Lift up your eyes, whoe'er ye be

That fare the new-born Christ to see:

For yonder is the shining sign

Of grace perennial and divine.

What means this star, whose piercing rays

Outshine the sun's resplendent blaze?

'Tis token sure that God is come

In mortal flesh to make His home.

No courtier of the realms of night

Nor monthly moon's bright acolyte,

This star directs the course of day,

Sole sovereign of the heavenly way.

Although the Bears their track retrace,

Nor wholly their clear beams efface,

Yet ofttimes 'neath the dun cloud's haze

They hide themselves from mortal gaze.

But yon Star's glory hath no end,

Nor to the depths can it descend:

It ne'er is whelmed by envious cloud

That seeks its beauty to enshroud.

Now let the baleful comet die,

The brood of blazing Sirius fly:

God's orb shall quench their sultry heats

And drive them from their haughty seats.

Lo! from the regions of the morn

Wherein the radiant sun is born,

The Persian sages see on high

God's ensign shining in the sky.

Soon as its rising beams prevail

The starry hosts in order pale:

E'en Lucifer durst not upraise

The silvery splendours of his face.

Who is this sovereign (they enquire)

That lords it o'er the ethereal choir?

'Fore whom the heavens bow down afraid,

Of all the worlds of light obeyed?

Sure 'tis the sign most reverend

Of Being that doth know no end:

Of One in state sublime arrayed

Ere sky and chaos yet were made.

This is the King of Israel,

Of all in Gentile lands that dwell:

The King to Abram and his seed

Throughout all ages erst decreed.

To him 'twas given his progeny

As stars innumerous to see:

First of believers! moved to slay

His only son, so God to obey.

Behold the Flower of David shine,

Of Jesse's root the Branch benign:

The sceptre spread with blossoms rare

Wields o'er the world its lordship fair.

Roused by the portent of the sky

The sages fix their gaze on high,

And speed them 'neath the furrowed way

Marked by the star's effulgent ray.

At length its flaming steps it stayed

Poised over where the Child was laid:

Straightway with downcast mien it shed

Its splendours on the sacred Head.

Whereat the travellers outpour

Of Eastern gifts their treasure-store,

Myrrh and sweet-smelling frankincense,

Gold meet for regal opulence.

Behold herein the triple sign

Of Thy pure being, King divine:

Seeing the Father willed in Thee

To plant a threefold majesty.

The gift of gold thee King proclaims:

Thee God the fragrant incense names:

The myrrh declares that Death shall thrust

Within the tomb Thy body's dust.

Ah! that dark sepulchre, whose fold

God's body quenched in death doth hold:

Yet shall He from that durance wake

And Death's strong prison-fetters break.

O Bethlehem! no longer thou

The least of cities: all shall vow

That thou art greatest on the earth:

For thou man's King didst bring to birth.

Yea thou didst on thy bosom bear

The All-loving Father's only heir:

Man of the Thunderer's Spirit made

And God in human flesh arrayed.

The prophets witnessed to the bond

Which sealed to Him the realm profound:

The Father's Kingdom He received

And the vast legacy perceived.

All things are His in sea and sky,

In hell beneath, in heaven on high:

From East to setting sun, in fee

He holds the earth's immensity.

Distraught, the tyrant base doth hear

That now the King of Kings draws near

To reign in David's seat of state

And Israel's empire dominate.

"Betrayed are we," he maddened cries,

"Our throne's usurper doth arise:

Go, soldiers, go with sword in hand

And slay all babes within my land.

"Spare no male child: each nurse's robe

Your scrutinizing steel must probe:

Spare not the suckling infant, though

O'er mother's breast its life-blood flow.

"On Bethlehem our suspicion falls,

On every hearth within its walls:

Lest mothers with love's tender zeal

Some manly scion may conceal."

With daggers drawn the infuriate crew

Upon their murderous errand flew:

Each latest offspring of the womb

To bloody death they foully doom.

Ah tiny limbs! 'twas hard to know

How best to strike the fatal blow:

Too wide the sword-blades are to smite

Those throats so silken-fragile, slight.

O horrid sight! the tender bones

Are dashed against the jaggèd stones:

Sightless and mangled there they lie,

Poor babes! untimely doomed to die.

Perchance the still deep river laves

Their bodies thrust into the waves:

The current with their sighing sighs,

Sobs with their latest, broken cries.

Ye flowers of martyrdom, all hail!

Of rising morn pure blossoms frail!

By Jesu's foe were ye downcast,

Like budding roses by the blast.

Lambs of the flock too early slain,

Ye first fruits of Christ's bitter pain!

Close to His very altar, gay

With palms and crowns, ye now do play.

Of what avail is deed so vile?

Doth Herod gain by murderous guile?

Of all to death so foully done

Escapes triumphant Christ alone.

Amidst that tide of infant gore

Alone He wins the sheltering shore:

The virgin's Child survives the stroke,

When every mother's heart was broke.

Thus Moses 'scaped the mad decree

Of evil Pharaoh and set free

The flock of God, prefiguring so

Christ spared from fate's malignant blow.

Vain too the king's hostility

Who framed the pitiless decree

That Israel's mothers should not rear

To manhood's strength their offspring dear.

Quickened by love, a woman's mind

Found means to thwart that law unkind,

And, falsely true, the child concealed

Destined to be his people's Shield.

On him it was that God did place

The august priesthood's holy grace,

The law on stony tablets writ

Did to his trembling hands commit.

And may we not with prophet's eye

In such a hero Christ descry?

The proud Egyptian's might he broke

And freed his kinsmen from the yoke.

So we by Error's might hemmed round

Were by our Captain's strength unbound:

His foe He wounded in the fight

And saved us from Death's horrid night.

Cheering by sign of flame their feet,

Moses renewed with waters sweet

His folk, albeit purified

From stain, what time they crossed the tide.

And he, remote on peaceful height,

Amalek's banded hosts did smite:

He prayed with arms stretched out above,

Foreshadowing the Cross of Love.

Yet truer Jesus surely he,

Who after many a victory

And labours long the tribes' renown

With promised heritage did crown;

Who when the waters rose on high

And now the Jordan's bed was dry,

Set up twelve stones of memory,

Types of apostles yet to be.

Rightly the Wise Men said, I ween,

That they Judaea's King had seen,

Since noble deeds of other days

Prophetic chant the Saviour's praise.

Of those old rulers He is King

Who did to Jacob judgment bring,

King of the Mother Church divine,

God's ancient and God's present Shrine.

Of Ephraim's sons He is adored:

Manasseh's sacred house as Lord

Reveres Him: to His might the seed

Of brethren twelve their fealty plead.

Nay, each degenerate race hath fled

Its shameful rites and orgies dread:

Grim Baal in glowing furnace cast

Sinks to the earth, forsook at last.

Idols smoke-blackened, wooden-hewn,

Of brass and stone, in dust are strewn:

The chiselled deities downtrod:

For all confess in Christ their God.

Rejoice all peoples, Jewry, Rome,

Fair Hellas, Thrace, Aegyptus' home:

Persians and Scythian land forlorn,

Rejoice: the world's great King is born!

Behold your Chief! His praise forth tell:

Ye sick, ye hale, all heaven and hell:

Ay, you whose vital spark hath sped:

For lo! in Him e'en Death is dead.

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