The Sending Of The Magi

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IN a far Eastern country
It happened long of yore,
Where a lone and level sunrise
Flushes the desert floor,
That three kings sat together
And a spearman kept the door.
Gaspar, whose wealth was counted
By city and caravan;
With Melchior, the seer
Who read the starry plan;
And Balthasar, the blameless,
Who loved his fellow man.
There while they talked, a sudden
Strange rushing sound arose,
And as with startled faces
They thought upon their foes,
Three figures stood before them
In imperial repose.
One in flame-gold and one in blue
And one in scarlet clear,
With the almighty portent
Of sunrise they drew near!
And the kings made obeisance
With hand on breast, in fear.
"Arise," said they, "we bring you
Good tidings of great peace!
To-day a power is wakened
Whose working must increase,
Till fear and greed and malice
And violence shall cease."
The messengers were Michael,
By whom all things are wrought
To shape and hue; and Gabriel
Who is the lord of thought;
And Rafael without whose love
All toil must come to nought.
Then Rafael said to Balthasar,
"In a country west from here
A lord is born in lowliness,
In love without a peer.
Take grievances and gifts to him
And prove his kingship clear!
"By this sign ye shall know him;
Within his mother's arm
Among the sweet-breathed cattle
He slumbers without harm,
While wicked hearts are troubled
And tyrants take alarm."
And Gabriel said to Melchior,
"My comrade, I will send
My star to go before you,
That ye may comprehend
Where leads your mystic learning
In a humaner trend."
And Michael said to Gaspar,
"Thou royal builder, go
With tribute of thy riches!
Though time shall overthrow
Thy kingdom, no undoing
His gentle might shall know."
Then while the kings' hearts greatened
And all the chamber shone,
As when the hills at sundown
Take a new glory on
And the air thrills with purple,
Their visitors were gone.
Then straightway up rose Gaspar,
Melchior and Balthasar,
And passed out through the murmur
Of palace and bazar,
To make without misgiving
The journey of the Star.

© Bliss William Carman