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THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

rT">HE time draws near the birth of Christ:
-L The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door

Were shut between me and the sound.

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate and now decrease,
- Peace and good-will, good-will and peace,
Peace and good-will, to all mankind.

Rise, happy morn! rise, holy morn!
Draw forth the cheerful day from night:
O Father! touch the east, and light

The light that shone when hope was born.

A. Tennyson

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xxxiv
HYMN TO THE NATIVITY

GLOOMY night embraced the place
Where the noble Infant lay;
The Babe looked up and showed His face, —

In spite of darkness it was day.
It was Thy day, sweet, and did rise
Not from the east, but from Thy eyes,

We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,

Bright dawn of our eternal day;
We saw Thine eyes break from the east

And chase the trembling shades away:
We saw Thee (and we blessed the sight),
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.

Welcome to our wondering sight,

Eternity shut in a span! Summer in winter! day in night!

Heaven in earth! and God in man! Great Little One, whose glorious birth Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth.

R. Crashaw ll xxxv

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LINES

Suggested by a Picture of the Adoration of the
Magians

LITTLE pomp or earthly state
On the Saviour's way might wait;
Few the homages, and small,
That the guilty earth at all
Was permitted to accord
To her King and hidden Lord.
Therefore do we set more store
On those few, and prize them more:
Dear to us for this account
Is the glory of the Mount,
When bright beams of light did spring
Through the sackcloth covering,
Rays of glory found their way
Through the garment of decay,
With which, as with a cloak, He had
His divinest splendor clad;
Dear the precious ointment shed
On His feet, and on His head;
And the high-raised hope sublime,
And the triumph of the time
When through Zion's streets the way
Of her peaceful Conqueror lay,
Who, fulfilling ancient fame,
Meek, and with salvation came.
But of all this scanty state
That upon His steps might wait,

Dearest are those Magian Kings
With their far-brought offerings.
From what region of the morn.
Are ye come thus travel-woni,
With those boxes pearl-embost,
Caskets rare, and gifts of cost?
While your swarth attendants wait
At the stable's outer gate,
And the camels lift their head
High above the lowly shed;
Or are seen a long-drawn train
Winding down into the plain,
From below the light blue line
Of the hills in distance fine.

Dear for your own sake, whence are ye?

Dearer for the mystery

That is round you, — on what skies

Gazing, saw you first arise

Through the darkness that clear star

Which has marshalled you so far,

Even unto this strawy tent,

Dancing up the Orient?

Shall we name you kings indeed,

Or is this our idle creed?

Kings of Seba, with the gold

And the incense long foretold?

Would the Gentile world by you

First-fruits pay of tribute due,

Or have Israel's scattered race,

From their unknown hiding-place,

Sent to claim their part and right

In the Child new-born to-night?

But although we may not guess
Of your lineage, not the less
We the selfsame gifts would bring
For a spiritual offering.
May the frankincense in air
As it climbs instruct our prayer,
That it ever upward tend,
Ever struggle to ascend,
Leaving earth, yet ere it go
Fragrance rich diffuse below.
As the myrrh is bitter sweet,
So in us may such things meet,
As unto the mortal taste
Bitter seeming, yet at last
Shall to them who try be known
To have sweetness of their own, —
Tears for sin, which sweeter far
Than the world's mad laughters are;
Desires, that in their dying give
. Pain, but die that we may live.
And the gold from Araby, —
Fitter symbol who could see
Of the love which, thrice refined,
Love to God and to our kind,
Duly tendered, He will call
Best pleasing sacrifice of all?

Thus so soon as far apart
From the proud world, in our heart
As in stable dark, defiled,
There is born th' Eternal Child,
May to Him the spirit's kings
Bear their choicest offerings;

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