The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Verses

Poetry by Teresa Coca Boylan Brayton (1868-1943), Dublin, 1934

 

Three candles that light up every darkness:
Truth, Nature, Knowledge

 

Editor's Note: Insofar as I can tell, these verses are in the public domain.

Titles

A Christmas Blessing

Mary's Lullaby

A Little Boy

A Christmas Song

A Christmas Fancy

In Bethlehem

A Druid Speaks


A Christmas Blessing

May the right hand of God ever hold you in keeping
Through coming and going, through waking and sleeping,
May the love of the Christ-Child your spirit be lighting
And the smile of His Mother your heart be delighting;
May Blessed St. Joseph be near you in sorrow,
And the high Saints of Erin be guarding your morrow,
May Peace be your treasure, and long be your living,
With joy in good measure for taking and giving.
In friendship go leor beyond bound or expressing
To your door I am sending this Christmas blessing.

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Mary's Lullaby

Hush-a-bye, Baby, hush-a-bye Baby, hush-a-bye Baby bye!
Shimmer of day is fading away out of Your Father's sky,
But now You are all my own, little Son, safe on your Mother's breast
From the call of the world, my little One, and the cry of its wild unrest.
    Hush-a-bye, Baby, hush-a-bye Baby, hush on your Mother's breast.

Hush-a-bye, Baby, hush-a-bye Baby, Simeon's word in my soul
Is cold as the hilt of a Roman sword and deep as the Jordan's roll,
But while I hold You upon my breast where shadows are drifting low
I veil my eyes from the world's unrest and the woe that You yet must know.
    Hush-a-bye, Baby, hush-a-bye Baby, hush-a-bye, Baby O!

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A Little Boy

A little boy on sandalled feet
Came homeward from the village street;
His Mother, having called Him, said
"Play-weary One 'tis time for bed."

Gravely He stood beside her chair
To chant His evening psalm and prayer,
Then, putting by His toys He went
To sleep till morning, well content.

Around Him there on wings of flame
Adoring hosts of angels came,
While warrior Michael with his sword
Kept watch beside the Living Word.

Above, through awful fields of space
The planets kept their tireless pace,
While He, their Lord, slept peacefully,
A little Child in Galilee.

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A Christmas Song

Oh, Lord, as You lay so soft and white
    A Babe in a manger stall,
With the big star flashing across the night
    Did You know and pity us all?
Did the wee hands, soft as a rosebud curled,
    With the call of their mission ache
To be out and saving a sinful world
    For Your merciful Father's sake?

Did You hear the cries of the groping blind,
    The woe of the leper's prayer,
Surging sorrow of all mankind
    As You lay by Your Mother there?
Above the shepherds low bending down
    The long, long road did You see
That led from peaceful Bethlehem town
    To the summit of Calvary?

The world, grown weary of wasting strife,
    Had called on the Christ to rise,
For sin had poisoned the springs of life,
    And only the dead were wise;
But, wrapped in a dream of scornful pride,
    Too high were its eyes to see
A Child, foredoomed to be crucified,
    On a peasant Mother's knee.

But while the heavens with glad acclaim
    Sang out the news of Your birth
A mystic whisper of comfort came
    To the pitiful ones of earth,
And the thrill of a slowly turning tide
    Was felt in that grey day-break
As if God the Father had sanctified
    All sorrow for one Man's sake.

Oh, child of the Promise, Lord of love,
    Oh, Master of time and earth,
While the angels are singing their songs above
    We bring our gifts to Your birth:
Just the blind man's cry and the lame man's pace
    And the leper's pitiful call -
On these over infinite fields of space
    Look down, for Your know them all.

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A Christmas Fancy

She set Her holy candle inside the window pane,
The happy time of Christmas had come to earth again;
She said, "O Mary mother, and Joseph good and true,
And little Child of Bethlehem, there's welcome here for You."

"I'm poor and old and lonely, but peace is on my floor,
And there is always greeting for travellers at my door;
And glad would be my sharing of bite and sup with Them
Who'd seek the room in Erin denied in Bethlehem.

"I have two sheets of linen, sun-dried and beautiful,
I have two fleecy blankets of snowy Irish wool,
A knitted quilt with fringes to lay upon the bed,
And a little downy pillow to fit a Baby head.

"I have two cups of china with saucers that are mates,
A jug of roses on it, and two blue china plates,
I'd take these from my dresser for Lady Mary's sake
To serve with mild and apples and floury raisin cake.

"I'd tend the Maiden Mother with eager hands of joy
And ask no fonder pleasure than gazing at her Boy;
Then, when my Guests were slumbering I'd say my Rosary,
Nor pray to enter Heaven for Heaven had come to me."

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In Bethlehem

From Nazareth to Bethlehem it is a long, long way,
And wearily did Mary sigh for rest at close of day,
But vainly Joseph sought a place where she might lay her down
For every door was closed to them in all that busy town.

And some with kindness bade them may in pity for her case,
And some despised their poverty with coldly sneering face,
And there were Roman soldiery and rich men riding by
We knew not that to-night for them old ways were doomed to die.

And there were prelates, housed and warm, with none to whisper them
That God's own Lamb of sacrifice had come to Bethlehem;
That now their records might be sealed, their ancient scrolls laid by,
The Living Word had been made Flesh, His star was in the sky.

Oh, many a mother clasped her babe to her in strange affright,
And many an easeful man awoke from restless dreams that night
When homeless by a stable wall, a new-born Baby cried
Who for their sake on Calvary would yet be crucified.

Upon the Galillean hills were folded flocks asleep --
But Oh, the little shepherd hands that sought for long-lost sheep
And oh, the little feet close-held by Mary from the cold
That follow on till all His lambs are safe within the fold.

From Nazareth to Bethlehem it was a long, long way
But peacefully at break of morn the infant Saviour lay,
And David' harp rang out through Heaven for Jesse's blossomed rod,
Now Adam's race had won to grace and man was linked with God.

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A Druid Speaks

I will not gather mistletoe,
    Or serve beneath an oaken bough,
New visions through my spirit flow,
    Another message calls me now.
The old ways are my ways no more,
    Nor olden dreams my mind control,
I stand beside an opened door
    Within the temple of my soul.

I saw this morn as dawn awoke
    And planets fade in the sky,
The Star of which our ancients spoke
    Telling the Sun of suns was nigh;
His step is one the stairs that climb
    From age to age through dizzying space,
His hand unlocks the doors of time
    That men may see their Father's face.

For all my years I've hailed His sigh
    Arising daily in the east,
And felt through all my veins the wine
    Of rapture as His Druid priest;
But, bent above my alter stone,
    What was to me that orbed flame
But emblem of the mighty One
    For whom His creatures seek a name?

But now the orient is athrill
    With tremblings of a day to be
Whose beams will light the world's last hill,
    And joy is in the heart me me,
My head is white, my feet are slow,
    Soon will my days be done on earth,
But new life sets my veins aglow
    For Love triumphant leaps to birth.

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