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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 1 - 60/114 -


The silence of worship broke the mother's sleep. All the meek and lowly of all the world were there; Smiling, she showed them that her Child was fair, "Baby, my baby," kissing Him she said. Suddenly a flaming star through the heavens sped.

Three old men and weary knelt them side by side, The world's wealth forswearing, majesty and pride; Worldly might and wisdom before the Babe bent low: Weeping, maid Mary said, "I love Him so!" "Baby, my baby," and the Baby slept. Suddenly on Calvary all the olives wept.

Shaemas OSheel [1886-

GATES AND DOORS A Ballad of Christmas Eve

There was a gentle hostler (And blessed be his name!) He opened up the stable The night Our Lady came. Our Lady and St. Joseph, He gave them food and bed, And Jesus Christ has given him A glory round his head.

So let the gate swing open However poor the yard, Lest weary People visit you And find their Passage barred. Unlatch the door at midnight And let your lantern's glow Shine out to guide the traveler's feet To you across the snow.

There was a courteous hostler (He is in Heaven to-night) He held Our Lady's bridle And helped her to alight. He spread clean straw before her Whereon she might lie down, And Jesus Christ has given him An everlasting crown.

Unlock the door this evening And let your gate swing wide, Let all who ask for shelter Come speedily inside. What if your yard be narrow? What if your house be small? There is a Guest is coming Will glorify it all.

There was a joyous hostler Who knelt on Christmas morn Beside the radiant manger Wherein his Lord was born. His heart was full of laughter, His soul was full of bliss When Jesus, on His Mother's lap, Gave him His hand to kiss.

Unbar your heart this evening And keep no stranger out, Take from your soul's great portal The barrier of doubt. To humble folk and weary Give hearty welcoming, Your breast shall be to-morrow The cradle of a King.

Joyce Kilmer [1886-1918]

THE THREE KINGS

Three Kings came riding from far away, Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar; Three Wise Men out of the East were they, And they travelled by night and they slept by day, For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

The star was so beautiful, large and clear, That all the other stars of the sky Became a white mist in the atmosphere; And by this they knew that the coming was near Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows, Three caskets of gold with golden keys; Their robes were of crimson silk, with rows Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows, Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.

And so the Three Kings rode into the West, Through the dusk of night, over hill and dell, And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast, And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest, With the people they met at some wayside well.

"Of the child that is born," said Baltasar, "Good people, I pray you, tell us the news, For we in the East have seen his star, And have ridden fast, and have ridden far, To find and worship the King of the Jews."

And the people answered, "You ask in vain; We know of no king but Herod the Great!" They thought the Wise Men were men insane, As they spurred their horses across the plain Like riders in haste, and who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem, Herod the Great, who had heard this thing, Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them; And said, "Go down unto Bethlehem, And bring me tidings of this new king."

So they rode away, and the star stood still, The only one in the gray of morn; Yes, it stopped, - it stood still of its own free will, Right over Bethlehem on the hill, The city of David, where Christ was born.

And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard, Through the silent street, till their horses turned And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard; But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred, And only a light in the stable burned.

And cradled there in the scented hay, In the air made sweet by the breath of kine, The little child in the manger lay, The Child that would be King one day Of a kingdom not human, but divine.

His mother, Mary of Nazareth, Sat watching beside his place of rest, Watching the even flow of his breath, For the joy of life and the terror of death Were mingled together in her breast.

They laid their offerings at his feet: The gold was their tribute to a King; The frankincense, with its odor sweet, Was for the Priest, the Paraclete; The myrrh for the body's burying.

And the mother wondered and bowed her head, And sat as still as a statue of stone; Her heart was troubled yet comforted, Remembering what the Angel had said Of an endless reign and of David's throne.

Then the Kings rode out of the city gate, With a clatter of hoofs in proud array; But they went not back to Herod the Great, For they knew his malice and feared his hate, And returned to their homes by another way.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [1807-1882]

LULLABY IN BETHLEHEM

There hath come an host to see Thee, Baby dear, Bearded men with eyes of flame And lips of fear, For the heavens, they say, have broken Into blinding gulfs of glory, And the Lord, they say, hath spoken In a little wondrous story, Baby dear.

There have come three kings to greet Thee, Baby dear, Crowned with gold, and clad in purple, They draw near. They have brought rare silks to bind Thee, At Thy feet, behold, they spread them, From their thrones they sprang to find Thee, And a blazing star hath led them, Baby dear.

I have neither jade nor jasper, Baby dear, Thou art all my hope and glory, And my fear, Yet for all the gems that strew Thee, And the costly gowns that fold Thee, Yea, though all the world should woo Thee, Thou art mine - and fast I hold Thee, Baby dear.

Henry Howarth Bashford [1880-


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 1 - 60/114

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