Pres Longley’s Christmas Poem

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Pres Longley, the Bard of Butte

Pres Longley, the “Bard of Butte,” wrote many, many poems for the newspapers. This one appeared in the Oroville Daily Register on December 24th, 1908.

A Poem for Christmas
About two thousand years ago
The Earth was filled with saddest woe
And men looked out from caverns dark
To catch a gleam, a single spark
Of some bright hope that might convey
The opening of a better day
But all was gloom -- no light divine
Amid the darkness seemed to shine.

No still, small Voice was heard to say,
"I am the Life, -- O come this way";
No great "Physician" cried aloud
Unto the maimed and sickened crowd,
"Believe in Me, I'll make you whole
In strength of body, mind and soul."
The rich ran riot in their lust,
The poor were groveling in the dust,
And few in God had put their trust.

Earth was a mansion of despair,
And every prospect bright and fair
Was merged in night; and none might turn
Aside the things that made them mourn.
But hear from off the wintry plain
A song of joy, a sweet refrain
Of angel voices singing nigh
That made sweet music in the sky.

And a Voice resounding o'er the hill,
To all mankind, "Peace and good will."
A star arose -- a glittering gem--
It was the "Star of Bethlehem."
Jesus lay in manger, and
Wise men came from Eastern land
To offer praise and homage due
To One whose love for man is true.

It was an era in our race
That brought to us the smile of grace.
He healed the sick, the lame, the blind,
And brought sweet comfort to the mind.
He drank the bitter cup of gall,
And dying broke our sinful thrall.
Without our Christ, we'd sink again
To hopeless sinfulness and pain.

But now we see o'er all the world
The banner of His Cross unfurled,
And written on its folds so dear
The words of of hope and cheer
And a Voice still crying, ere you sink,
"Ho! every one,come up and drink,
Drink of His love, 'tis free as rain,
And you shall never thirst again."

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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