1856–1946

Introduction

Born: Feb­ru­ary 21, 1856, Pine Plains, New York.

Died: Ap­ril 19, 1946, Mer­e­dith, New Hamp­shire.

Buried: Rhine­beck Ce­me­te­ry, Rhine­beck, New York.

Pseudonyms

Biography

Ophelia was the daugh­ter of Will­iam Gar­ret­son Brown­ing, a Me­thod­ist Epis­co­pal min­is­ter, and Su­san Re­bec­ca Webb.

She mar­ried twice, to Tho­mas E. Bur­roughs (1884) and Art­hur Prince Ad­ams (1905).

Publications

Poem

The Birth of Jesus Christ

There’s a sound among the branches
Of the olives on the hillside,
Like a moaning—like the lowing
Of the thirsty kine at noontide;
Like a heart, with cares o’erburdened,
Praying for a brief exemption:
Like the sighing of a nation
For the dawn of her redemption.

O’er the land of old Judæa
Night has drawn her mantle dreary;
And, by starlight dim, the shepherds
Guard their flocks through vigils weary:
Hark! a strain of distant music
Wakes the echoes, soft and tender,
While a light of heav’nly glory
Floods the plain with dazzling splendor!

There before th’ affrighted shepherds,
Stands a messenger from heaven—
Fear not: for I bring good tidings,
And to you shall joy be given;
For today is born a Savior!
To the town of David hie you,
And behold your King—Emmanuel—
Lo! the Son of God is nigh you.

Thus, his royal proclamation,
Speaks he forth in words triumphant,
While the holy choirs are chanting
Praises to the new-born infant.
Glory be to God! they carol,
In the Highest, glory, glory!
And o’er every hill and valley
Zephyrs waft the wondrous story.

Lo! the day-star now appeareth—
And the heav’nly vision ending,
Hastily the eager shepherds
O’er the plains their steps are wending
To the city of King David,
To behold this infant stranger;
There beneath the stable’s roofing,
Lay their monarch in a manger.

Fairer head ne’er pressed a pillow
Filled with down and silken covered:
But the chiefest of ten thousand
Rested on the straw uncovered.
Though the Lord of earth and heaven,
Yet He chose this advent lowly;
Hallowed in His birth the cradle,
By His death the tomb made holy.

Many signs His coming heralded,
All unheeded in life’s babel;
Ushered in ’mid angel voices—
Though His birthplace was a stable;
Welcomed by the aged Simeon—
By the Eastern Magi worshipped;
From the wrath of cruel Herod,
Warned of God to flee to Egypt.

To the early years of Jesus
Pen has made but brief allusion;
In an ill-reputed village
Passed His childhood in seclusion:
But ah! never from the manger
To the cross was He exempted
From our burdens, and is able
Now to succor us when tempted.

Ophelia G. Browning
July 1882

Sources

Lyrics

Help Needed

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