“Lines Written on Christmas Eve” by Park Benjamin

by Ann Neilson

Lines Written on Christmas Eve
Park Benjamin

‘Tis Christmas Eve—I hear the chime
Of bells announce the holy time!
The air grows muter as they fling
Their soft, sweet sounds afar,
As if on some bright angel’s wing
CAme music from a star.

‘Tis Christmas Eve—I look above
And see, in thought, the missioned dove
Descending from a vapory cloud,
With glory round his form;
While sounds a voice, not wild or loud,
The voice that hushed the storm.

That voice comes blended with the tone
Which, half in mirth and half in moan,
A gleeful requiem sings for all,
Who, in this holy time,
Will heed the solemn spirit-call—
The bells’ melodious chime.

Ring on! ring on! ye bring to earth
Remembrance of the Saviour’s birth;
And with it dreams of love and home,
Of innocent, calm days,
When guarded childhood joyed to roam
In Virtue’s pleasant ways.

Oh, bells! dear bells! the long ago
Comes back while ye are chiming so—
I sit my mother’s knee before,
I see her tearful eyes,
And hear her as she says, “Adore
Your Maker good and wise!”

Ring on! ye stir the soul of prayer
Thus floating through the twilight air;
Your music breathes a sweet accord,
As in that night of old,
When first the angels of the Lord
Emmanuel’s coming told!