The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Gentle Men

William Makepeace Thackeray (181163)
From "The End of the Play"

Source: "Christmas Carols - Old & New." London: G. G. Harrup & Co., ca. 1918, pp. 61-2.

A gentleman, or old or young!
    (Bear kindly with my humble lays);
The sacred chorus first was sung
    Upon the first of Christmas days;
The shepherds heard it overhead --
    The joyful angels raised it then:
Glory to Heaven on high, it said,
    And peace on earth to gentle men.

My song, save this, is little worth;
    I lay the weary pen aside,
And wish you health, and love, and mirth,
    As fits the solemn Christmas-tide.
As fits the holy Christmas birth,
    Be this, good friends our carol still,
Be peace on earth, be peace on earth
    To men of gentle will.

Note: The full poem is the epilogue to Thackeray's story Dr. Birch and his Young Friends, found in "The Christmas Books of Mr. M. A. Titmarsh" by William M. Thackeray.

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