Edith Nesbit

15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924 / Kennington / Surrey / England

Christmas Hymn

O CHRIST, born on the holy day,
I have no gift to give my King;
No flowers grow by my weary way;
I have no birthday song to sing.
How can I sing Thy name and praise,
Who never saw Thy face divine;
Who walk in darkness all my days,
And see no Eastern stars a-shine?
Yet, when their Christmas gifts they bring,
How can I leave Thy praise unsung?
How stay from homage to the King,
And hold a silent, grudging tongue?
Lord, I found many a song to sing,
And many a humble hymn of praise
For Thy great Miracle of Spring,
The wonder of the waxing days.
When I beheld Thy days and years,
Did I not sing Thy pleasant earth?
The moons of love, the years of tears,
The mysteries of death and birth?
Have I not sung with all my soul
While soul and song were mine to yield,
Thy lightning crown, Thy cloud-control,
The dewy clover of Thy field?
Have I not loved Thy birds and beasts,
Thy streams and woods, Thy sun and shade;
Have I not made me holy feasts
Of all the beauty Thou hast made?
What though my tear-tired eyes, alas!
Won never grace Thy face to see?
I heard Thy footstep on the grass,
Thy voice in every wind-blown tree.
No music now I make or win,
Yet, Lord, remember I have been
The lover of Thy world, wherein
I found nought common or unclean.
Grown old and blind, I sing no more,
Thy saints in heaven sing sweet and strong,
Yet take the songs I made of yore
For echoes to Thy birthday song.
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