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."