Sages and Prophets Praise God for the Birth

Sages and Prophets Praise God for the Birth

(The Saviour of the World, Vol I Book I Poem V)


Lo, that which I foretold!

“A Virgin shall conceive”—
But how might men believe

Thing never known of old?

“Immanuel, His name—

The very God with men”:—
A word beyond my ken

Was given me to proclaim:

But, now, I see the whole—

The Babe, the Son, the Child,
The Lamb, all undefiled—

Now may I read the scroll

At one time I did write:

And, Wonderful His Name!
His majesty shall tame

Rebellious tribes; His might

Shall to all lands extend;

Under His government,
Men’s hearts shall know content;

Of peace, shall be no end:

Holy, holy, holy,

Almighty Lord, my God!
Lo, this, the Branch, the Rod,—

Our God, an Infant lowly!


“Desire of Nations” is His name!
And all the nations shall acclaim
Him King of kings and Lord of lords;
Peoples shall wait upon His words!


And I, who told the number’d days
Of waiting, learned not then Thy praise!
How wonderful Thy counsels, Lord,
How sure Thy all-fulfilling word!


The secret of the place was mine
From out whose dimness Christ should shine:
But, Bethlehem, I—Esaias, Galilee—
How may these diverse words accomplish’d be?


Of time and place, what need to know—
Is it that God indeed will show
The pattern of that perfect plan,
Distorted, blurr’d, in every man?


But how shall man discern the Good?
Accepted not, nor understood,
The Christ Himself, should He show forth
The thoughts of heaven to sons of earth!


Shall man, escaped, that fate elude,
Implacable, which him pursued?
Shall wistful souls Erinnes flee,
Not thwarted more by destiny?


Is this the Boy,
Flower-cradled joy,

The Virgin Astræa should bring forth?

Smiling presage
Of the Golden Age

For all the labouring sons of earth!

Sages and Prophets

Shall every man have all the bliss
That is, by right of fitness, his?
Is Vision for all sons of men?
Shall peoples walk with God again?

But, oh, the head is sick, the heart
Too faint to choose the righteous part!
Shall the Messias purge the whole,
And animate each sinking soul?

And shall He in His power go forth?
From east and west, from south and north,
Shall men flock round Him with desire,
Soliciting His purging fire?

How wonderful Thy counsels, Lord!
Thy ways past finding out, Thy word,
Quick and compelling, searcheth out
Just means to bring high ends about!


Now may I, understanding, sing
That song indited to the King:
Fairer Thou art than sons of men,
Thy lips drop grace!—so ran my pen.

Gird Thee with sword, my mighty God,
Ride forth with spear, with bruising rod;
Because of meekness, truth, and right,
With piercing word, go forth to smite!

Thy Throne, O God, shall stand for aye;
Thy righteous sceptre, none defy;
Thou hatest wrong, Thou lovest right—
So God shall, late, in Man delight!

A Bridegroom, dight with majesty,
Kings’ daughters haste to wait on Thee;
The Queen on Thy right hand doth stand,
Glorious in gold of Ophir’s land.

All glorious, too, within is she,
Pure virgins her companions be;
With gifts and graces furnishèd
They go, the King’s highway to spread!


Thus had I writ, nor understood

What manner of celestial good
My song foreshowed:—revealed, the Word!
How wonderful Thy counsels, Lord!

“A Virgin shall conceive.”—Isa. vii. 14.
“And wonderful His Name.”—Isa. ix. 6.
“Lo, this, the Branch, the Rod.”—Isa. xi. 1.
“Desire of Nations.”—Haggai ii. 7.
“I, who told the numbered days.”—Dan. ix. 24.
“The secret of the place was mine.” Micah v. 2.
Virgil (Fourth Eclogue).
Sages and Prophets.
David.—Ps. xlv.