The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Shepherd's Carol

Words: Margaret Stanley-Wrench

Source: Anne Thaxter Eaton, ed., Welcome Christmas! A Garland Of Poems. New York: The Viking Press, 1955.

At Christmas, firstling lambs are dropped,
And all night long, in the frosty fold
We cosset the lambs, and tend the ewes,
And thatch the wattles against the cold.

In the still night the owls are calling,
One by one the lights have gone,
And only that in the church is burning,
And quiet as snow the worshippers come.

The stars are shining, as sharp and as cold
As the ice in the brook, as the frost on the fern,
And, as we work, we remember the old
Tale we were told, of those of our trade,

Who, tending their sheep, as we, long ago
On a hilltop lay, with the village below,
And one by one, torches and fires
Died out, and only the lamp-soft glow

Burned in a stable, and burned in a star,
And in the eyes and the flaming hair
Of Two who came, bright as love, white as fear,
And told that the Shepherd of men was born.

Shepherd and Lamb in one, they say,
So fitting it is, we think, on His day
The ewe should labour, the lamb be born,
And shepherds watch, and listen, and pray.

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