The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Nativity

Words: W. J. Blew

Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).

Night is set in, the stars their lamps are raising;
    Each dewy flower hath closed its perfumed chalice;
O'er the blue hills the city lights are blazing,
    And the gay cressets gleam in cot and palace.
Down the green sheep tracks rest the flocks enfolden,
    Round their still cotes the hinds their fires are waking,
While in the homes of Bethlehem lie holden
    Eyes all unconscious of the mystery breaking.

Oh, wonder of all wonders,
    The hinds their watch are keeping,
A babe is in the manger
    Christ Jesus there is sleeping;
The oxen round him lowing,
    The ass his forehead bowing,
The maiden mother kneeling,
    While night is o'er them stealing.

Soon shall a fire-blood kindle up the horizon,
    Paling the night stars in their fairy shining,
Paling the broad sun at his first uprising,
    Paling the bright moon at his red declining.
Hark, through the opened lattice of Heaven's portals
    Soundeth -- "To God be glory in the highest,
Peace be on earth; Good will to loving mortals."
    Peace to thee, Christian, while with joy thou criest.

Oh, wonder of all wonders,
    The hinds their watch are keeping,
A babe is in the manger
    Christ Jesus there is sleeping;
The oxen round him lowing,
    The ass his forehead bowing,
The maiden mother kneeling,
    While night is o'er them stealing.

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