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THE NATIVITY, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: For thou wert born of woman! Thou didst come
Last Line: In its own radiancy.
Variant Title(s): Ode, To The Saviour
Subject(s): Jesus Christ

FOR thou wert born of woman! thou didst come,
O Holiest! to this world of sin and gloom,
Not in thy dread omnipotent array;
And not by thunders strew'd
Was thy tempestuous road;
Nor indignation burnt before thee on thy way;
But thee, a soft and naked child,
Thy mother undefiled
In the rude manger laid to rest
From off her virgin breast.

The heavens were not commanded to prepare
A gorgeous canopy of golden air;
Nor stoop'd their lamps th'enthroned fires on high:
A single silent star
Came wandering from afar,
Gliding uncheck'd and calm along the liquid sky;
The eastern sages leading on,
As at a kingly throne,
To lay their gold and odours sweet
Before thy infant feet.

The earth and ocean were not hush'd to hear
Bright harmony from every starry sphere;
Nor at thy presence brake the voice of song
From all the cherub choirs,
And seraphs' burning lyres,
Pour'd through the host of heaven the charmed clouds along.
One angel-troop the strain began,
Of all the race of man
By simple shepherds heard alone,
That soft hosanna's tone.

And when thou didst depart, no car of flame
To bear thee hence in lambient radiance came;
Nor visible angels mourn'd with drooping plumes:
Nor didst thou mount on high
From fatal Calvary,
With all thine own redeem'd out bursting from their tombs.
For thou didst bear away from earth
But one of human birth,
The dying felon by thy side, to be
In Paradise with thee.

Nor o'er thy cross the clouds of vengeance brake;
A little while the conscious earth did shake
At that foul deed by her fierce children done;
A few dim hours of day
The world in darkness lay;
Then bask'd in bright repose beneath the cloudless sun.
While thou didst sleep within the tomb,
Consenting to thy doom;
Ere yet the white-robed angel shone
Upon the sealed stone.

And when thou didst arise, thou didst not stand
With devastation in thy red right hand,
Plaguing the guilty city's murderous crew:
But thou didst haste to meet
Thy mother's coming feet,
And bear the words of peace unto the faithful few.
Then calmly, slowly didst thou rise
Into thy native skies,
Thy human form dissolved on high
In its own radiancy.

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