The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In The Bleak Mid Winter

A Christmas Carol

Words: Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894), Before 1872

See: Christmastide Poems of Christina Rossetti

Source: The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes by William Michael Rossetti (1904), page 246.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

Notes:

The last stanza is also published separately as "My Gift, From A Christmas Carol" and "A Birthday Gift"

Note from William Michael Rossetti: "This was first published in Scribner's Monthly, January 1872. It was republished, 1875, in the volume of united poems, being then made to open the series of Devotional Poems." (page 476)

One of several of Ms. Rossetti's poems put to music. See: In The Bleak Midwinter.

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