The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Three Kings Of Cologne

Words: Eugene Field

Source: Eugene Field, Christmas Tales and Christmas Verse. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912.

From out Cologne there came three kings
    To worship Jesus Christ, their King.
To Him they sought fine herbs they brought,
    And many a beauteous golden thing;
    They brought their gifts to Bethlehem town,
    And in that manger set them down.

Then spake the first king, and he said:
    "O Child, most heavenly, bright, and fair!
I bring this crown to Bethlehem town
    For Thee, and only Thee, to wear;
    So give a heavenly crown to me
    When I shall come at last to Thee!"

The second, then. "I bring Thee here
    This royal robe, O Child!" he cried;
"Of silk 'tis spun, and such an one
    There is not in the world beside;
    So in the day of doom requite
    Me with a heavenly robe of white!"

The third king gave his gift, and quoth:
    "Spikenard1 and myrrh to Thee I bring,
And with these twain would I most fain
    Anoint the body of my King;
    So may their incense sometime rise
    To plead for me in yonder skies!"

Thus spake the three kings of Cologne,
    That gave their gifts, and went their way;
And now kneel I in prayer hard by
    The cradle of the Child to-day;
    Nor crown, nor robe, nor spice I bring
    As offering unto Christ, my King.

Yet have I brought a gift the Child
    May not despise, however small;
For here I lay my heart to-day,
    And it is full of love to all.
    Take Thou the poor but loyal thing,
    My only tribute, Christ, my King!


1. "Spikenard (also nard and muskroot) is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas of India and Nepal. The plant grows to about 1 m in height and has pink, bell-shaped flowers. Spikenard rhizomes (underground stems) can be crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic, amber-colored essential oil. Nard oil is used as a perfume, an incense, a sedative, and an herbal medicine said to fight insomnia, flatulence, birth difficulties, and other minor ailments." Source: Return

See also Christmas Poetry of Eugene Field (Opens in a new window at an exterior site).

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