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Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock
‘Now they are all on their knees’,
An alder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us here
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
Is someone said on Christmas Eve,
‘Come, see the oxen kneel
‘In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,’
I should go with him the gloom
Hoping it might be so.
Thomas Hardy 1915
Published Sat 22nd Dec 2012 14:00:58