Down the tunnel long that Time hath built -
Thro' the circles smaller growing -
Past the doubts and fears
Of the arching years -
Toward the entrance dimly glowing
Doth Memory speed on her way to-night
Back to childhood's dormitory,
Just to hear once more
With the faith of yore
The sweet old Christmas story.
All unbid, she'll slip in the trundle-bed,
To the space 'twixt down and feather;
And will lay her head,
As in time long fled,
Where the pillows meet together.
She will close her eyes at the face she sees
All ablaze with loving glory,
As a mother sweet
Will again repeat
The dear old Christmas story.
The angels and shepherds again will play
Their parts in the drama holy;
The star will appear,
The wise men revere,
The Babe in the manager lowly.
Then Memory, like Mary, will ponder well
These things of the ages hoary;
And with tender art
Tell the softened heart
The old, old Christmas story.
Oh, the sweet old story!
The dear old story!
The old, old story to memory dear!
Hearts of the boldest,
The sternest, the coldest,
Grow warm o'er the story told once a year!