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Crashaw, the author of the annexed hymn, was the son of a clergyman of the Church of England, and received his education at Cambridge ; after taking his degree, he became a fellow of Peterhouse College. Refusing, however, to subscribe to the parliamentary covenant, he was cjected from his fellowship, when he proceeded to France and embraced the Roman Catholic faith. His conversion probably arose from interested motives, as, having been recommended to Henrietta Maria by his friend Cowley the poet, a canonry in the Church of Loretto was conferred on him. This dignity he only lived to enjoy for a short time, as he died of a fever in 1650, soon after his induction.
HYMN OF THE NATIVITY,
SUNG BY THE SHEPHERDS.
OME we shepherds, whose blest sight
To all our world of well-stoll'n joy,
He slept, and dreamt of no such thing ;
And kissed the cradle of our King;
Tell him we now can show him more
Than he e'er showed to mortal sight,-
Which to be seen needs not his light:
Tit. Gloomy night embraced the place
Where the noble infant lay;
The Babe looked up and shewed his face,
In spite of darkness it was day-
North to wage
his wars ;
Thyrs. Winter chid aloud, and sent
And left perfumes instead of scars :
Both. We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
Bright dawn of our eternal day!
And chase the trembling shades away:
Tit. 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, ye powers of heaven and earth, To fit a bed for this huge birth.
Thyrs. Proud world, said I, cease your contest,
And let the mighty Babe alone;
Love's architecture is all one:
Tit. I saw the curled drops, soft and slow,
Come hovering o'er the place's head,
To furnish the fair Infant's bed :
Thyrs. I saw the obsequious seraphims
fleece of fire bestow,
Since Heaven itself lies here below:
Tit. No, no, your King's not yet to seek
Where to repose His royal head;
"Twixt mother's breasts is gone to bed.
Both. We saw Thee in thy balmy nest,
Bright dawn of our eternal day;
And chase the trembling shades away.
The following poem is by Bishop Jeremy Taylor, whose eloquent prose writings cause him to be regarded as one of the ornaments of the English Church. He was a man of singular humility and piety, and irreproachable in all the duties of life. During the civil troubles, he warmly attached himself to the cause of Charles I., one of whose chaplains he had been, and suffered imprisonment in consequence. He lived to lend the lustre of his name to the era following the Restoration, when a depraved monarch, and a licentious court, had banished both religious and moral purity beyond the circle of their pernicious influence.
OF CHRIST'S BIRTH IN AN INN.
The blessed Virgin travailed without pain,
And lodged in an inn,
A glorious star the sign,
For there He lay
And then He comes
That pays all sums,
And sets us free
From the ungodly emperie
And in our breast
Be pleased to rest,
And cause that Sin
(From "New Carols for this Merry Time of Christmas," 1661.)
The maids are bonny girls, I see,
Who have provided much good cheer,
Now set upon the table here.
And I have here two knives in store,
To lend to him that wanteth one;
That come now hither having none.
For, if I should, no Christmas pie
Would fall, I doubt, unto my share;
To fight a battle if I dare.