On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity is a festive-theme classic poem for the Christmas season for adults as well as children. Christmas is a lyrical holiday and “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity” is one of the greatest poems for the holiday season. It is ideal for reading independently or aloud by the fire. Get yourself into the festive mood reading this poem about the nativity or the birth of Jesus Christ.
On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity also known as Nativity Ode was written in December 1629 by John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost (the greatest religious poem in English), while he was still a student at the University of Cambridge. It is a two-section, thirty-one stanza poem about Christmas Day celebrating the arrival of Christ. It has a four-stanza introduction and a twenty-seven stanzas long “hymn.” Celebrate this season with this wonderful poem that tells stories from the past.
Here we will be looking only at the introduction (4 stanzas) of the poem.
On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity by John Milton
This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven’s eternal King,
Of wedded maid and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven’s high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside, and, here with us to be,
Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.
Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Now while the heaven, by the Sun’s team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?
See how from far upon the Eastern road
The star-led Wisards haste with odours sweet!
Oh! run; prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessèd feet;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the Angel Quire,
From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.
Summary of On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity
Recognized as Milton’s first great poem, “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity” is a long and celebratory poem that speaks about the birth of Jesus and the reaction of the world to this great event. The poem in the first stanza of “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity” defines the scene and setting. It talks about the morning when the Son of Heaven’s Eternal King was born and brings along with Him the great redemption of humanity. It also discusses of how the prophets foretold the arrival of Christ, Who along with His Almighty Father will bring everlasting peace to humans through His work on earth.
In the second stanza of “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity”, the poem talks about the sacrifice of Christ who left His heavenly abode, His majesty, and also His throne to be with us lesser mortals. It shows the difference that exists between the two worlds.
In the third stanza of “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” the poem speaks about whether the muse of heaven presents a gift to the infant child. It asks the heavenly muse if they have a hymn or verse to sing and welcome God to His new abode.
In the fourth stanza of “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” the poem encourages the muse to go ahead of the “star-led wizards,” who are the three wise men or magi who are coming to deliver their gifts to the Christ Child. It motivates the muse to arrive first and honor the Lord and join the angelic choir.
The “Hymn” section of the poem “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity” by John Milton begins in the fifth stanza.