W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.
Christmas MornNoel Thomas Carrington (17771830)
On earth flames wide a stranger ray!
And yet no meteor wanders nigh—
No moon floats through Judæa’s sky!
But there is in the face of night
A mellow, pure and holy light;
Each moment holier, purer, flowing,
But with a tender radiance glowing;
And on the shepherd’s startled view
Are forms of glory breaking through
Those floods of splendour;—throng on throng
Uplifting a triumphant song!
Ne’er flow’d such strains on earthly gale
O’er breezy hill or listening vale
Before; nor shall such sounds again
Break on the raptured ear of man,
Till rising to his native sky,
He put on immortality.
To hail the Incarnate Mystery!
For this awoke that glorious hymn
From glowing lips of Seraphim!
For this—adown the radiant sky,
From bowers of bliss—from worlds on high,
Appear’d, upborne on wings of fire,
That seraph host—that angel choir.
The brightest in night’s diadem
That mystic star, whose pilot ray
Illum’d the Magi’s doubtful way;
Bright wanderer through the fields of air
Which led the inquiring sages, where,
Cradled within a worthless manger,
Slept on that morn the immortal Stranger.
With pealing of Archangel trump—
An angel blast as loud and dread
As that which shall awake the dead;
His lightning might have scar’d the night,
Streaming insufferable light;
His thunder deepening, peal on peal,
Have made earth to her centre reel,
Deep voices such as shook with fear,
At Sinai’s base, the favour’d seer;
The wing of whirlwind might have borne Him,
The trampling earthquake gone before Him:—
He might have come—that Holy One,
With millions round His awful throne,
Countless as are the sands that lie
On burning plains of Araby,
And arm’d for vengeance, who could stand
Before each conq’ring red right hand.
Shiver’d the everlasting rock;
No trumpet blast nor thunder peal,
Made earth through all her regions reel;
And but for the mysterious voicing
Of that unearthly choir rejoicing;
And but for that strange herald gem,
The star which burned o’er Bethlehem,
The shepherds, on his natal morn,
Had known not that the God was born.
There were no terrors, for the song
Of peace rose from the seraph throng;
On wings of love He came—to save,
To pluck pale terror from the grave,
And on the blood-stain’d Calvary
He won for man the victory.