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by William Cullen Bryant


No trumpet-blast profaned

The hour in which the Prince of Peace was born;

No bloody streamlet stained

Earth's silver rivers on that sacred morn;

But, o'er the peaceful plain,

The war-horse drew the peasant's loaded wain. -

The soldier had laid by

The sword and stripped the corselet from his breast,

And hung his helm on high-

The sparrow's winter home and summer nest;

And, with the same strong hand

That flung the barbed spear, he tilled the land. -

Oh, time for which we yearn;

Oh, sabbath of the nations long foretold!

Season of peace, return,

Like a late summer when the year grows old,

When the sweet sunny days

Steeped mead and mountain-side in golden haze. -

For now two rival kings

Flaunt, o'er our bleeding land, their hostile flags,

And every sunrise brings

The hovering vulture from his mountain-crags

To where the battle-plain

Is strewn with dead, the youth and flower of Spain. -

Christ is not come, while yet

O'er half the earth the threat of battle lowers,

And our own fields are wet,

Beneath the battle-cloud, with crimson showers-

The life-blood of the slain,

Poured out where thousands die that one may reign. -

Soon, over half the earth,

In every temple crowds shall kneel again

To celebrate His birth

Who brought the message of good-will to men,

And bursts of joyous song

Shall shake the roof above the prostrate throng. -

Christ is not come, while there

The men of blood whose crimes affront the skies

Kneel down in act of prayer,

Amid the joyous strains, and when they rise

Go forth, with sword and flame,

To waste the land in His most holy name. -

Oh, when the day shall break

O'er realms unlearned in warfare's cruel arts,

And all their millions wake

To peaceful tasks performed with loving hearts,

On such a blessed morn,

Well may the nations say that Christ is born. - -