Birds in Christmas Hymns – The Day The Christ-Child’s Tender Eyes

Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae) in nest by Peter Ericsson

Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae) in nest by Peter Ericsson

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11 KJV)

Words by May R. Smith (1842-1927).

Music: St. Pe­ters­burg, at­trib­ut­ed to Dmi­tri S. Bort­ni­an­sky (1751-1825), 1825

Birds in Christmas Hymns

Birds in Christmas Hymns

The Day The Christ-Child’s Tender Eyes

The day the Christ-child’s tender eyes
Unveiled their beauty on the earth,
God lit a new star in the skies
To flash the message of His birth;
And wise men read the glowing sign,
And came to greet the Child divine.

Low kneeling in the stable’s gloom,
Their precious treasures they unrolled;
The place was rich with sweet perfume;
Upon the floor lay gifts of gold.
And thus adoring they did bring
To Christ the earliest offering.

I think no nimbus wreathed the head
Of the young King so rudely throned;
The quilt of hay beneath Him spread
The sleepy kine beside Him owned;
And here and there in the torn thatch
The sky thrust in a starry patch.

Oh, when was new-born monarch shrined
Within such canopy as this?
The birds have cradles feather lined;
And for their new babes princesses
Have sheets of lace without a flaw,
His pillow was a wisp of straw!

He chose this way, it may have been,
That those poor mothers, everywhere,
Whose babies in the world’s great inn
Find scanty cradle-room and fare,
As did the Babe of Bethlehem,
May find somewhat to comfort them.

Mute Swan on Nest at Lake Morton

Mute Swan on Nest at Lake Morton by Dan

May Riley Smith (1842-1927) – Smith at­tend­ed the Tra­cey Fe­male In­sti­tute in Ro­ches­ter, and the Col­le­gi­ate In­sti­tute in Brock­port, New York. She mar­ried Al­bert Smith of Spring­field, Il­li­nois, in 1869; they were liv­ing in New York state in 1910. Her works in­clude:

The Gift of Gen­ti­ans, 1882
The Inn of Rest, 1888
Sometime and Other Po­ems, 1892

Dmi­tri S. Bort­ni­an­sky (1751-1825) – Bortniansky’s mu­sic­al ca­reer be­gan in the church choir. As a young man, he stu­died with Bal­das­sare Ga­lup­pi (il Bur­a­nel­lo) in St. Pe­ters­burg. In 1769, Bort­ni­an­sky fol­lowed Ga­lup­pi to Ita­ly (with the help of a sti­pend from Rus­sian Emp­ress Ca­ther­ine) to work in op­era. His pro­duct­ions in­clud­ed Cre­on­te (1776), Al­cide (1778), and Quin­to Fa­bio (1778). Af­ter re­turn­ing to Rus­sia, he be­came mas­ter of the court choir in St. Pe­ters­burg. In 1796, he was ap­point­ed di­rect­or of the czar’s court cha­pel and a coun­cilor of state. In ad­di­tion to his other du­ties, he com­posed li­tur­gi­cal mu­sic, and wrote op­er­as with French texts: La fête du seign­eur (1786), Le fau­con (1786), and Le fils-ri­val (1787). Af­ter his death, his work spread to Prus­sia, where his mu­sic ap­peared in Alt­preuß­ische Agen­de (Old Prus­sian Agen­da) in 1829. His tune St. Pe­ters­burg/Wells is a tra­di­tion­al clos­ing piece for the Groß­er Zap­fen­streich (cer­e­mon­i­al tat­too) in Ger­man mil­i­tary mu­sic.

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More Birds in Hymns

See ~ Wordless Birds

Most information from The Cyber Hymnal – The Day The Christ-Child’s Tender Eyes

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