The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Wartime Christmas

Joyce Kilmer

Led by a star, a golden star,
The youngest star, an olden star,
Here the kings and the shepherds are,
A kneeling on the ground.
What did they come to the inn to see?
God in the Highest, and this is He,
A baby asleep on His motherís knee
And with her kisses crowned.  

Now is the earth a dreary place,
A troubled place, a weary place.
Peace has hidden her lovely face
And turned in tears away.
Yet the sun, through the war-cloud, sees
Babies asleep on their motherís knees.
While there are love and homeóand theseó
There shall be Christmas Day.

I don't know if this poem has ever been set to music.  It has a meter of 8886D.  There are several old tunes that might fit the bill: Assist, Derry, and Miscericordin.

There is also a song of the same name by David Catherwood. It is described as "Incorporating a little-known Normandy carol with the popular We Three Kings, David Catherwood has created the perfect anthem for Christmas or Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of the wise men. This piece is especially effective as a processional, with the a cappella introduction and the verses of KINGS OF ORIENT sung by a quartet or semi-chorus set apart from the full choir."

Published by Warner Brothers, it is available for $1.25 from a number of sources.

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