A Hymn For The Epiphany
Sung As By The Three Kings
Words: Richard Crashaw
From "Steps To The Temple." Only the opening lines are here given.
Source: A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885)
1 King. Bright Babe! whose awful beauties make
The morn incur a sweet mistake;
2 King. For whom the officious heavens devise
To disinherit the sun's rise;
3 King. Delicately to displace
The day, and plant it fairer in thy face;
1 King. O thou born King of loves!
2 King. Of lights!
3 King. Of joys!
Chorus. Look up, sweet Babe, look up and see!
For love of thee,
Thus far from home
The East is come
To seek herself in thy sweet eyes.
1 King. We who strangely went astray,
Lost in a bright
2 King. A darkness made of too much day;
3 King. Beckoned from far
By thy fair star,
Lo, at last have found our way.
Chorus. To thee, thou Day of Night! thou East of West!
Lo, we at last have found the way
To thee, the world's great universal East,
The general and indifferent day.
1 King. All-circling point! all-centring sphere!
The world's one round eternal year:
2 King. Whose full and all-unwrinkled face
Nor sinks nor swells with time or place;
3 King. But every where and every while
Is one consistent solid smile.
1 King. Not vexed and tost,
2 King. 'Twixt spring and frost;
3 King. Nor by alternate shreds of light,
Sordidly shifting hands with shades and night.
Chorus. O little All, in Thy embrace,
The world lies warm and likes his place;
Nor does his full globe fail to be
Kissed on both his cheeks by Thee;
Time is too narrow for Thy year,
Nor makes the whole world Thy half-sphere.
Note from Bullen:
“Hymn for the Epiphany” offends so outrageously by ill-timed conceits that I have only printed the first part of it, although there are many fine lines in the latter part. Crashaw was driven from Cambridge at the time of the Civil Wars; escaped to France, embraced the Catholic faith, and afterwards became secretary to Cardinal Palotta at Rome. He died at Loretto in 1650 (at the age of thirty-seven); and it has been supposed that he was poisoned. His poems were published in 1646 under the title of “Steps to the Temple,” and 'The Delights of the Muses.'"
Editor's Note: I have been unable to locate a fuller version on-line. Compare: A Hymn Of The Nativity.