[K:NWTS 21/3 (Dec 2006) 9-10]


George Herbert (1593-1633)

Christmas (I)

After all pleasures as I rid one day,

My horse and I, both tired, body and mind,

With full cry of affections, quite astray;

I took up the next inn I could find.

There when I came, whom found I but my dear,

My dearest Lord, expecting till the grief

Of pleasures brought me to Him, ready there

To be all passengers' most sweet relief?

Oh Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted light,

Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger;

Since my dark soul and brutish is Thy right,

To man of all beasts be not Thou a stranger:

Furnish and deck my soul, that Thou mayst have

A better lodging, than a rack, or grave.

Christmas (II)

The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?

My God, no hymn for Thee?

My soul's a shepherd too; a flock it feeds

Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.

The pasture is Thy word: the streams, Thy grace

Enriching all the place.

Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers

Outsing the daylight hours.

Then will we chide the sun for letting night

Take up his place and right:

We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should

Himself the candle hold.

I will go searching, till I find a sun

Shall stay, till we have done;

A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,

As frost-nipped suns look sadly.

Then will we sing, and shine all our own day,

And one another pay:

His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,

Till ev'n His beams sing, and my music shine.