Star, on thy Heaven-returning way,
Our message of thanksgiving bear;
To Him who answered with thy ray
The priestless Gentiles’ trembling prayer.
When songs of revel shook the roof,
God, Thou didst cheer the joyless course,
Where we, like Vashti, walked aloof,
Braving the world’s unjust divorce.
How rate we now all griefs and scorn
That filled our youth with bitterness!
We had not known the Christ is born
But that we sought for One to bless!
Fence Thou Thy Child, O Merciful,
When hate shall cavil at His worth;
When underlings like Haman rule
Hold Thou the golden sceptre forth.
When envy round Thy Precious One
Its tongues of scorching flame hath curled,
Unwasted let His virtue run
From the sore furnace of the world
To fill a new Colossus-mould.
When tireless unbelief hath sent;
Thy truest Image to the cold
Pure mountain-tops of banishment,
Give then, O God, Thy light, to break
Through all earth’s valleys cramped and dim,
That after-times may see, and take
Their heroes’ measurement from Him!
A new horizon’s dim blue ring
Around our watch-fire shall be cast,
New stars replace the vanishing,
To-morrow’s homeward travel past.
Word-bringer, now thine embassy
Is closed, thou stayest not to fill
A lowlier office. Thou shalt be
Soon ’mid the angels, shining still!
One priceless pearl of upper sea,
One matchless gem of heaven’s rich mine;
Within the place once held by thee
God send no after-light to shine!
Yet, foremost of the host of gold,
Long-followed, thou wast never sent,
A glimpse of what the Heavens enfold,
To darken earth with discontent!
Star of the Promised! Streaming on
Through Time’s long night, though thou must set,
Thy light shall spread, when thou art gone,
O’er sunless lands we see not yet!