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A New Star

The Star of Bethlehem, Lord Frederick Leighton (1830-1896)

The Hymn

But peaceful was the night
Wherein the Prince of light
His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist
Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.

Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
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 bass of Heaven's deep organ blow,
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.

But see! the Virgin blest,
Hath laid her Babe to rest,
Time is our tedious song should here have ending,
Heaven's youngest teemed star,
Hath fix'd her polish'd car,
Her sleeping Lord with hand-maid lamp attending:
And all about the courtly stable,
Bright-harness'd Angels sit in order serviceable.

--John Milton (1608-1674)

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Reader Comments (5)

I love me some Milton. Haven't read him in years, though. Thanks!

December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Lyon

I just have to write me some poetry with the word kist in it. Love that!

December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi Ashworth

Wow. This is beautiful. Has it ever been set to music?

December 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercharrette

My dad used to have us celebrate Milton's birthday (which is in December, if I remember correctly). Cake and everything. Don't know if I ever told you that.

Oh, and I gave you an award tonight! Come pick it up!

December 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenna Consolo

Charrette, I know that the first two verses I've included here have been set to music (this poem has many, many verses that I left out).

The two verses are used in two separate sections of Ralph Vaughan Williams's gorgeous cantata "Hodie." The first is used for a soprano solo, while the second is included in the choral finale.

December 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

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