As I in hoary winter's night
stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat
which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye
to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright
did in the air appear;
Who, scorched with excessive heat,
such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames
which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born
in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm
their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is,
the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke,
the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on,
and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought
are men's defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire
I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight
and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.