An Early Modern Christmas Poem

“Christmas (II)”

by George Herbert

The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
      My God, no hymn for Thee?
My soul’s a shepherd too; a flock it feeds
      Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is Thy word: the streams, Thy grace
      Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
      Outsing the daylight hours.
Then will we chide the sun for letting night
      Take up his place and right:
We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should
      Himself the candle hold.
I will go searching, till I find a sun
      Shall stay, till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
      As frost-nipped suns look sadly.
Then will we sing, and shine all our own day,
      And one another pay:
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev’n His beams sing, and my music shine.

 

(Since 2008, I have posted a Christmas poem on either my blog or on Facebook.  Past poems have included Ben Jonson’s “A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior,” John Donne’s “Annunciation” and “Nativity” from La Corona, “To Christ Our Lord” by Galway Kinnell, and “The Nativity Ode” by John Milton.”)

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