Before the Paling of the Stars – C. Rossetti

Before the paling of the stars,
Before the winter morn,
Before the earliest cock crow,
Jesus Christ was born:

Born in a stable,
Cradled in a manger,
In the world his hands had made
Born a stranger.

Priest and king lay fast asleep
In Jerusalem;
Young and old lay fast asleep
In crowded Bethlehem;

Saint and angel, ox and ass,
Kept a watch together
Before the Christmas daybreak
In the winter weather.

Jesus on his mother’s breast
In the stable cold,
Spotless lamb of God was he,
Shepherd of the fold:

Let us kneel with Mary maid,
With Joseph bent and hoary,
With saint and angel, ox and ass,
To hail the King of Glory.

~ Christina Rossetti, a 19th century English poet born of Italian parents (1830-1894).

This nativity poem may be found in The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes by William Michael Rossetti (1904), Page 217. Mr. Rossetti noted at page 474: “This was in the Lyra Messianica, 1865, named simply Before the paling of the stars. I retain my sister’s own title.”

This poem has also been set to music, a performance of which may be heard below.

Published in: on December 24, 2016 at 6:53 PM  Leave a Comment  

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