1 Gloomy night embraced the place
Wherein the noble Infant lay:
The Babe looked up and showed His face;
In spite of darkness, it was day!
It was Thy day, sweet! and did rise
Not from the east, but from Thine eyes.
2 We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
Young dawn of our eternal day!
We saw Thine eyes break from the east
And chase the trembling shades away;
We saw Thee, and we blessed the sight;
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.
3 Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span!
Summer in winter, day in night!
Heaven on earth, and God in Man!
Great little One! Whose lowly birth,
Lifts earth to Heav’n, stoops Heav’n to earth.
4 To Thee, meek Majesty! soft King
Of simple graces and sweet loves;
Each one of us his lamb will bring,
And each his pair of silver doves;
Till burnt in fire of Thy fair eyes,
Ourselves become our sacrifice!
Crashaw, Richard, son of the Rev. William Crashaw, was educated at the Charter House and Pembroke Hall, and Peterhouse, Cambridge. Of the latter college he became a Fellow, and distinguished himself both in Latin and English poetry. In common with many others he was ejected from his Fellowship for refusing the Covenant. Entering the Roman Communion he went to Paris, seeking preferment. Failing for a time, he was assisted by Cowley, the poet, in 1646, and by him recommended to Queen Henrietta Maria, who was then residing in Paris. Under her patronage he travelled in Italy, and subsequently became a Canon in the Church of Loreto. Died in 1650. Prior to his leaving England he wrote his Steps to the Temple, 1646, in which are given versions of… Go to person page >
The gloomy night embraced the place. R. Crashaw. [Christmas.] This, in the Arundel Hymns, 1902, is a cento from a carol in Crashaw's Steps to the Temple. In the ed. of 1646, p. 28, it is entitled "A Hymne of the Nativity, sung by the Shepheards," and begins "Come wee Shepheards who have seene"; in the ed. of 1648, p. 43, and in his Carmen Deo Nostro, 1652, p. 13, it begins "Come we shepheards whose blest Sight." [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)
Display Title: Gloomy Night Embraced The PlaceFirst Line: Gloomy night embraced the placeTune Title: LEST WE FORGETAuthor: Richard CrashawMeter: 88.88.88Source: Steps to the Temple, 1646; Cento from "Hymn of the Nativity"