On that divine all-hallowed morn
When Christ in Bethlehem was born,
How lone did Mary seem to be,
The kindly beasts for company!
Yet when she saw her infant's face—
Fair with the soul's unfading grace,
Softly she wept for love's excess,
For painless ease and happiness.
She pressed her treasure to her heart—
A lowly mother, set apart
In the dear way that mothers are,
And heaven seemed nigh, and earth afar:
And when grave kings in sumptuous guise
Adored her babe, she knew them wise;
For at his touch her sense grew dim—
So all her being worshiped him.
A nimbus seemed to crown the head
Low-nestled in that manger-bed,
And Mary's forehead, to our sight,
Wears ever something of its light;
And still the heart—poor pensioner!
In its affliction turns to her—
Best loved of all, best understood,
The type of selfless motherhood!