Saturday, 17 December 2011
Saturday Poetry . . . The Three Kings
Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;
Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
for their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.
The star was so beautiful, large, and clear,
That all the other stars of the sky
Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this they knew that the coming was near
Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.
Three caskets they bore on their saddlebows,
Three caskets of gold with golden keys;
Their robes were of crimson silk with rows
of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,
Their turbans like blossoming almond trees.
And so the Three Kings rode into the West,
Through the dusk of night, over hill and dell,
And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest,
With the people they met at some wayside well.
"Of the child that is born," said Baltasar,
"Good people, I pray you, tell us the news;
For we in the East have seen his star,
And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
To find and worship the King of the Jews."
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, and 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 unto Bethlehem,
And bring me tidings of this new king."
So they rode away; and the star stood still,
The only one in the grey of morn,
Yes, it stopped, --stood still of it's 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, til 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 it's 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 a 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.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It is good to remember the reason for the season. I had never read this poem by Longfellow before, but I thought it very fitting for this time of year. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
I have a very busy day today. This morning we are going to a Wedding, and then tonight we have three Baptisms to attend, which is a first for us. Neither of us have ever seen three people Baptised at one time before, so that's pretty exciting!
I've been baking a few Christmas Goodies. I don't bake for Christmas like I used to do years ago. With just two of us in the house, it just isn't practical, but it is nice to have a few things here just in case people drop in. These are a real favourite of ours and the recipe comes from a very old Robin Hood Christmas pamplet that my mother gave me many moons ago. I think it comes from the 1950's. In any case, they are very, very good!
*Cherry Dream Cookies*
Makes 24 - 30 cookies
You might want to double this cookie recipe. These are fabulous! Not only quick and easy but filled with buttery flavour. Like a shortbread, except better!
4 ounces butter (1/2 cup)
6 TBS icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla essence
¼ tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
6 TBS finely chopped glace cherries (red, green, gold)
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Cream the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) and stir in to mix well. I find a fork works well for this. Stir in the chopped cherries. (I chop my cherries up with kitchen scissors)
Roll teaspoons of the dough into balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Press down with a floured fork. Bake for 15 minutes or so until golden. Let cool on pan five minutes before removing to wire racks to finish cooling.
Over in The English Kitchen today, some delicious Christmas Muffins!