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The Infant Jesus

To help celebrate Christmas, we end the Canadian section of this issue with an Irish poem, and the Irish section with the Huron Christmas Carol.

"Jesukin", attributed to both St. Ita and St. Brigid, two of the earliest Irish saints, speaks with human familiarity of the infant Jesus. Any parent of a new-born child can feel its warmth.

Lives my little cell within;
What were wealth of cleric high-
All is lie but Jesukin.

Nursling nurtured, as 'tis right-
Harbours here no servile sprite-
Jesu of the skies, who art
Next my heart thro' every night!

Jesukin, my good for aye,
Calling and will not have nay,
King of all things, ever true,
He shall rue who will away.

Jesu, more than angels aid,
Fosterling nor formed to fade,
Nursed by me in desert wild,
Jesu, child of Judah's Maid.

Son of Kings and kingly kin,
To my land may enter in;
Guest of none I hope to be,
Save of Thee, my Jesukin!

Unto heaven's High King confest
Sing a chorus, maidens blest!
He is o'er us, though within
Jesukin is on my breast!

(Translated by George Sigerson)


The Huron Carol

Twas in the moon of wintertime
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wond'ring hunters heard the hymn:
Jesus, your King is born,
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O, harken to the angels' word,
Do not decline
To heed the message which you heard:
The Child Divine,
As they proclaim, has come this morn
Of Mary pure. Let us adore.
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp'd His beauty 'round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high:
Jesus, your King is born,
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on
The helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before Him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus, your King is born,
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heav'n
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy;
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
Jesus, your King is born,
Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

The story of this wonderful Canadian Christmas favourite may be found at Huron Carol where various translations are given.The popular version above is not a true translation but an interpretation by J. E. Middleton (1872-1960). The original was written by the martyred St. Jean de Brebeuf.


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