When Christ was born on
The birds and the beasts knelt down to pray.
In wonder all,
The ox in his stall,
The fox in the field,
While badger and bear and each wild thing
Flocked round the manger where slept a King
Housed in a stable at Bethlehem.
And the long-legged stork was there with them,
With her feathers white,
Her crest held high,
And awe in her bright,
"Alas," mourned she, "how poor His bed
Who rules the universe overhead!"
"Though cozily curled
Sleep all my breed,
The Lord of the World
Lies hard, indeed."
"Unpillowed is He who should wear a crown."
Then out of her bossom she plucked the down.
The plumes from her brest
She tugged and tore
That the Child should rest
Like a beggar no more
But fine on a pallet fit for a prince.
And Blest has the stork been, ever since--
For the gift that she gave of her body's wear,
Blest on chimneys, blest in the air,
And patron of babies everywhere.