On a dark midnight such as this,
Nearly two thousand years ago,
Three kings looked out towards the East,
Where a single star shone low.
Shepherds were sleeping in the fields,
When the hosts of Heaven above them sang:
“Peace upon earth, goodwill towards men”,
And the deeps in answering cadence rang.
Low in the manger poor and cold,
Lay Mary with her new-born child,
Scarce sheltered from the bitter blast
That whistled round them shrill and wild.
Be with them Lord in camp and field,
Who guard our ancient name to-night.
Hark to the cry that rises now,
Lord, maintain us in our right.
Be with the dying, be with the dead,
Sore-stricken far on alien ground,
Be with the ships on clashing seas,
That gird our island kingdom round.
Through barren nights and fruitless days
Of waiting when our faith grows dim
Mary be with the stricken heart,
Thou hast a son, remember him.
Lord, Thou hast been our refuge sure,
The Everlasting Arms are wide,
Thy words from age to age endure,
Thy loving care will still provide.
Vouchsafe that we may see, dear Lord,
Vouchsafe that we may see,
Thy purpose through the aching days,
And may our prayers be heard.
From: “For Remembrance, Soldier Poets who have fallen in the War” Edited by Arthur St. John Adcock (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1920)