A Christmas Carol
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
The shepherds went their hasty way,
And found the lowly cattle shed
Where the virgin mother lay:
And now they checked their eager tread,
For to the Babe, that at her bosom clung,
A mother's song the virgin mother sung.
They told her how a glorious light,
Streaming from a heavenly throng,
Around them shone, suspending night!
While sweeter than a mother's song,
Blest Angels heralded the Saviour's birth:
“Glory to God on high! and peace on earth!”
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 morn:
Peace, peace on earth! The Prince of Peace is born!
Thou mother of the Prince of Peace,
Poor, simple, and of low estate!
That strife should vanish, battle cease,
O why should this thy soul elate?
Sweet music's loudest note, the poet's story,
Didst thou ne'er love to hear of fame and glory?
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!
I am a woman poor and mean,
And therefore is my soul elate.
War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled,
That from the aged father's tears his child!
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!