On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity – John Milton

On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity: Text.

John Milton-1This beautiful poem describing the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ was penned by the great English poet John Milton (1608-1674) in 1629 (Yes, when he was 21 years old!), and may be found in the wonderful collection of Milton poems in the “John Milton Reading Room” of Dartmouth College (follow the link above).

Belong is the first part of this poem; it is followed by a lengthy hymn, which you are also encouraged to read on this Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning.

On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity
Compos’d 1629


This is the Month, and this the happy morn
Wherein the Son of Heav’ns eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing, 
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.


That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty,
Wherwith he wont at Heav’ns high Councel-Table,
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and here with us to be,
Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day,
And chose with us a darksom House of mortal Clay.


Say Heav’nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no vers, no hymn, or solemn strein,
To welcom him to this his new abode,
Now while the Heav’n by the Suns team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?


See how from far upon the Eastern rode
The Star-led Wisards haste with odours sweet:
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honour first, thy Lord to greet,
And joyn thy voice unto the Angel Quire,
From out his secret Altar toucht with hallow’d fire.

Published in: on December 24, 2014 at 9:23 PM  Leave a Comment  
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On Reading “Slowly, Slowly” – A.Jacobs

AJacobsPleasuresofReadingFrom a section headed by the words “slowly, slowly” in his book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (Oxford, 2011), Alan Jacobs makes the following points about slow reading:

There’s a Web site called bkkeepr that provides what its maker would call a service. I am inclined to disagree.

bkkeepr requires you, when you start a book, to identify it not by title and author but by the ISBN number. It does so because its whole purpose is to show you how fast you read, and it therefore needs the ISBNs in order to identify the particular edition of a book that you’re reading.

I think this is a bad idea. It’s what you’re reading that matters, and how you’re reading it, not the speed with which you’re getting through it. Reading is supposed to be about the encounter with other minds, not an opportunity to return to the endlessly appealing subject of Me. Americans have enough encouragements to narcissism; let’s try to do without this one.

…We should not underestimate what can be accomplished by those who are wiling to read more slowly and with greater care (67, 69).