POETRY: The Nativity Of Christ by Robert Southwell

The Nativity Of Christ by Robert Southwell

Behold: the father is his daughter’s son:
The bird that built the nest, is hatched therein:
The old of years, an hour hath not outrun:
Eternal life, to live doth now begin.
The Word is dumb: the mirth of heaven doth weep:
Might feeble is: and force doth faintly creep.

O dying souls, behold your living Spring:
O dazzled eyes, behold your Son of Grace:
Dull ears, attend what word this Word doth bring:
Up, heavy hearts: with joy your joy embrace.
From death, from dark, from deafness, from despairs:
This life, this light, this Word, this joy repairs.

Gift better than Himself, God doth not know:
Gift better than his God, no man can see:
This gift doth here the giver Given bestow:
Gift to this gift let each receiver be.
God is my gift, Himself he freely gave me:
God’s gift am I, and none but God shall have me.

Man altered was by sin from man to beast:
Beasts’ food is hay, hay is all mortal flesh:
Now God is flesh, and lies in Manger pressed
As hay, the brutest sinner to refresh.
O happy field wherein this fodder grew,
Whose taste doth us from beasts to men renew.


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