John Milton

Here you will find the Long Poem Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity of poet John Milton

Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity

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 neer upon her foul deformities. 

But he her fears to cease, 
Sent down the meek-eyd 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 hooked Chariot stood 
Unstain'd with hostile blood, 
   The Trumpet spake not to the armed throng, 
And Kings sate still with awfull eye, 
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by. 

But peacefull was the night 
Wherin the Prince of light 
   His raign of peace upon the earth began: 
The Windes with wonder whist, 
Smoothly the waters kist, 
   Whispering new joyes to the milde Ocean, 
Who now hath quite forgot to rave, 
While Birds of Calm sit brooding on the charmeed wave. 

The Stars with deep amaze 
Stand fixt in stedfast gaze, 
   Bending one way their pretious influence, 
And will not take their flight, 
For all the morning light, 
   Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence; 
But in their glimmering Orbs did glow, 
Untill their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go. 

And though the shady gloom 
Had given day her room, 
   The Sun himself with-held his wonted speed, 
And hid his head for shame, 
As his inferiour flame, 
   The new enlightn'd world no more should need; 
He saw a greater Sun appear 
Then his bright Throne, or burning Axletree could bear. 

The Shepherds on the Lawn, 
Or ere the point of dawn, 
   Sate simply chatting in a rustick row; 
Full little thought they than, 
That the mighty Pan 
   Was kindly com to live with them below; 
Perhaps their loves, or els their sheep, 
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busie keep. 

When such musick sweet 
Their hearts and ears did greet, 
   As never was by mortall finger strook, 
Divinely-warbled voice 
Answering the stringed noise, 
   As all their souls in blisfull rapture took 
The Air such pleasure loth to lose, 
With thousand echo's still prolongs each heav'nly close. 

Nature that heard such sound 
Beneath the hollow round 
   Of Cynthia's seat, the Airy region thrilling, 
Now was almost won 
To think her part was don, 
   And that her raign had here its last fulfilling; 
She knew such harmony alone 
Could hold all Heav'n and Earth in happier union. 

At last surrounds their sight 
A Globe of circular light, 
   That with long beams the shame-fac't night array'd, 
The helmed Cherubim 
And sworded Seraphim, 
   Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displaid, 
Harping in loud and solemn quire, 
With unexpressive notes to Heav'ns new-born Heir. 

Such musick (as 'tis said) 
Before was never made, 
   But when of old the sons of morning sung, 
While the Creator Great 
His constellations set, 
   And the well-ballanc't world on hinges hung, 
And cast the dark foundations deep, 
And bid the weltring waves their oozy channel keep. 

Ring out ye Crystall sphears, 
Once bless our human ears, 
   (If ye have power to touch our senses so) 
And let your silver chime 
Move in melodious time; 
   And let the Base of Heav'ns deep Organ blow 
And with your ninefold harmony 
Make up full consort to th'Angelike symphony. 

For if such holy Song 
Enwrap our fancy long, 
   Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold, 
And speckl'd vanity 
Will sicken soon and die, 
   And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould, 
And Hell it self will pass away, 
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day. 

Yea Truth, and Justice then 
Will down return to men, 
   Th'enameld Arras of the Rain-