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Let all things now be new to me,

And teach me that new song
Which now thy children sing to Thee,
And shall in heaven prolong!

J. G. SMALL. We have heard the poets celebrate the birthday of the Christ-child, with all its hallowed, endearing, and joyful associations; we have seen how they rejoiced at the birth of a new year; let us now listen to their welcomings of the birthdays of those whom the Christ-child came to redeem.

THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE VOYAGE.

SUNG OVER THE CRADLE OF A NEW-BORN INFANT. Behold, my friends, this bark of tiny mould,

But newly launch'd on life's uncertain sea; A gentle passenger the skiff doth hold:

Ah, shall not we its crew and pilot be? The waves to lift it from the strand prevail,

Which now it leaves for ever in its rear; Let us who see the little bark set sail,

With our gay songs its onward voyage cheer.
Already Destiny the canvas swells,

Already Hope the silken cordage binds,
And, 'neath the glittering starlight, kindly tells

Of waves propitious and of favouring winds.
Fly hence, ye birds of dark presage, that wail,

A noble galley of the loves is here, Let us, who see the little bark set sail,

With our gay songs its onward voyage cheer. The masts are all with rosy wreaths array'd

By sportive Cupid's light and nimble hands; To the fair Graces offerings rich are made,

And steady Friendship at the rudder stands.

Nor, with red wine, will jovial Bacchus fail;

Nor Pleasure, once invoked, fail to appear ; Let us, who see the little bark set sail,

With our gay songs its onward voyage cheer. Once more, to hail our galley, comes in haste

Misfortune : rescued now from want and woe, She prays that every joy the babe may taste Which those who bind the wounded heart can

know. Sure that each fervent prayer that loads the gale

The God who guards the sleeping babe shall hear, Let us, who see the little bark set sail, With our gay songs its onward voyage cheer.

FROM THE FRENCH OF BÉRANGER.

Martin F. Tupper tells us that A babe in a house is a well-spring of pleasure, a

messenger of peace and love: A resting-place for innocence on earth, a link be

tween angels and men. Yet it is a talent of trust, a loan to be rendered back

with interest; A delight, but redolent of care ; honey-sweet, but

lacking not the bitter ; For character groweth day by day, and all things

aid it in unfolding, And the bent unto good or evil may be given in the

hours of infancy; For disposition is builded up by the fashioning of

first impressions : Wherefore, though the voice of instruction waiteth

for the ear of reason, Yet with his mother's milk the young child drinketh

education.

That eminent Oriental scholar, Sir William Jones, among his admirable paraphrases from Eastern languages, has this striking verse : On parent knees, a naked new-born child, Weeping thou sat'st while all around thee smiled; So live, that sinking in thy last long sleep, Calm thou may'st smile, while all around thee weep.

Looking on this new-born child, does not the heart say

Joy thou bring'st, but mix'd with trembling;

Anxious joys and tender fears,
Pleasing hopes and mingled sorrows,

Smiles of transport dash'd with tears.

There is much sweetness and tenderness, as well as piety, in that old song by George Wither, who was born in 1588:

SWEET BABY, SLEEP!
Sleep, baby, sleep! what ails my dear?

What ails my darling thus to cry?
Be still, my child, and lend thine ear

To hear me sing thy lullaby.
My pretty lamb, forbear to weep;
Be still, my dear; sweet baby, sleep!

Thou blessèd soul, what canst thou fear?

What thing to thee can mischief do?
Thy God is now thy Father dear,

His holy Spouse thy mother too.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep!

Though thy conception was in sin,

A sacred bathing thou hast had;
And though thy birth unclean hath been,

A blameless babe thou now art made.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my dear; sweet baby, sleep!

While thus thy lullaby I sing,

For thee great blessings ripening be;
Thine eldest Brother is a King,

And hath a kingdom bought for thee ;
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep!

Sweet baby, sleep, and nothing fear;

For whosoever thee offends
By thy Protector threaten’d are,

And God and angels are thy friends.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep!

When God with us was dwelling here,

In little babes He took delight; Such innocents as thou, my dear,

Are ever precious in his sight. Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep; Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep!

A little infant once was He,

And, strength in weakness, then was laid Upon his virgin-mother's knee,

That power to thee might be convey'd. Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep; Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep!

In this thy frailty and thy need,

He friends and helpers doth prepare, Which thee shall cherish, clothe, and feed,

For of thy weal they tender are. Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep; Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep!

The King of kings, when He was born,

Had not so much for outward ease;
By Him such dressings were not worn,

Nor such-like swaddling-clothes as these.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep!

Within a manger lodged the Lord,

Where oxen lay and asses fed :
Warm rooms we do to thee afford,

An easy cradle for a bed.
Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep!

The wants that He did then sustain,

Have purchased wealth, my babe, for thee. And by his torments and his pain,

Thy rest and ease secured be.
My baby, then, forbear to weep;
Be still, my babe; sweet baby, sleep!

Thou hast, yet more to perfect this,

A promise and an earnest got Of gaining everlasting bliss,

Though thou, my babe, perceiv'st it not. Sweet baby, then, forbear to weep; Be still, my babe ; sweet baby, sleep!

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