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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Poems and Carols (1894). III. The Heavenly Host

Selwyn Image (1849–1930)

DEEP and hard the snow lay,

Deep was the ice on the water-way;

Deus misericordiae!

On their frozen fingers the shepherds blew,

And the wolf-skins round them tighter drew.

God, how the wind cut! huddled low,

Herdsmen and herds lay shelt’ring so.

Deus misericordiae!

Venti furorem reprime,

Ne percamus frigore,

Suddenly, hark! what sound breaks?

And the heaven’s aglow with golden flakes,

Archangelorum Domine!

As the quiv’ring tongues of a mighty fire;

From the midst whereof, in choir on choir,

What Sons of the Lord of heaven and earth

Are these, that herald a God’s birth?

Archangelorum Domine!

Mortalium quis intime

Spectabit, Lux tremenda, te?

The wild wind’s stayed, the earth’s warm;

O herdsmen and herds, what thought of harm?

Omnipotenti gloria!

On their knees they’re fallen: an angel cries,

“The winter’s over, O shepherds, rise!

Be not afraid; to Bethlehem Town

This night is the very God come down!”

Omnipotenti gloria!

Qui natus nobis omnia

Vertisti in pacifera.

What the sight they find there?

A Child new-born, in a stable bare:

Jesu, Deus demississime!

A Child in a manger, a Mother-Maid,

By whom shall the terrors of hell be laid;

The proud fly scattered, the weak prevail!

Sweet Child and Mother, we cry you, Hail!

Jesu, Deus demississime!

Finito mundi tempore

In coeli domum accipe

Humiles nos, Rex altissime!