The Eve of Christmas



Cometh the yearly Feast, the wonderous Holy Night,

Worthy of sacred hymn and solemn rite.

No harbingers of joy the olden message sing,
Nor gifts of Peace to waiting mortals bring.

Alone the thronging hosts of evil men I hear,
And see the anxious brow and falling tear.

The Age will bear no yoke; forgets the God above,
Nor duteous payment yields to parents' love.

Suspicious Discord rends the peaceful State in twain,
And busy Murder follows in her train.

Gone are the loyal faith, the rights revered of old—
Reigns but a blind and cruel lust of Gold!

O come, Thou holy Child! Pity the fallen world,
Lest it should perish, into darkness hurled.

Out of the laboring Night grant it a newer birth,
And a New Age to bloom o'er all the earth.

Circle with splendors old the brow of Faith divine;
Let her full glory on the nations shine.

Nerve her to battlings new; palsy her foes with dread;
Place the victorious laurel on her head.

Be Error's mist dissolved, and ancient feuds repressed,
Till Earth at last find quietude and rest.

O gentle Peace, return nor evermore depart;
And link us hand in hand and heart to heart!

—Pope Leo XIII.

(Translated by H. T. Henry.)

Read about Christmas in Encyclopædia Britannica

The Eve of Christmas

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