Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Day: The Nativity

The Oxen: A poem by Thomas Hardy

published 1915











Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel,

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.






A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL READERS OF THE BLOG

Hardy’s beautiful poem refers to a folk myth that at midnight on Christmas Eve the animals in the stable kneel down to honour the baby Jesus, marking their alleged presence at the original nativity scene in Bethlehem.

The picture is by Meister Francke, and was painted in 1424. It came from the Athenaeum website.


18 comments:

  1. Happy Christmas, Moira! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You too Margot, hope you enjoyed your day

      Delete
  2. Merry Christmas, Moira! Thanks for sharing this lovely poem by one of my favourite Classics authors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Prashant, and Happy Christmas to you too. I love Hardy, and particularly his poems.

      Delete
  3. Moira: Thanks for a lovely post.

    While our farm did not have cattle and other livestock our neighbours all had them. I always thought that the stable was certainly not comfortable for the Holy Family but a barn was a warm and comforting place and a manger filled with fresh hay an inviting place for a baby in swaddling clothes.

    Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a nice thought Bill, thanks for sharing it with us and a Happy Christmas to you and yours.

      Delete
  4. Merry Christmas a day late. Hope you had a good time and that the new year will bring good things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tracy, and a happy Christmas to you and yours too.

      Delete
  5. A bleated Happy Christmas, Moira. I hope you had a lovely day with your family.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is it too early to wish you a Happy New Year, cos I'm woefully late for Christmas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll let you off - Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

      Delete