Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, December 24, 2012

From Christmas Poem to Favorite Hymn

Christina Rossetti is the author of many Advent and Christmas poems that were posthumously published in her POETIC WORKS, in 1904. Her most famous, A Christmas Carol, became a favorite Christmas hymn entitled In the Bleak Midwinter after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906, with a setting by Gustav Holst (and later by Harold Darke).  

This beloved Christmas carol has been performed by choirs and soloists ever since, including the Robert Shaw Chorale, Chanticleer, Julie Andrews, Sarah Mclachlan, and most recently, James Taylor (who sings my favorite modern rendition).

Below I've posted Rossetti's poem, accompanied by some Christmas picture book covers that illustrate the text beautifully...

by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place
sufficed the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.


  1. Christina Rossetti's poetry is truly remarkable. This is one of my favorite short Christmas poems written by Christina. Thanks for sharing these, together with those lovely pictures. Have a great holiday!