The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hymn For The Nativity

Edward Thring (1821-1887)
From "Poems and Translations," 1887.

Source: "Christmas Carols - Old & New." London: G. G. Harrup & Co., ca. 1918, pp. 63-6.

Happy night and happy silence downward softly stealing
    Softly stealing over land and sea,
Stars from golden censers swing a silent eager feeling
    Down on Judah, down on Galilee;
And all the wistful air, and earth, and sky,
Listened, listened for the gladness of a cry.

Holy, night, a sudden flash of light its way is winging:
    Angels, angels, all above, around;
Hark, the angel voices, hark, the angel voices singing;
    And the sheep are lying on the ground.
Lo, all the wistful air, and earth, and sky
Listen, listen to the gladness of the cry.

Happy night at Bethlehem; soft little hands are feeling,
    Feeling in the manger with the kine:
Little hands, and eyelids closed in sleep, while angels kneeling,
    Mary, mother, hymn the Babe Divine.
Lo, all the wistful air, and earth, and sky,
Listen, listen to the gladness of the cry.

Wide, as if the light were music, flashes adoration:
    Glory be to God, nor ever cease.
All the silence thrills, and speeds the message of salvation:
    Peace on earth, good-will to men of peace.
Lo, all the wistful air, and earth, and sky,
Listen, listen to the gladness of the cry.

Holy night, thy solemn silence evermore enfoldeth
    Angel songs and peace from God on high:
Holy night, thy watcher still with faithful eye beholdeth
    Wings that wave, and angel glory nigh.
Lo, hushed is strife in air, and earth, and sky,
Still thy watchers hear the gladness of the cry.

Praise Him, ye who watch the night, the silent night of ages:
    Praise Him, shepherds, praise the Holy Child:
Praise Him, ye who hear the light, O praise Him, all ye sages;
    Praise Him children, praise Him meek and mild.
Lo, peace on Earth, glory to God on high,
Listen, listen to the gladness of the cry.

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