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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.





OME 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-stoll'n 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 ought worth looking at.


Tell him we now can show him more

Than he e'er showed 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.

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

North to wage

his wars ;

Thyrs. Winter chid aloud, and sent

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.

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:
We saw Thee, and we blessed the sight,-
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.

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;
The phænix build the phænix' nest,

Love's architecture is all one:
The Babe whose birth embraves this morn,
Made His own bed cre He was born.

Tit. 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 't is too cold.

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Thyrs. I saw the obsequious seraphims

fleece of fire bestow,
For well they now can spare their wings,

Since Heaven itself lies here below:
Well done, said I; but are you sure
Your down so warm will pass for pure ?

Tit. No, no, your King's not yet to seek

Where to repose His royal head;
See, see, how soon His new-bloomed cheek

"Twixt mother's breasts is gone to bed.
Sweet choice, said I, no way but so
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow.

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.
We saw Thee, and we blessed the sight;
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.

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.



The blessed Virgin travailed without pain,

And lodged in an inn,

A glorious star the sign,
But of a greater guest than ever came that way,

For there He lay
That is the God of night and day,
And over all the pow’rs of heav'n doth reign.
It was the time of great Augustus' tax,

And then He comes

That pays all sums,
Even the whole price of lost humanity;

And sets us free

From the ungodly emperie
Of Sin, of Satan, and of Death.
Oh, make our hearts, blest God, Thy lodging-place !

And in our breast

Be pleased to rest,
For Thou lov'st temples better than an inn,

And cause that Sin
May not profane the Deity within,
And sully o’er the ornaments of grace.


(From "New Carols for this Merry Time of Christmas," 1661.)

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The maids are bonny girls, I see,

Who have provided much good cheer,
Which, at my dame's commandment be

Now set upon the table here.

And I have here two knives in store,

To lend to him that wanteth one;
Commend my wits, good lads, therefore,

That come now hither having none.

For, if I should, no Christmas pie

Would fall, I doubt, unto my share;
Wherefore, I will my manhood try,

To fight a battle if I dare.


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