The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Eve In Ireland

Words:  Katharine Tynan

Source: Anne Thaxter Eaton, ed., Welcome Christmas! A Garland Of Poems. New York: The Viking Press, 1955.

Not a cabin In the Glen shuts its door tonight,
    Lest the travellers abroad knock in vain and pass,
Just a humble gentleman and a lady bright
    And she to be riding on an ass.

Grief is on her goodman, that the inns deny
    Shelter to his dearest Dear in her hour of need;
That her Babe of royal birth, starriest, most high,
    Has not where to lay His head.

Must they turn in sadness to the cattle byre
    And the kind beasts once again shake the bed for Him?
Not a cabin in the Glen but heaps wood on the fire
    And keeps its lamps a-trim.

Now the woman makes the bed, smoothes the linen sheet,
    Spreads the blanket soft and white, that her own hands spun,
Whisht! Is that the ass that comes, on his four little feet,
    Carrying the Holy One?

Nay, 'twas but the wind and rain, the sand on the floor.
    A bitter night, yea, cruel, for folk to be abroad.
And she, not fit for hardship, outside a fast-closed door,
    And her Son the Son of God!

Is it the moon that's turning the dark world to bright?
    Is it some wonderful dawning in the night and cold?
Whisht! Did you see a shining One and Him to be clad in light
    And the wings and head of Him gold?

Who are then these people, hurrying, hasting, those,
    And they all looking up in the sky this night of wondrous things?
Oh, those I think be shepherdmen, and they that follow close,
    I think, by their look, be kings.

Not a cabin in the Glen shuts the door till day,
    Lest the heavenly travellers come, knock again in vain.
All night the dulcimers, flutes and hautboys play,
    And the angels walk with men.

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