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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

For the Nativitie of Our Lord

William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585–1649)

O THAN, the fairest day, thrice fairer night,

Night to best days, in which a sun doth rise,

Of which the golden eye, which clears the skies,

Is but a sparkling ray, a shadow light;

And blessed ye, in silly pastor’s sight,

Mild creatures, in whose warm crib now lies

That heaven-sent youngling, holy-maid-born wight,

Midst, end, beginning of our prophecies:

Blest cottage, that hath flowers in winter spread;

Though wither’d, blessed grass, that hath the grace

To deck and be a carpet to the place.

Thus singing to the sound of oaten reed,

Before the Babe the shepherds bow’d their knees,

And springs ran nectar, honey dropped from trees.