Home  »  The Poets’ Bible  »  The Advent

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

The Advent

Elizabeth Clementine Kinney (1810–1889)

PEACE brooded o’er earth, in the distance afar,

Had died the harsh echo of clangorous war;

The heart of the nations from tumult reposed,

The long opened temple of Janus was closed.

Night’s canopy over Judæa now hung;

The harp of the minstrel lay still and unstrung;

The shepherds together sat watching the fold,

While round them reigned darkness and silence and cold.

But whence came that shaft, than a daybeam more bright,

Shot suddenly through the still heart of the night?

What melody startles her silent domain,

Awaking the echo from mountain to plain?

All the pale winter’s stars are extinguished as one,

Yet the light that conceals them is not like the sun;

It moves with the swiftness of wings, it descends,

While its luminous track the strange music attends!

But cold as the night air of Israel’s plains

The blood of the shepherds congeals in their veins;

They speak not, but heart unto heart beats aloud,

While glory envelops them all as a cloud.

And now, in their midst, shines an angel of light,—

Quick vanishes fear at the radiant sight!

And hark, in the words of their own native tongue,

‘Good tidings of joy’ by the angel are sung!

‘This day in the city of David is born

A Saviour, whose birth is redemption’s glad morn;

No longer through darkness and doubt shall ye grope,

In Bethlehem’s manger lies Israel’s Hope!’

A chorus angelic re-echoes in heaven

The glorious news to the meek shepherds given,—

‘Peace, peace and good-will unto earth!’ is their song,

While praises to God the loud pæan prolong.

’Tis gone the bright vision,—its music hath ceased!

But lo, there ariseth a Star in the East;

O’er the manger it stands in its glory alone,—

The despot beholds it, while trembles his throne.

Oh, awful to him is the radiance mild

That circles the brow of the heavenly Child!

That cradle where Innocence sleeps is his dread,

And Guilt feels the doom that hangs over his head.

But joy to the watchers of Zion! that star,

Predicted and seen by the prophets afar,

Now points with its beams to the place of His birth

Whose kingdom shall rule all the kingdoms of earth.