Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity
(selected verses)


It was the Winter wilde,
While the Heav'n-born-childe,
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in aw to him
Had doff't her gawdy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun her lusty Paramour.

Only with speeches fair
She woo's the gentle Air
To hide her guilty front with innocent Snow,
And on her naked shame,
Pollute with sinfull blame,
The Saintly Vail of Maiden white to throw,
Confounded, that her Makers eyes
Should look so near her foul deformities.

But He her fears to cease
Sent down the meek-eyed Peace;
She, crown'd with Olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning Sphear
His ready Harbinger,
With Turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing,
And waving wide her mirtle wand
She strikes a universall Peace through Sea and Land.

No War, or Battails sound
Was heard the World around,
The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The hookèd Chariot stood
Unstain'd with hostile blood,
The Trumpet spake not to the armèd throng,
And Kings sate still with awfull eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.

John Milton, 1608-1674

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