The Wonder Night

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Now danced are all the dances,
And all the games are done,
The merry noise, the laughter,
Feasting and lights and fun;
The gifts unwrapt and given,
The forfeits paid and won.

Now firelight pranks the ceiling
Above each sleepy head,
It warms a hand that’s clasping
The new toy hugged in bed,
On hair it flickers golden
And cheeks of rosier red.

But one who wakes from dreaming,
For something stirs her mind
As if in dream persisting
Some fairy–land to find,
Steals tip–toe in her night–gown
And peeps beyond the blind.

Lo, stars in frosty stillness,
That hush the heart, so bright
They sparkle among the branches
Of the old oak in the night!
Ten thousand stars, and one star
Exceeding all in light.

Her heart beats in the darkness,
What if, beyond, somewhere
The shepherds now are shuffling
Across the common bare,
The path she knows, by pond and hedge,
The wonder–sight to share?

And the Wise Men, are they coming,
With long beards, furred and stoled,
The jewelled East behind them,
Laden with spice and gold?
She sees them clear, she sees them
How wise, and oh how old!

To-night the wise are simple,
And the old forget to scorn
The young heart and the foolish;
The sad are not forlorn.
Hope holds the world in wonder
Because a Child is born.

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