A Carol
E. Bolton

Sweet Music, sweeter far

Than any song is sweet:

Sweet Music heavenly rare,

Mine ears, (O peers [44] ) doth greet.

Yon gentle flocks, whose fleeces, pearl'd with dew,

Resemble heaven, whom golden drops make bright:

Listen, O listen, now; -- O not to you

Our pipes make sport to shorten weary night: --

But voices most divine

Make blissful harmony:

Voices that seem to shine,

For what else clears the sky?

Tunes can we hear, but not the singers see;

The tunes divine, and so the singers be.

Lo, how the firmament

Within an azure fold

The flock of stars hath pent,

That we might them behold.

Yet from their beams proceedeth not this light,

Nor can their crystals such reflection give.

What then doth make the element [45] so bright?

The heavens are come down upon earth to live.

But hearken to the song:

Glory to glory's King,

And peace all men among,

These queristers do sing.

Angels they are, as also (Shepherds) He,

Whom in our fear we do admire to see.

Let not amazement blind

Your souls, (said he) annoy:

To you and all mankind,

My message bringeth joy.

For lo! the world's great Shepherd now is born,

A blesséd babe, an infant full of power:

After long night, up-risen is the morn,

Renowning Bethlem in the Savïour.

Sprung is the perfect day,

By prophets seen afar:

Sprung is the mirthful May,

Which Winter cannot mar.

In David's city doth this Sun appear,

Clouded in flesh; -- yet, Shepherds! sit we here.


[44] peers, mates

[45] element, ethereal sky

viii the bible
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