right hand of his might.
But, hold! thy infant sleeps, and thou, beside the holy Child,
Take thou thy slumber, maiden meek, blest mother undefil'd:
Sleep thou, while angels wake around, a'nd, conscious whom they tend,
With folded wings and shaded eyes in sign of worship bend.
Sheet Music from Christmas Carols, or Sacred Songs, Suited to the Festival of our Lord's Nativity (London: John William Parker, 1833), pp. 32-33.
Sheet Music from Rev. Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church (London: William Clowes & Sons, Complete Edition, 1894), Carol #136
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