The Carol of the Three Brothers

The Carol of the Three Brothers

Editor’s Note, by Art Middlekauff

Frances Blogg (1869–1938) served as the Organising Secretary of the PNEU from 1896–1901.[1] During this time she was courted by and then engaged to the celebrated writer and philosopher G. K. Chesterton. After their marriage in 1901, Frances Chesterton moved on from her formal role in the PNEU, but she remained friendly with the organization.

The Chestertons were remembered as having an “ideally happy marriage.”[2]  Every Christmas, the couple sent out Christmas cards “imprinted with the Chestertons’ names, and they list Frances first, interestingly.”[3] Each year’s card invariably included an original poem, written by either Frances or her husband. Often these poems were later republished in The Parents’ Review.

The 1925 Chesterton Christmas card contained a lovely new poem by Frances entitled “The Carol of the Three Brothers.” It was published the following year in the December issue of The Parents’ Review. When Frances Chesterton recalled her first meeting with Charlotte Mason she wrote, “Had I realised dimly at this first meeting, that a prophetess was speaking, and that slowly and surely her prophecies would be fulfilled?”[4] Frances’s Christmas poems, including this one, remind us that she too spoke with a prophetic voice to our time.

By Frances Chesterton
The Parents’ Review, 1926, pp. 809–810

Come with me little brothers three

And though the winds blow chill,

And dark the night, the star burns bright

Over Bethlehem’s hill.

The path is rough with splintered stones

And heavy lies the snow,

But here a latch and ’neath the thatch

A lamp swings to and fro.

“Open the door and peep within

Brother, what do you see?”

“An ass asleep, and an ox asleep,

All dreaming peacefully.”

“Brother of mine what see you here

At opening of the door?”

“A man, a maid, who unafraid

Kneel on the sanded floor.”

“Brother so small look through the chink,

What do you find, oh, say?”

“A Child I see, who smiles at me

From out a bed of hay.”

“What brought you, brother, to the Child?”

“A crown of holly bright;”

“A crown of thorn, shall His head adorn;

Holly He wears to-night.”

“Have you a gift, oh! brother, dear?”

“A silver reed I bring;”

“At passion-tide, it pierced His side

Now a sceptre for a King.”

“What bring you Him, brother, so small?”

“A bunch of hyssop wild;”

“A drink of gall, for the Lord of all;

A posy for a Child.”

Sleep little brothers, oh, sleep sound;

Sleep till the breaking dawn;

Ox, ass and sheep a vigil keep

To-night a Child is born.

Editor’s Note: The formatting of the above article was optimized for online viewing. To access a version which is formatted more similarly to the original, and which includes the original page numbers, please click here.

Endnotes for the Editor’s Note

[1] The Parents’ Review, vol. 50, p. 52.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Brown, Nancy Carpentier; Frances Chesterton. How Far Is It to Bethlehem: The Plays and Poetry of Frances Chesterton (p. 315). Chesterton & Brown Publishing.

[4] The Parents’ Review, vol. 34, p. 238.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *