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The Holy Family

The Nativity, William Bell Scott (1811-1890)

Before the Paling of the Stars

Before the paling of the stars,
Before the winter morn,
Before the earliest cock-crow,
Jesus Christ was born:
Born in a stable,
Cradled in a manger,
In the world His Hands had made
Born a stranger.

Priest and King lay fast asleep
In Jerusalem,
Young and old lay fast asleep
In crowded Bethlehem:
Saint and angel, ox and ass,
Kept a watch together
Before the Christmas daybreak
In the winter weather.

Jesus on His mother's breast
In the stable cold,
Spotless Lamb of God was He,
Shepherd of the Fold:
Let us kneel with Mary Maid,
With Joseph bent and hoary,
With saint and angel, ox and ass,
To hail the King of Glory.

--Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Reader Comments (3)

I hate that word "Hoary" and always have to remind myself that it simply means old. Beautiful painting! Keep up the good work, Luisa!

December 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi Ashworth

I'm glad you put this one in the collection. I love Christina Rossetti.

December 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenna Consolo

I like this poem, it's easier to read than some of the other older ones.

December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGoofball

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