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The mutual nod,—the grave disguise
Of hearts with gladness brimming o'er ; And some unbidden tears that rise
For names once heard, and heard no more ; Tears brightened by the serenade For infant in the cradle laid.
Ah! not for emerald fields alone,
With ambient streams more pure and bright Than fabled Cytherea's zone
Glittering before the Thunderer's sight,
Hail, ancient Manners ! sure defence,
Where they survive, of wholesome laws;
Thus into narrow room withdraws;
Bear with me, Brother! quench the thought
That slights this passion, or condemns;
From the proud margin of the Thames,
Yes, they can make, who fail to find,
Short leisure even in busiest days:
And profit by those kindly rays
The shepherds went their hasty way,
And found the lowly stable shed
And now they checked their eager tread,
They told her how a glorious light,
Streaming from a heavenly throng,
While, sweeter than a mother's song,
She listened to the tale divine,
And closer still the babe she pressed : And while she cried, the babe is mine!
The milk rushed faster to her breast :
Joy rose within her, like a summer's morn;
Thou mother of the Prince of Peace,
Poor, simple, and of low estate,
O why should this thy soul elate ?
And is not war a youthful king,
A stately hero clad in mail? Beneath his footsteps laurels spring ;
Him earth's majestic monarchs hail Their friend, their playmate ! and his bold bright eye Compels the maiden's love-confessing sigh.
“Tell this in some more courtly scene,
To maids and youths in robes of state!
And, therefore, is my soul elate.
“A murderous fiend, by fiends adored,
He kills the sire and starves the son ; The husband kills, and from her board
Steals all his widow's toil had won ? Plunders God's world of beauty; rends away All safety from the night, all comfort from the day.
“ Then wisely is my soul elate,
That strife should vanish, battle cease :
I’m poor and of a low estate,
The mother of the Prince of Peace, Joy rises in me, like a summer's morn: Peace, peace on earth, the Prince of Peace is born."
() LOVELY voices of the sky,
That hymned the Saviour's birth!
Ye that sang, “ Peace on earth ?”
Wherewith, in days gone by,
O voices of the sky!
O clear and shining light, whose beams
That hour heaven's glory shed
And on the shepherds' head;
As in that holiest night
() clear and shining light!
O star which led to Him, whose love
Brought down man's ransom free;
May we still gaze on thee?
In heaven thou art not set,
Thy rays earth might not dimSend them to guide us yet!
() star which led to Him!
Though rude winds usher thee, sweet day,
Though clouds thy face deform,
Before thy sleety storm ;
Nor frigid air nor gloomy morn
Shall check our jubilee;
No sun need shine but He;
Inspired with high and holy thought,
Fancy is on the wing ;
Those voices carolling:
I see the shepherds gazing wild
At those fair spirits of light;