27 December 2016
Meditation on the Sleep of the Infant Jesus
A wonderful Canticle by St. Alphonsus Liguori, translated by Rev. R.A. Coffin, found in The Liturgical Year. If you don't own The Liturgical Year, you really ought to put it on next year's Christmas List.
Mary sings - the ravish'd heavens
Hush the music of their spheres;
Soft her voice, her beauty fairer
Than the glancing stars appears:
While to Jesus slumbering nigh.
Thus she sings her lullaby.
Sleep my Babe! my God! my Treasure!
Gently sleep: but ah! the sight
With its beauty so transports me,
I am dying of delight:
Thou canst not thy Mother see,
Yet thou breathest flames to me.
If within your lids unfolded,
Slumbering eyes! you seem so fair;
When upon my gaze you open,
How shall I your beauty bear?
Ah! I tremble when you wake,
Lest my heart with love should break.
Cheeks than sweetest roses sweeter.
Mouth where lurks a smile divine -
Though the kiss my Babe should waken,
I must press those lips to mine.
Pardon, Dearest, if I say,
Mother's love will take no nay.
As she ceased, the gentle Virgin
Clasped the Infant to her breast.
And upon his radiant forehead
Many a loving kiss impress'd:
Jesus woke, and on her face
Fixed a look of heavenly grace.
Ah! that look, those eyes, that beauty.
How they pierce the Mother's heart;
Shafts of love from every feature
Through her gentle bosom dart
Heart of stone! can I behold
Mary's love, and still be cold?
Where, my soul! thy sense, thy reason?
When will these delays be o'er?
All things else, how fair so ever.
Are but smoke:- resist no more!
Yes! 'tis done! I yield my arms
Captive to those double charms.
If, alas, O heavenly beauty!
Now so late those charms I learn.
Now at least, and ever, ever,
With thy love my heart will burn
For the Mother and the Child,
Rose and Lily undefiled.
Plant and fruit, and fruit and blossom,
I am theirs, and they are mine;
For no other prize I labour,
For no other bliss I pine;
Love can every pain requite,Love alone is full delight.