In the Bleak Midwinter

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In the Bleak Midwinter is a poem by the English poet Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894), composed c.1870 and published posthumously in 1904 in The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti (Poem #426) under the title "A Christmas Carol".[1] It has been set to music a number of times, most famously by Gustav Holst and Harold Darke.[2]

1. In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

2. Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

3. Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

4. Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

5. What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.


  1. The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1904
  2. "The English Hymnal" 1916, p. 44.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.