A Disputation Between Christ And The Human Form
For The Feast of the Nativity
Words: Laurence Housman (1865-1959)
Vocal Recordings: MP3 / OGG
Comest Thou peaceably, O Lord? ‘Yea, I am Peace! Be not so fearful to afford Thy Maker room! for I am the Reward To which all generations of increase Looking did never cease.
‘Down from amid dark wings of storm I set My Feet To earth. Will not My earth grow warm To feel her Maker take the form He made, when now, Creation’s purpose meet, Man’s body is to be God’s Mercy-seat?’
Lord, I am foul: there is no whole Fair part in me Where Thou canst deign to be! This form is not Thy making, since it stole Fruit from the bitter Tree. ‘Yet still thou hast the griefs to give in toll That I may test the sickness of man’s soul.’
O Lord, my work is without worth! I am afraid, Lest I should man the blissful Birth. Quoth Christ, ‘Ere seas had shores, or earth Foundations laid, My Cross was made!’
‘Naught canst thou do that was not willed By Love to be, To bring the Work to pass through Me. No knee Stiffens, or bends before My Sov’reignty, But from the world’s beginning hath fulfilled Its choice betwixt the valleyed and the hilled. For both, at one decree, My Blood was spilled.’
Yet canst Thou use these sin-stained hands? ‘These hands,’ quoth Christ, ‘Of them I make My need: Since they sufficed to forge the bands Wherein I hunger, they shall sow the seed! And with bread daily they shall feed My Flesh till, bought and bound, It stands A Sacrifice to bleed.’
Lord, let this house be swept and garnished first! For fear lest sin Do there look in, Let me shut fast the windows: lest Thou thirst, Make some pure inner well of waters burst: For no sweet water can man’s delving win— Earth is so curst. Also bar up the door: Thou wilt do well To dwell, whilst with us, anchorite in Thy cell.
Christ said ‘Let be: leave wide All ports to grief! Here when I knock I will not be denied The common lot of all that here abide; Were I so blinded, I were blind in chief: How should I see to bring the blind relief?
Wilt Thou so make Thy dwelling? Then I fear Man, after this, shall dread to enter here: For all the inner courts will be so bright, He shall be dazzled with excess of light, And turn, and flee! ‘But from his birth I will array him right, And lay the temple open for his sight, And say to help him, as I bid him see: “This is for thee!” ’
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