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Annunciation to the Shepherds

The Shepherds, Arnold Friberg (b. 1913)

New Prince, New Pomp

Behold a silly tender Babe,
In freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies
Alas! a piteous sight.

The inns are full, no man will yield
This little Pilgrim bed;
But forced He is with silly beasts
In crib to shroud His head.

Despise Him not for lying there,
First what He is inquire;
An orient pearl is often found
In depth of dirty mire.

Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,
Nor beasts that by Him feed;
Weigh not His mother's poor attire,
Nor Joseph's simple weed.

This stable is a prince's court,
This crib His chair of state;
The beasts are parcel of His pomp,
The wooden dish His plate.

With joy approach, O Christian Wight!
Do homage to thy King;
And highly praise this humble pomp
Which He from heaven doth bring.

--Robert Southwell (1516-1595)

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Reader Comments (5)

I really enjoyed that poem. I've never heard it before. Thanks for sharing!

December 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSydneyMin

Gorgeous! Has that ever been set to music? The meter suggests it.

December 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVirtualsprite

Virtualsprite, as far as I know, it has not.

The only thing I know of Southwell's that has been set to music is "This Little Babe," which appears in Benjamin Britten's gorgeous piece "A Ceremony of Carols."

December 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa Perkins

love that picture!

December 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Wright

I just sang this last weekend as part of Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols. The melody is absolutely haunting.

December 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercharrette

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