Verse > Anthologies > Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. > Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c.
Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C.  1921.
Richard Crashaw
101. Hymn of the Nativity
Sung as by the Shepheards
Chorus. COME we shepheards whose blest Sight 
Hath mett love's Noon in Nature's night; 
  Come lift we up our loftyer Song 
And wake the SUN that lyes too long. 
  To all our world of well-stoln joy         5
He slept; and dream't of no such thing; 
  While we found out Heavn's fairer eye 
And Kis't the Cradle of our KING. 
  Tell him He rises now too late 
To show us ought worth looking at.  10
  Tell him we now can show Him more 
Then He e're show'd to mortall Sight; 
  Then he Himselfe e're saw before; 
Which to be seen needes not His light. 
  Tell him, Tityrus, where th' hast been,  15
Tell him, Thyrsis, what th' hast seen. 
  Tityrus. Gloomy night embrac't the Place 
Where The Noble Infant lay. 
  The BABE look't up & shew'd his Face; 
In spite of Darknes, it was DAY.  20
  It was THY day, SWEET! & did rise 
Not from the EAST, but from thine EYES. 
  Chorus. It was THY day, Sweet, &c. 
  Thyrs. WINTER chidde aloud; & sent 
The angry North to wage his warres.  25
  The North forgott his feirce Intent; 
And left perfumes in stead of scarres. 
  By those sweet eyes persuasive powrs 
Where he mean't frost, he scatter'd flowrs. 
  Chorus. By those sweet eyes, &c.  30
  Both. We saw thee in thy baulmy Nest, 
Young dawn of our æternall DAY! 
  We saw thine eyes break from their EASTE 
And chase the trembling shades away. 
  We saw thee; & we blest the sight,  35
We saw thee by thine own sweet light. 
  Tity. Poor WORLD (said I) what wilt thou doe 
To entertain this starry STRANGER? 
  Is this the best thou canst bestow? 
A cold, and not too cleanly, manger?  40
  Contend ye powres of heav'n & earth 
To fitt à bed for this huge birthe. 
  Cho. Contend ye powers, &c. 
  Thyr. Proud world, said I; cease your contest, 
And let the MIGHTY BABE alone.  45
  The Phænix builds the Phænix' nest. 
Lov's architecture is his own. 
  The BABE whose birth embraves this morn, 
Made his own bed e're he was born. 
  Cho. The BABE whose, &c.  50
  Tit. I saw the curl'd drops, soft & slow, 
Come hovering o're the place's head; 
  Offring their whitest sheets of snow 
To furnish the fair INFANT'S bed: 
  Forbear, said I; be not too bold.  55
Your fleece is white, But t'is too cold. 
  Cho. Forbear, sayd I, &c. 
  Thyr. I saw the obsequious SERAPHINS 
Their rosy fleece of fire bestow, 
  For well they now can spare their wings,  60
Since HEAVN it self lyes here below. 
  Well done, said I: but are you sure 
Your down so warm, will passe for pure? 
  Cho. Well done sayd I, &c. 
  Tit. No no, your KING'S not yet to seeke  65
Where to repose his Royall HEAD, 
  See see, how soon his new-bloom'd CHEEK 
Twixt's mother's brests is gone to bed. 
  Sweet choise, said we! no way but so 
Not to ly cold, yet sleep in snow.  70
  Cho. Sweet choise, said we, &c. 
  Both. We saw thee in thy baulmy nest, 
Bright dawn of our æternall Day! 
  We saw thine eyes break from thir EAST 
And chase the trembling shades away.  75
  We saw thee: & we blest the sight. 
We saw thee, by thine own sweet light. 
  Cho. We saw thee, &c. 
Full Chorus.   Wellcome, all WONDERS in one sight! 
Æternity shutt in a span.  80
  Sommer in Winter. Day in Night. 
Heaven in earth, & GOD in MAN. 
  Great little one! whose all-embracing birth 
Lifts earth to heaven, stoopes heav'n to earth. 
  WELLCOME. Though nor to gold nor silk.  85
To more then Cæsar's birth right is; 
  Two sister-seas of Virgin-Milk, 
With many a rarely-temper'd kisse 
  That breathes at once both MAID & MOTHER, 
Warmes in the one, cooles in the other.  90
  WELLCOME, though not to those gay flyes 
Guilded ith' Beames of earthly kings; 
  Slippery soules in smiling eyes; 
But to poor Shepherds, home-spun things: 
  Whose Wealth 's their flock; whose witt, to be  95
Well read in their simplicity. 
  Yet when young April's husband showrs 
Shall blesse the fruitfull Maia's bed, 
  We'l bring the First-born of her flowrs 
To kisse thy FEET & crown thy HEAD. 100
  To thee, dread Lamb! whose love must keep 
The shepheards, more then they the sheep. 
  To THEE meek Majesty! soft KING 
Of simple GRACES & sweet LOVES. 
  Each of us his lamb will bring 105
Each his pair of sylver Doves; 
  Till burnt at last in fire of Thy fair eyes, 
Our selves become our own best SACRIFICE. 

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