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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)

The Nativity

SHE 1 gave with joy her virgin breast;
She hid it not, she bared the breast
Which suckled that divinest babe!
Blessed, blessed, were the breasts
Which the Saviour infant kissed;        5
And blessed, blessed was the mother,
Who wrapped His limbs in swaddling clothes,
Singing placed Him on her lap,
Hung o’er Him with her looks of love,
And soothed Him with a lulling motion.        10
Blessed, for she sheltered Him
From the damp and chilling air;
Blessed, blessed for she lay
With such a babe in one blest bed,
Close as babes and mothers lie.        15
Blessed, blessed evermore,
With her virgin lips she kiss’d,
With her arms and to her breast
She embraced the babe divine,
Her babe divine the virgin mother!        20
There lives not on this ring of earth
A mortal that can sing her praise.
Mighty mother, virgin pure,
In the darkness and the night,
For us she bore the heavenly Lord.        25
Note 1. It is no less true of Coleridge than of Wordsworth, that he is commonly most religious when he makes least effort to be so, besides being far more poetical. Accordingly, the editor has preferred the poem “To his Child,” extracted from “Frost at Midnight,” and the fragment taken from the “Ode to Joy,” before the “Religious Musings” and the “Ode in the Vale of Chamouni.” [back]