How far is it to Bethlehem
How far is it to Bethlehem? Not very far?
Shall we find the stable roof, lit by a star?
Can we see the little child, is he within?
If we lift the wooden latch, may we go in?
May we stroke the creatures there, ox, ass, and sheep?
May we peep like them, and see Jesus sleep?
If we touch His tiny hand, will He awake?
Will He know we'd come so far, just for his sake?
Great kings leave precious gifts, and we have naught.
Little smiles and little tears are all we brought.
For all weary children Mary must weep;
Here, on His bed of straw, sleep children, sleep.
God in His mother's arms, babes in the byre,
Sleep as they sleep who find their heart's desire.
Frances Alice Chesterton (1875-1938)
Frances Chesterton was the wife of the English poet G.K. Chesterton and a poet in her own right. I sang a setting of "How Far Is It To Bethlehem" with the Cathedral Choral Society in 2000, but I don't remember who composed it. It was a nice piece, though.