Published on Academy of American Poets (

A Christmas Carol


   The Shepherds went their hasty way,
        And found the lowly stable-shed
   Where the Virgin-Mother lay:
        And now they checked their eager tread,
For to the Babe, that at her bosom clung,
A Mother’s song the Virgin-Mother sung.


   They told her how a glorious light,
         Streaming from a heavenly throng,
   Around them shone, suspending night!
         While sweeter than a Mother’s song,
Blest Angels heralded the Saviour’s birth,
Glory to God on high! and Peace on Earth.


   She listened to the tale divine,
         And closer still the Babe she pressed;
   And while she cried, the Babe is mine!
         The milk rushed faster to her breast:
Joy rose within her, like a summer’s morn;
Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born.


   Thou Mother of the Prince of Peace,
         Poor, simple, and of low estate!
   That Strife should vanish, Battle cease,
         O why should this thy soul elate?
Sweet Music’s loudest note, the Poet’s story,—
Did’st thou ne’er love to hear of Fame and Glory?


   And is not War a youthful King,
         A stately Hero clad in Mail?
   Beneath his footsteps laurels spring;
         Him Earth’s majestic monarchs hail
Their Friend, their Playmate! and his bold bright eye
Compels the maiden’s love-confessing sigh.


   “Tell this in some more courtly scene,
         “To maids and youths in robes of state!
   “I am a woman poor and mean,
         “And therefore is my Soul elate.
“War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled,
“That from the aged Father tears his Child!


   “A murderous fiend, by fiends adored,
         “He kills the Sire and starves the Son;
   “The Husband kills, and from her board
         “Steals all his Widow’s toil had won;
“Plunders God’s world of beauty; rends away
“All safety from the Night, all comfort from the Day.


   “Then wisely is my soul elate,
         “That Strife should vanish, Battle cease:
   “I’m poor and of a low estate,
         “The Mother of the Prince of Peace.
“Joy rises in me, like a summer’s morn:
“Peace, Peace on Earth, the Prince of Peace is born.”   


This poem is in the public domain.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a leader of the British Romantic movement, was born on October 21, 1772, in Devonshire, England.

Date Published: 2017-11-30

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