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An Ode of the Birth of Our Saviour

by Robert Herrick, 1647

In numbers, and but these few,
I sing Thy birth, O JESU!
Thou pretty baby, born here,
With sup’rabundant scorn here;
Who for Thy princely port here,
    Hadst for Thy place
    Of birth a base
Out-stable for Thy court here.

Instead of neat enclosures
Of interwoven osiers,
Instead of fragrant posies
Of daffodils and roses,
Thy cradle, Kingly Stranger,
    As Gospel tells,
    Was nothing else
But here a homely manger.

But we with silks, not crewels,
With sundry precious jewels,
And lily-work will dress Thee;
And as we dispossess Thee
Of clouts, we’ll make a chamber,
    Sweet babe, for Thee
    Of ivory,
And plaister’d round with amber.

The Jews they did disdain Thee,
But we will entertain Thee
With glories to await here,
Upon Thy princely state here;
And more for love than pity,
    From year to year,
    We’ll make Thee, here,
A freeborn of our city.

Published in Noble Numbers

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