* * * * *
Through the blue and frosty
Christmas stars were shining bright;
Glistening lamps throughout the City
Almost matched their gleaming light;
While the winter snow was lying,
And the winter winds were sighing,
Long ago, one Christmas night.
* * * * *
Rich and poor felt love and
From the gracious season fall;
Joy and plenty in the cottage,
Peace and feasting in the hall;
And the voices of the children
Ringing clear above it all.
Yet one house was dim and darkened;
Gloom, and sickness, and despair,
Dwelling in the gilded chambers,
Creeping up the marble stair,
Even stilled the voice of mourning,—
For a child lay dying there.
Silken curtains fell around
Velvet carpets hushed the tread,
Many costly toys were lying
All unheeded by his bed;
And his tangled golden ringlets
Were on downy pillows spread.
The skill of all that mighty
To save one little life was vain,—
One little thread from being broken,
One fatal word from being spoken;
Nay, his very mother’s pain
And the mighty love within her
Could not give him health again.
* * * * *
Suddenly an unseen Presence
Checked those constant moaning cries,
Stilled the little heart’s quick fluttering,
Raised those blue and wondering eyes,
Fixed on some mysterious vision
With a startled, sweet surprise.
For a radiant angel hovered,
Smiling, o’er the little bed;
White his raiment; from his shoulders
Snowy dove-like pinions spread,
And a starlike light was shining
In a glory round his head.
While, with tender love, the
Leaning o’er the little nest,
In his arms the sick child folding,
Laid him gently on his breast,
Sobs and wailings told the mother
That her darling was at rest.
So the angel, slowly rising,
Spread his wings, and through the air
Bore the child; and, while he held him
To his heart with loving care,
Placed a branch of crimson roses
Tenderly beside him there.
While the child, thus clinging,
Towards the mansions of the Blest,
Gazing from his shining guardian
To the flowers upon his breast,
Thus the angel spake, still smiling
On the little heavenly guest:
“Know, dear little one,
Does no earthly thing disdain;
Man’s poor joys find there an echo
Just as surely as his pain;
Love, on earth so feebly striving,
Lives divine in Heaven again.
“Once, in that great town
In a poor and narrow street,
Dwelt a little sickly orphan;
Gentle aid, or pity sweet,
Never in life’s rugged pathway
Guided his poor tottering feet.