by Thomas Hardy (1915)
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. / “Now they are all on their knees,” / An elder said as we sat in a flock / By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where / They dwelt in their strawy pen, / Nor did it occur to one of us there / To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave / In these years! Yet, I feel, / If someone said on Christmas Eve, / “Come; see the oxen kneel,
“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb / Our childhood used to know,” / I should go with him in the gloom, / Hoping it might be so.