The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

And They Laid Him In A Manger

Words: Sir Edward Sherburne


Source: A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885)

Happy crib, that wert, alone,
To my God, bed, cradle, throne!
Whilst thy glorious vileness I
View with divine fancy's eye,
Sordid filth seems all the cost,
State, and splendour, crowns do boast.
See heaven's sacred majesty
Humbled beneath poverty;
Swaddled up in homely rags,
On a bed of straw and flags!
He whose hands the heavens displayed,
And the world's foundations laid,
From the world's almost exiled,
Of all ornaments despoiled.
Perfumes bathe him not, new-born;
Persian mantles not adorn;
Nor do the rich roofs look bright
With the jasper's orient light.
Where, O royal infant, be
The ensigns of thy majesty;
Thy Sire's equalizing state;
And thy sceptre that rules fate?
Where's thy angel-guarded throne,
Whence thy laws thou didst make known--
Laws which heaven, earth, hell obeyed?
These, ah! these aside he laid;
Would the emblem be--of pride
By humility outvied?

Note from Bullen:

"Sir Edward Sherburne came of an ancient Lancashire family; he was born in 1616, and is supposed to have died in 1702. He made a translation of Manlius and of some plays of Seneca. When the Civil Wars broke out he sided with the King’s party [Charles I] and lost his fortune. He was knighted by Charles the Second."

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