James Russell Lowell

A Christmas Carol

"What means this glory round our feet,"

The Magi mused, "more bright than morn?"

And voices chanted clear and sweet,

"To-day the Prince of Peace is born."

"What means that star," the Shepherds said,

"That brightens through the rocky glen?"

And angels answering overhead,

Sang, "Peace on earth, good will to men!"

'Tis eighteen hundred years and more

Since those sweet oracles were dumb;

We wait for Him, like them of yore;

Alas, he seems so slow to come!

But it was said in words of gold

No time or sorrow e'er shall dim,

That little children might be bold

In perfect trust to come to Him.

All round about our feet shall shine

A light like that the wise men saw;

If we our willing hearts incline

To that sweet Life which is the Law.

So shall we learn to understand

The simple faith of shepherds then,

And, clasping kindly hand in hand,

Sing, "Peace on earth, good will to men!"

And they who do their souls no wrong,

But keep at eve the faith of morn,

Shall daily hear the angel-song,

"To-day the Prince of Peace is born."