The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Eve

Katharine Tynan (1859 - 1931)
A.K.A. Katharine Tynan Hinkson

1. It was the death-time of the year—
Sing, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
How chill, how keen the stars appear!
The frost is on each gray grass-spear,
And frozen white are river and mere.

2. All human folk are houséd warm—
Sing, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
With light and fire 'gainst night and storm.
And little children, safe from harm,
Each in its tender mother's arm.

3. Like the swan's plume the snows are spread—
Sing, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
With Christ's dear mother lacking bed.
All doors are shut against her need,
Except the humble cattle-shed.

4. Shake down the grass for her to lie—
Sing, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
And bid the quiet beasts draw nigh.
All Heaven shall now abase its eye,
Nor view the Birth so Heavenly.

5. Alone upon that holy ground—
Sing, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
The ass and oxen knelt in swound.
While Bedlam lay in slumber bound,
The ass, the ox, were worthy found.

6. Before the Kings and Shepherds these—
Sing, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
And Powers and Principalities.
With ass and oxen on their knees,
He doth exalt all lowliness.

7. Oh, dull and sin-clogged hearts of men—
Sing, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
With frost upon the window pane.
God save ye, merry gentlemen:
For Christ, Our Lord, is born again.

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