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The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw - Volume I by Richard Crashaw
Come we shepherds, whose blest sight
Hath met love’s noon in nature’s night;
   Come lift up our loftier song
And wake the sun that lies too long.

To all the world of well-stol’n joy
   He slept; and dreamt of no such thing.
While we found out Heaven’s fairer eye
   And kissed the cradle of our King.
Tell him he rises now, too late
To show us aught worth looking at.

Tell him we now can show him more
   Than he e’er showed to mortal sight;
Than he himself e’er saw before;
   Which to be seen needs not his light.
Tell him, Tityrus, where thou hast been,
Tell him, Tityrus, what thou hast seen.

Gloomy night embraced the place
   Where the noble Infant lay.
The Babe looked up and showed His face;
   In spite of darkness, it was day.
It was Thy day, Sweet! and did rise
Not from the East, but from Thine eyes.

It was Thy day, Sweet! and did rise
Not from the East, but from Thine eyes.

Winter chid aloud; and sent
   The angry North to wage his wars.
The North forgot his fierce intent,
   And left perfumes instead of scars.
By those sweet eyes’ persuasive powers,
Where he meant frost, he scattered flowers.

By those sweet eyes’ persuasive powers,
Where he meant frost, he scattered flowers.

We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
   Young Dawn of our eternal day!
We saw Thine eyes break from Their East
   And chase the trembling shades away.
We saw Thee; and we blessed the sight,
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.

Poor world (said I), what wilt thou do
   To entertain this starry Stranger?
Is this the best thou canst bestow?
   A cold, and not too cleanly, manger?
Contend, ye powers of heaven and earth
To fit a bed for this huge birth.

Contend, ye powers of heaven and earth
To fit a bed for this huge birth.

Proud world, said I; cease your contest
   And let the mighty Babe alone.
The phoenix builds the phoenix’ nest,
   Love’s architecture is his own.
The Babe whose birth embraves this morn,
Made His own bed ere He was born.

The Babe whose birth embraves this morn,
Made His own bed ere He was born.

I saw the curled drops, soft and slow,
   Come hovering o’er the place’s head;
Offering their whitest sheets of snow
   To furnish the fair Infant’s bed:
Forbear, said I; be not too bold:
Your fleece is white, but ’tis too cold.

Forbear, said we; be not too bold:
Your fleece is white, but ’tis too cold.

I saw the obsequious seraphims
   Their rosy fleece of fire bestow.
For well they now can spare their wings,
   Since heaven itself lies here below.
Well done, said I: but are you sure
Your down, so warm, will pass for pure?

Well done, said we: but are you sure
Your down, so warm, will pass for pure?

No, no, your King’s not yet to seek
   Where to repose His royal head.
See, see, how soon His bloomed cheek
   Twixt ’s mother’s ******* is gone to bed.
Sweet choice, said I! no way but so:
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow.

Sweet choice, said we! no way but so:
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow.

We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
   Young Dawn of our eternal day!
We saw Thine eyes break from Their East
   And chase the trembling shades away.
We saw Thee; and we blessed the sight,
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.

We saw Thee; and we blessed the sight,
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.

Welcome, all Wonders in one sight!
   Eternity shut in a span.
Summer to winter, day in night,
   Heaven in earth, and God in man.
Great little One! Whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth.

Welcome, though nor to gold nor silk,
   To more than Caesar’s birthright is;
Twin sister-seas of ******-milk,
   With many rarely-tempered kiss
That breathes at once both maid and mother,
Warms in the one, cools in the other.

Welcome, though not to those gay flies,
   Gilded in the beams of earthly kings,
Slippery souls in smiling eyes;
   But to poor shepherds, home-spun things,
Whose wealth’s their flock, whose wit, to be
Well read in their simplicity.

Yet when April’s husband showers
   Shall bless the fruitful Maia’s bed,
We’ll bring the first-born of her flowers
   To kiss Thy feet and crown Thy head.
To Thee, dread Lamb! whose love must keep
The shepherds, more than they their sheep.

To Thee, meek Majesty! soft King
   Of simple graces and sweet loves.
Each of us his lamb will bring,
   Each his pair of silver doves;
Till burnt at last in fire of Thy fair eyes,
Ourselves become our own best sacrifice.
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   SPT and Justin Shoemaker
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