Christmas

The Nativity by Gustave Dore. 1865.

The Nativity by Gustave Dore. 1865.

I

ALL after pleasures as I rid one day,
My horse and I, both tir’d, bodie and minde,
With full crie of affections, quite astray;
I took up in the next inne I could finde.

There when I came, whom found I but my deare,
My dearest Lord, expecting till the grief
Of pleasures brought me to him, readie there
To be all passengers most sweet relief?

O Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted light,
Wrapt in night’s mantle, stole into a manger;
Since my dark soul and brutish is thy right,
To Man of all beasts be not thou a stranger:

Furnish and deck my soul, that thou mayst have
A better lodging, than a rack, or grave.

II

THE shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymne for thee?
My soul ’s a shepherd too: a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is thy word; the streams, thy grace
Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Out-sing the day-light houres.
Then we will chide the sunne for letting night
Take up his place and right:

We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.

I will go searching, till I finde a sunne
Shall stay, till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
As frost-nipt sunnes look sadly.
Then we will sing, and shine all our own day,
And one another pay:
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev’n his beams sing, and my musick shine.

Christmas morning near Hastings, Nebraska in 2004. Photograph taken by this blog's author.

Christmas morning near Hastings, Nebraska in 2004. Photograph taken by this blog’s author.


Source:
George Herbert (1593-1633). The Poetical Works of George Herbert.
New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857. 101-102.

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