Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Star of Bethlehem
By Nathaniel H. Wright (1787–1824)
WHEN night her lonely shade has spread
Around the wayworn wanderer’s head,
How welcome is the distant gleam
Of cottage taper’s twinkling beam,
To guide and cheer his devious tread,        5
By marshy fen or mountain stream.
Thus in the wilderness of life,
When o’er us gloom the shades of strife,
When adverse fortune’s tempests roll,
And beat upon the troubled soul,        10
There beams athwart affliction’s night,
With rays of peace, a holy light:
Oh! ’t is that bright and lovely star,
Which guides the wanderer from afar;
Which smiles upon the brow of even,        15
And holds its course in midway heaven.
  Mark’st thou the rainbow’s beauteous hue
In yonder eastern sky of blue?
A moment, and the tints shall fade,
And all its glories sink in shade.        20
Or dost thou mark yon opening flower?
’T is but the blossom of an hour;
Its leaves shall by the winds be strown,
And where it bloom’d no more be known.
The solid globe shall pass away,        25
The fleeting atom of a day.
The sun, and every lesser light,
Shall all be quenched in endless night.
Yet shall the Star of Bethlehem shine,
A light of origin divine:        30
And when the flood of ruin streams,
That star shall brighter shed its beams.
It shone upon a Saviour’s birth,
And chased the gathering gloom of earth.
No cloud obscures its holy ray,        35
Its torch was lit in realms above,
And from the shrine of boundless love
It flames with heaven’s own lucid day.
When is fulfilled Jehovah’s grace,
When other orbs no more have place,        40
’T will light th’ immensity of space.

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