St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 2, December, 1877 by Various


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Page 1

And the people answered: "You ask in vain;
We know of no king but Herod the Great!"
They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plain
Like riders in haste who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem,
Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
And said: "Go down into Bethlehem,
And bring me tidings of this new king."

So they rode away; and the star stood still,
The only one in the gray of morn;
Yes, it stopped, it stood still of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
The city of David where Christ was born.

And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard,
Through the silent street, till their horses turned
And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard;
But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred,
And only a light in the stable burned.

And cradled there in the scented hay,
In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,--
The child that would be king one day
Of a kingdom not human but divine.

His mother, Mary of Nazareth,
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death
Were mingled together in her breast.

They laid their offerings at his feet;
The gold was their tribute to a king;
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the priest, the Paraclete,
The myrrh for the body's burying.

And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone;
Her heart was troubled, yet comforted,
Remembering what the angel had said
Of an endless reign and of David's throne.

Then the Kings rode out of the city gate,
With the clatter of hoofs in proud array;
But they went not back to Herod the Great,
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
And returned to their homes by another way.



[The following hitherto-unprinted fragment by Theodore Winthrop, author
of "John Brent," "The Canoe and the Saddle," "Life in the Open Air,"
and other works, was intended by him for the first chapter of a story
called "Steers Flotsam," but it has an interest of its own, and is a
complete narrative in itself.

Perhaps there are many of our young readers who do not know the history
of that brave young officer who, one of the very first to fall in the
late war, was killed at Great Bethel, Virginia, June 10, 1861. He was
born at New Haven, Connecticut, in September, 1828. He was a studious
and quiet boy, and not very robust. From early youth he had determined
to become an author worthy of fame, but he tore himself away from his
beloved work at the call of his country just as he was about to win
that fame, leaving behind him a number of finished and unfinished
writings, most of which were afterward published.

He could handle oars as well as write of them, could skate like his
hero in "Love and Skates," and was good at all manly sports. He
traveled much, visited Europe twice, lived two years at the Isthmus of
Panama, and returning from there across the plains (an adventurous trip
at that time), learned in those far western wilds to manage and
understand the half-tamed horses and untamed savages about whom he
writes so well. This varied experience gave a freedom and power to his
pen that the readers of the ST. NICHOLAS are not too young to perceive
and appreciate.]

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