Christ’s Nativity

By Henry Vaughan 1621–1695 Henry Vaughan
Awake, glad heart! get up and sing!
It is the birth-day of thy King.
         Awake! awake!
         The Sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

Awake, awake! hark how th’ wood rings;
Winds whisper, and the busy springs
         A concert make;
         Awake! awake!
Man is their high-priest, and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.

I would I were some bird, or star,
Flutt’ring in woods, or lifted far
         Above this inn
         And road of sin!
Then either star or bird should be
Shining or singing still to thee.

I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for thee! or that my heart
         Were so clean as
         Thy manger was!
But I am all filth, and obscene;
Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean.

Sweet Jesu! will then. Let no more
This leper haunt and soil thy door!
         Cure him, ease him,
         O release him!
And let once more, by mystic birth,
The Lord of life be born in earth.

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Poet Henry Vaughan 1621–1695

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Christianity, Religion

Holidays Christmas

Poetic Terms Couplet

Biography

Henry Vaughan, the major Welsh poet of the Commonwealth period, has been among the writers benefiting most from the twentieth-century revival of interest in the poetry of John Donne and his followers. Vaughan's early poems, notably those published in the Poems of 1646 and Olor Iscanus of 1651, place him among the "Sons of Ben," in the company of other imitators of Ben Jonson, such as the Cavalier poets Sir William Davenant and

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Christianity, Religion

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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