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In the Holy Nativity of our Lord God.

V.

IN THE HOLY NATIVITY OF OUR LORD GOD:

A HYMN SUNG AS BY THE SHEPHERDS.

THE HYMN.

Chorus.

COME, we shepherds, whose blest sight
Hath met Love's noon in Nature's night;
Come, lift we up our loftier song,
And wake the sun that lies too long.

To all our world of well-stolen joy
He slept; and dreamt of no such thing.
While we found out Heaven's fairer eye,
And kissed the cradle of our King.

Tell him He rises now, too late
To show us aught worth looking at.

Tell him we now can show him more
Than he e'er shew'd to mortal sight;
Than he himself e'er saw before,
Which to be seen needs not his light.

Tell him, Tityrus, where th' hast been,
Tell him, Thyrsis, what th' hast seen.

TITYRUS.

Gloomy night embraced the place
Where the noble Infant lay.

II

The Babe looked up and shewed His face;
In spite of darkness, it was day.

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It was Thy day, Sweet! and did rise, Not from the East, but from Thine eyes. Chorus. It was Thy day, Sweet.

THYRSIS.

Winter chid aloud, and sent
The angry North to wage his wars.
The North forgot his fierce intent,
And left perfumes instead of scars.

By those sweet eyes' persuasive powers,
Where he meant frost, he scattered flowers.
Chorus. By those sweet eyes.

BOTH.

We saw Thee in Thy balmy-nest, Young dawn of our eternal Day!

We saw Thine eyes break from their East, And chase the trembling shades away.

We saw Thee; and we blest the sight, We saw Thee by Thine Own sweet light.

TITYRUS.

Poor world (said I), what wilt thou do
To entertain this starry Stranger?

Is this the best thou canst bestow?
A cold, and not too cleanly, manger?
Contend, the powers of Heaven and Earth,
To fit a bed for this huge birth?
Chorus.-Contend, the powers.

THYRSIS.

Proud world, said I, cease your contest, And let the mighty Babe alone.

The phoenix builds the phoenix' nest, Love's architecture is his own.

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In the Holy Nativity of our Lord God.

The Babe whose birth embraves this morn,
Made His Own bed ere He was born.
Chorus.-The Babe whose.

TITYRUS.

I saw the curled drops, soft and slow, Come hovering o'er the place's head;

Offering their whitest sheets of snow To furnish the fair Infant's bed:

Forbear, said I; be not too bold, Your fleece is white, but 'tis too cold, Chorus.-Forbear, said I.

THYRSIS.

I saw the obsequious Seraphims Their rosy fleece of fire bestow.

For well they now can spare their wing, Since Heaven itself lies here below.

Well done, said I; but are you sure Your down so warm, will pass for pure? Chorus.-Well done, said I.

TITYRUS.

No, no! your King's not yet to seek Where to repose His royal head;

See, see! how soon His new-bloom'd cheek
'Twixt 's mother's breasts is gone to bed.
Sweet choice, said we! no way but so
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow.
Chorus. Sweet choice, said we.

BOTH.

We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest, Bright dawn of our eternal Day!

We saw Thine eyes break from their East, And chase the trembling shades away.

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We saw Thee: and we blest the sight, We saw Thee, by Thine Own sweet light. Chorus. We saw Thee, &c.

FULL CHORUS.

Welcome, all wonders in one sight! Eternity shut in a span!

Summer in Winter, Day in Night! Heaven in Earth, and God in man!

Great, little One! whose all-embracing birth Lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth.

Welcome, though not to gold nor silk,
To more than Cæsar's birthright is;
Two sister-seas of virgin-milk,
With many a rarely-temper'd kiss,

That breathes at once both maid and mother,
Warms in the one, cools in the other.

She sings Thy tears asleep, and dips Her kisses in Thy weeping eye;

She spreads the red leaves of Thy lips, That in their buds yet blushing lie:

She 'gainst those mother-diamonds, tries The points of her young eagle's eyes.

Welcome, though not to those gay flies, Gilded i' th' beams of earthly kings;

Slippery souls in smiling eyes:
But to poor shepherds' home-spun things;
Whose wealth's their flock; whose wit, to be
Well-read in their simplicity.

Yet when young April's husband-showers Shall bless the fruitful Maia's bed,

We'll bring the first-born of her flowers To kiss Thy feet, and crown Thy head.

To Thee, dread Lamb! Whose love must keep The shepherds, more than they the sheep.

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To Thee, meek Majesty! soft King
Of simple Graces and sweet Loves:
Each of us his lamb will bring,
Each his pair of silver doves :

Till burnt at last in fire of Thy fair eyes,
Ourselves become our own best sacrifice.

VI.

UPON EASTER DAY.

RISE heir of fresh Eternity,
From thy virgin tomb!

Rise mighty Man of wonders, and Thy World with Thee!
Thy tomb the universal East,

Nature's new womb,

Thy tomb, fair Immortality's perfumèd nest.

IIO

Life, by this Light's nativity,

All creatures have;

Of all the glories make Noon gay,

This is the Morn;

This Rock buds forth the fountain of the streams of Day;

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In Joy's white annals live this hour

When Life was born;

No cloud scowl on His radiant lids, no tempest lower.

Throned in Thy grave,

Death will on this condition be content to die

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Death only by this Day's just doom is forced to die, 15 Nor is Death forced; for may he lie

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