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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Christmas Hymn

By Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909)

TELL me what is this innumerable throng

Singing in the heavens a loud angelic song?

These are they who come with swift and shining feet

From round about the throne of God the Lord of Light to greet.

Oh, who are these that hasten beneath the starry sky—

As if with joyful tidings that through the world shall fly?—

The faithful shepherds these, who greatly were afeared

When, as they watched their flocks by night, the heavenly host appeared.

Who are these that follow across the hills of night

A star that westward hurries along the fields of light?

Three wise men from the East who myrrh and treasure bring

To lay them at the feet of him their Lord and Christ and King.

What babe new-born is this that in a manger cries?

Near on her lowly bed his happy mother lies.

Oh, see the air is shaken with white and heavenly wings—

This is the Lord of all the earth, this is the King of Kings.