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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

Christmas Hymn

By John Pierpont (1785–1866)

[From Airs of Palestine, and Other Poems. 1840.—Poems. 1854.]

NO moon hung o’er the sleeping earth,

But on their thrones of light,

The stars, that sang ere morning’s birth,

Filled the blue vault of night

With heavenly music;—earthly ears

Not often catch the hymn;

It was “the music of the spheres,”

The song of seraphim.

But there were those in Judah’s land,

Who watched, that night, their fold,

Who heard the song of the angel band,

As o’er them was unrolled

The starry glory;—and there came

This burst of heavenly song,

From mellow tubes and lips of flame,

In chorus loud and long.

“To God be glory!—for, this day,

Hath shot, from Judah’s stem,

A Branch, that ne’er shall know decay:—

The royal diadem

Shall grace the brows of one, whom ye

Shall in a manger find;

For, him hath God raised up to be

The Saviour of mankind.

“To God be glory! Peace on earth!

Glory to God again!

For, with this infant Saviour’s birth,

There comes good-will to men!”—

Good-will to men! O, God, we hail

This, of thy law the sum;

For, as this shall o’er earth prevail,

So shall thy kingdom come.