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Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “A Christmas Carol”

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

A Christmas Carol

  1. The shepherds went their hasty way,
    And found the lowly stable-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 Savior’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’s 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 friends, 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 wherefore 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 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!


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