Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Hymn for Christmas
By Nathaniel H. Carter (1787–1830)
 
IN 1 hymns of praise, eternal God!
  When thy creating hand
Stretch’d the blue arch of heaven abroad,
  And meted sea and land,
    The morning stars together sung,        5
    And shouts of joy from angels rung.
 
Than Earth’s prime hour, more joyous far
  Was the eventful morn,
When the bright beam of Bethlehem’s star
  Announced a Saviour born!        10
    Then sweeter strains from heaven began—
    “Glory to God—good will to man.”
 
Babe of the manger! can it be?
  Art thou the Son of God?
Shall subject nations bow the knee,        15
  And kings obey thy nod?
    Shall thrones and monarchs prostrate fall
    Before the tenant of a stall?
 
’T is He! the hymning seraphs cry,
  While hovering, drawn to earth;        20
’T is he! the shepherds’ songs reply,
  Hail! hail Emmanuel’s birth!
    The rod of peace those hands shall bear,
    That brow a crown of glory wear!
 
’T is He! the eastern sages sing,        25
  And spread their golden hoard;
’T is He! the hills of Sion ring,
  Hosanna to the Lord!
    The Prince of long prophetic years
    To day in Bethlehem appears!        30
 
He comes! the Conqueror’s march begins,
  No blood his banner stains;
He comes to save the world from sins,
  And break the captive’s chains!
    The poor, the sick and blind shall bless        35
    The Prince of Peace and Righteousness.
 
Though now in swaddling-clothes he lies,
  All hearts his power shall own,
When he, with legions of the skies,
  The clouds of heaven his throne,        40
    Shall come to judge the quick and dead,
    And strike a trembling world with dread.
 
Note 1. Carter was formerly one of the professors at Dartmouth College, and is now the editor of the New York Statesman. He is extensively known as the author of two volumes of Travels in Europe, published in 1827. His poetry consists of short pieces, chiefly occasional. [back]
 
 
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