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That way no more! and ill beseems it me,
To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Nor do thou,
Sage Bard! impair the memory of that hour
Nor let my words import more blame than needs.
Eve following eve,
Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of Home
And when-O Friend! my comforter and guide! Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength !
Thy long sustained Song finally closed,
And thy deep voice had ceased—yet thou thyself
Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.*
THE shepherds went their hasty way,
Where the Virgin-Mother lay:
And now they check'd their eager tread,
They told her how a glorious light, Streaming from a heavenly throng, Around them shone, suspending night! While sweeter than a mother's song, Blest Angels heralded the Saviour's birth, Glory to God on high! and Peace on Earth.
She listen'd to the tale divine,
And closer still the Babe she prest;
* Morning Post, December 25, 1799.
And while she cried, the Babe is mine!
The milk rush'd faster to her breast:
Joy rose within her, like a summer's morn; Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born.
Thou Mother of the Prince of Peace, Poor, simple, and of low estate ! That strife should vanish, battle cease, O why should this thy soul elate? Sweet music's loudest note, the poet's story,— Didst thou ne'er love to hear of fame and glory?
And is not War a youthful king,
A stately hero clad in mail?
Beneath his footsteps laurels spring;
Him Earth's majestic monarchs hail
Their friend, their playmate! and his bold bright
Compels the maiden's love-confessing sigh.
"Tell this in some more courtly scene, To maids and youths in robes of state! I am a woman poor and mean,
And therefore is my soul elate.
War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled,*
* A ruffian thief with gore defiled-1799.
"A murderous fiend, * by fiends adored, He kills the sire and starves the son; The husband kills, and from her board Steals all his widow's toil had won; Plunders God's world of beauty; rends away All safety from the night, all comfort from the day.
"Then wisely is my soul elate,
That strife should vanish, battle cease : I'm poor and of a low estate,
The Mother of the Prince of Peace.
Joy rises in me, like a summer's morn :
Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born."
Strange prophecy! could half the screams
Of half the men that since have died
To realize War's kingly dreams
Have risen at once in one vast tide,
The choral music of Heaven's multitude Had been o'erpower'd and lost amid the uproar rude!]
THE VIRGIN'S CRADLE-HYMN.† [About thirteen years ago or more, travelling through the middle parts of Germany, I saw a little print of the Virgin and Child in the small public-house
+ Courier, August 30, 1811.
of a Catholic village with the following beautiful Latin lines under it, which I transcribed. They may be easily adapted to the air of the famous Sicilian Hymn, Adeste fideles, læti triumphantes, by the omission of a few notes.]
DORMI, Jesu! Mater ridet
Quæ tam dulcem somnum videt,
Si non dormis, Mater plorat,
Inter fila cantans orat,
Blande, veni, somnule.
Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling:
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
TRANSLATION OF A PASSAGE
IN OTTFRIED'S METRICAL
[This paraphrase, written about the time of Charlemagne, is by no means deficient in occasional passages of considerable poetic merit. There is a flow and a tender enthusiasm in the following lines which even in the translation will not, I flatter myself, fail to interest the reader. Ottfried is describing the circum
* Printed in Biographia Literaria, London, 1817, i. 204.