Before Dawn

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Before Dawn
written by Walter de la Mare
The Veil and Other Poems (1921) Link to further information

 Dim-berried is the mistletoe
 With globes of sheenless grey,
 The holly mid ten thousand thorns
 Smoulders its fires away;
 And in the manger Jesu sleeps
           This Christmas Day.

 Bull unto bull with hollow throat
 Makes echo every hill,
 Cold sheep in pastures thick with snow
 The air with bleatings fill;
 While of his Mother's heart this Babe
           Takes His sweet will.

 All flowers and butterflies lie hid,
 The blackbird and the thrush
 Pipe but a little as they flit
 Restless from bush to bush;
 Even to the robin Gabriel hath
           Cried softly, "Hush!"

 Now night is astir with burning stars
 In darkness of the snow;
 Burdened with frankincense and myrrh
 And gold the Strangers go
 Into a dusk where one dim lamp
           Burns faintly, Lo!

 No snowdrop yet its small head nods,
 In winds of winter drear;
 No lark at casement in the sky
 Sings matins shrill and clear;
 Yet in this frozen mirk the Dawn
           Breathes, Spring is here!

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