The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hymn For Christmas Day

Being A Dialogue Between Three Shepherds


Words: Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Festival Hymns

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 284-5.

Where is this blessed Babe
        That hath made
All the world so full of joy
        And expectation;
        That glorious Boy
        That crowns each nation
With a triumphant wreath of blessedness?

Where should He be but in the throng,
        And among
His angel ministers that sing
        And take wing
Just as may echo to His voice,
        And rejoice
When wing and tongue and all
May so procure their happiness?

But He hath other waiters now:
        A poor cow,
An ox and mule, stand and behold,
        And wonder
That a stable should enfold
        Him that can thunder.

Chorus. O what a gracious God have we,
How good! how great! even as our misery.

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), pp. 132-3. Bullen's note from page 263:

"Jeremy Taylor, whose prose is one of the glories of English literature, handles his lyre awkwardly. At starting we are confronted with a false thyme; and as we proceed we feel that the versification is wanting in ease and fluency. What a change when we turn to the perfect prose-periods of the funeral sermon on the Countess of Carbery!"

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