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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Syria: Bethlehem

Christ’s Birth in an Inn

By Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667)

THE BLESSÉD Virgin travailed without pain,

And lodgéd in an inn,

A glorious star the sign,

But of a greater guest than ever came that way,

For there he lay

That is the God of night and day,

And over all the powers of heaven doth reign.

It was the time of great Augustus’ tax,

And then He comes

That pays all sums,

Even the whole price of lost humanity;

And sets us free

From the ungodly emperie

Of sin, of Satan, and of death.

O, make our hearts, blest God, thy lodging-place!

And in our breast

Be pleased to rest,

For thou lov’st temples better than an inn,

And cause that sin

May not profane the Deity within,

And sully o’er the ornaments of grace.—Amen.