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Classic Christmas Poetry

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In this offering of classic Christmas poetry we present Author William Blake’s Cradle Song and It Came Upon the Midnight Clear by Edmund Sears.

Classic Christmas Poetry

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear by Edmund Sears

This popular hymn and Christmas carol was written as a five-stanza poem in 1849, and it was published as a poem the same year. The poem was set to music the following year. The melody was composed by Richard Storrs Willis. The resulting song has been performed by Bing Crosby, Julie Andrews, Ray Price, Johnny Mathis, the Carpenters, Celtic Women, Josh Groban, Norah Jones, and many other artists over the years.

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold!

Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven’s all gracious King!
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing.
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

Yet with te woes of sin and strife
The world hath suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When, with the ever-circling years,
Shall come the Age of Gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

***

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and print-maker. In “a cradle song” the mother of the baby is singing to her child asking the infant to stay asleep. She sings asking that the child sleep through the night although she is crying. The mother sees Jesus while she looks in the face of her infant.

by: William Blake (1757-1827)

Cradle Song
Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming in the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.
Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.
As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O’er thy cheek, and o’er thy breast
Where thy little heart doth rest.
O the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep!
When thy little heart doth wake,
Then the dreadful night shall break.

Published inChristmas Poetry

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