Scripture Verse

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6


Words: Ro­bert South­well (cir­ca 1561–1595).

Music: From Christ­mas Ca­rols New and Old: Ser­ies 1, 2 & 3, ed­it­ed by Hen­ry R. Bram­ley & John Stain­er (Lon­don & New York: No­vel­lo, Ew­er, 1878), num­ber 47 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Robert Southwell
ca. 1561–1595
National Portrait Gallery

Creative Commons License


Behold a simple, tender Babe,
In freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies,
Alas! a piteous sight.
The inns are full; no man will yield
This little Pilgrim bed;
But forced is He with senseless beasts
In crib to shroud His head.

Despise Him not for lying here,
First what He is inquire;
An orient pearl is often found
In depth of dirty mire.
Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,
Nor beasts that by Him press
Weigh not His mother’s poor attire,
Nor Joseph’s simple dress.

This stable is a Prince’s court,
The crib His chair of state;
The beasts attendants on His pomp,
The wooden dish His plate.
The persons in that poor attire
His royal liveries wear;
The Prince Himself is come from Heav’n,
This pomp is prizèd there.

With joy approach, O Christian soul,
Do homage to thy king;
And highly praise His humble pomp,
Which He from Heav’n doth bring.