Christ's Nativity

1 Awake, glad heart! get up and sing!
2 It is the birth-day of thy King.
3 Awake! awake!
4 The Sun doth shake
5 Light from his locks, and all the way
6 Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

7 Awake, awake! hark how th' wood rings;
8 Winds whisper, and the busy springs
9 A concert make;
10 Awake! awake!
11 Man is their high-priest, and should rise
12 To offer up the sacrifice.

13 I would I were some bird, or star,
14 Flutt'ring in woods, or lifted far
15 Above this inn
16 And road of sin!
17 Then either star or bird should be
18 Shining or singing still to thee.

19 I would I had in my best part
20 Fit rooms for thee! or that my heart
21 Were so clean as
22 Thy manger was!
23 But I am all filth, and obscene;
24 Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean.

25 Sweet Jesu! will then. Let no more
26 This leper haunt and soil thy door!
27 Cure him, ease him,
28 O release him!
29 And let once more, by mystic birth,
30 The Lord of life be born in earth.

Peace? and to all the world? sure, One
And He the Prince of Peace, hath none.
He travels to be born, and then
Is born to travel more again.
Poor Galilee! thou canst not be
The place for His nativity.
His restless mother's called away,
And not delivered till she pay.
A tax? 'tis so still! we can see
The church thrive in her misery;
And like her Head at Bethlem, rise
When she, oppressed with troubles, lies.
Rise? should all fall, we cannot be
In more extremities than He.
Great Type of passions! come what will,
Thy grief exceeds all copies still.
Thou cam'st from heaven to earth, that we
Might go from earth to heaven with Thee.
And though Thou foundest no welcome here,
Thou didst provide us mansions there.
A stable was Thy court, and when
Men turned to beasts, beasts would be men.
They were Thy courtiers, others none;
And their poor manger was Thy throne.
No swaddling silks Thy limbs did fold,
Though Thou couldst turn Thy rays to gold.
No rockers waited on Thy birth,
No cradles stirred, nor songs of mirth;
But her chaste lap and sacred breast
Which lodged Thee first did give Thee rest.
But stay: what light is that doth stream,
And drop here in a gilded beam?
It is Thy star runs page, and brings
Thy tributary Eastern kings.
Lord! grant some light to us, that we
May with them find the way to Thee.
Behold what mists eclipse the day:
How dark it is! shed down one ray
To guide us out of this sad night,
And say once more, "Let there be light."

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