Christ’s Nativity

Christ’s Nativity

AWAKE, glad heart ! Get up, and sing !
It is the birthday of thy King.
        Awake ! awake !
        The sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

Awake, awake !  hark how th’ wood rings,
Winds whisper, and the busy springs
        A consort make ;
        Awake ! awake !
Man is their high-priest, and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.

I would I were some bird, or star,
Flutt’ring in woods, or lifted far
        Above this inn
        And road of sin !
Then either star, or bird, should be
Shining, or singing still, to Thee.

I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for Thee !  or that my heart
        Were so clean as
        Thy manger was !
But I am all filth, and obscene ;
Yet if Thou wilt, Thou canst make clean.

Sweet Jesu !  will then ; let no more
This leper haunt, and soil Thy door !
        Cure him, ease him,
        O release him !
And let once more, by mystic birth,
The Lord of life be borne in Earth.


How kind is Heav’n to man !  If here
        One sinner doth amend,
Straight there is joy, and ev’ry sphere
        In music doth contend ;
And shall we then no voices lift ?
        Are mercy, and salvation
Not worth our thanks ?  Is life a gift
        Of no more acceptation ?
Shall He that did come down from thence,
        And here for us was slain,
Shall He be now cast off ?  no sense

Of all His woes remain ?

Can neither love, nor suff’rings bind ?
        Are we all stone, and earth ?
Neither His bloody passions mind,
        Nor one day bless His birth ?
Alas, my God !   Thy birth now here
Must not be number’d in the year.

Henry Vaughan

Vaughan, Henry. The Poems of Henry Vaughan, Silurist. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, Ed. London, Lawrence & Bullen Ltd., 1896.