Mondays with MacDonald (a Christmas carol)

A Christmas Carol for 1862, the Year of the Trouble in Lancashire

by George MacDonald


The skies are pale, the trees are stiff,

The earth is dull and old;

The frost is glittering as if

The very sun were cold.

And hunger fell is joined with frost,

To make men thin and wan:

Come, babe, from heaven, or we are lost;

Be born, O child of man.

.

The children cry, the women shake,

The strong men stare about;

They sleep when they should be awake,

They wake ere night is out.

For they have lost their heritage—

No sweat is on their brow:

Come, babe, and bring them work and wage;

Be born, and save us now.

.

Across the sea, beyond our sight,

Roars on the fierce debate;

The men go down in bloody fight,

The women weep and hate;

And in the right be which that may,

Surely the strife is long!

Come, son of man, thy righteous way,

And right will have no wrong.

.

Good men speak lies against thine own—

Tongue quick, and hearing slow;

They will not let thee walk alone,

And think to serve thee so:

If they the children’s freedom saw

In thee, the children’s king,

They would be still with holy awe,

Or only speak to sing.

.

Some neither lie nor starve nor fight,

Nor yet the poor deny;

But in their hearts all is not right,—

They often sit and sigh.

We need thee every day and hour,

In sunshine and in snow:

Child-king, we pray with all our power—

Be born, and save us so.

.

We are but men and women, Lord;

Thou art a gracious child!

O fill our hearts, and heap our board,

Pray thee—the winter’s wild!

The sky is sad, the trees are bare,

Hunger and hate about:

Come, child, and ill deeds and ill fare

Will soon be driven out.

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