Christina Rossetti: Poems

'Before The Paling Of The Stars'

(Lyra Messianica, 1864.)

Before the paling of the stars,

Before the winter morn,

Before the earliest cockcrow

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, 10

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: 20

Let us kneel with Mary maid,

With Joseph bent and hoary,

With Saint and Angel, ox and ass,

To hail the King of Glory.