Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christ's Nativity / Henry Vaughan

Christ's Nativity


Awake, glad heart! get up, and sing!
It is the birth-day of thy King.
         Awake! awake!
         The Sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and, all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

Awake, awake! hark how th’ wood rings;
Winds whisper, and the busy springs
         A concert make;
         Awake! awake!
Man is their high-priest, and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.

I would I were some bird, or star,
Flutt’ring in woods, or lifted far
         Above this inn
         And road of sin!
Then either star or bird should be
Shining or singing still to thee.

I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for thee! or that my heart
         Were so clean as
         Thy manger was!
But I am all filth, and obscene;
Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean.

Sweet Jesu! will then; let no more
This leper haunt and soil thy door!
         Cure him, ease him,
         O release him!
And let once more, by mystic birth,
The Lord of life be born in earth.


How kind is Heav'n to man! If here
         One sinner doth amend.
Straight there is joy, and ev'ry sphere
         In music doth contend.
And shall we then no voices lift?
         Are mercy and salvation
Not worth our thanks? Is life a gift
         Of no more acceptation?
Shall He that did come down from thence,
         And here for us was slain,
Shall he be now cast off? no sense
         Of all his woes remain ?
Can neither love nor suff 'rings bind?
         Are we all stone and earth?
Neither his bloudy passions mind,
         Nor one day blesse his birth?
Alas, my God! thy birth now here
         Must not be numbered in the year.

Henry Vaughan (1622-1695)
from Silex Scintillans; or, Sacred poems, 1854

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

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