James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

December 25

The Eve of Mary

By Nora Hopper Chesson (1871–1906)

SING out, and with rejoicing bring

Shepherds and neatherds to their King—

Their King who lies in stable stall,

With straw for all his plenishing;

Who in His hands most weak and small

Doth hold the earth and heavens all;

Sing loud, the Eve of Mary!

Bring in the soft ewes and their rams,

And bring the little crying lambs;

The stable’s wide enough for all.

Bring hither all the bleating dams,

And bid them crouch around the stall,

And watch the wonders that befall

Earth, on the Eve of Mary.

This mother-maid with drooping head

Hath but a straw-heap to her bed,

Yet, did she list, would angels come

And make a palace of her shed,

With myrrh and music bring Him home,

’Mid these glad months the one month dumb—

Here, on the Eve of Mary.

But rather would she lie below

Thatched roof, and hear the north wind blow,

And pattering footsteps of the rain.

Ay, rather would she pay her throe

And take her joy; to quit all pain

His lips are on her breast again—

Sing low, the Eve of Mary!

Sing low, indeed; and softly bleat,

Yon lambing ewes, about her feet,

Lest ye should wake the Child from sleep.

No other hour so still and sweet

Shall fall for Mary’s heart to keep

Until her death-hour on her creep—

Sing soft, the Eve of Mary!