…from John Masefield’s The Box of Delights. Presented here without comment – which perhaps is for a future post. – except that in Masefield the even lines are indented.
George took his lantern from the nail
And lit it at the fire-a;
He said, “The snow does so assail,
I’ll shut the cows in byre-a.”
Amid the snow, by byre door,
A man and woman lay-a
George pitied them, they were so poor,
And brought them to the hay-a.
At midnight, while the inn kept feasts,
And trump and whistle blew-a,
George heard a trouble in the beasts
And to the stable drew-a.
And there within the manger bars
A little child new born-a,
All bright below a cross of stars
And in his brow a thorn-a.
The oxen lowed to see their King,
The happy donkey brayed-a,
The cocks and hens on perch did sing,
And George knelt down and prayed-a.
And straight a knocking on the door,
And torches burning red-a,
The two great kings and Melchoir
With robes and wine and bread-a.
And all the night time rolled away
With angels dancing down-a;
Now praise we that dear Babe today
That bears the Cross and Crown-a.