When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled

When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

by Howard Thurman

Comments (3)

Sonnet 99 is a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the poet expresses his love towards a young man. The sonnet is generally grouped with the preceding two in the sequence, with which it shares a dominant trope and image set: the beloved is described in terms of, and judged superior to, nature and its beauties. The sonnet has attracted some attention as one of those that appears to provide clues about the historical identity of Shakespeare's subject (on the traditional assumption that the poems are in some sense autobiographical) . In 1904, C. C. Stopes noted the existence of a portrait of Southampton at Welbeck Abbey in which his hair curls in a manner similar to young marjoram. This analysis has been disputed by scholars who assert that smell, rather than appearance, is the primary referent of Shakespeare's line. Because of the extravagant praise of the beloved's body, some Victorian scholars were reluctant to believe that the poem was addressed to a man; current consensus, however, groups it with the other poems written to the young man. The sonnet has 15 lines, and is the only poem in the sequence which has more than fourteen (126 has 12) . Sonnet structure was not fixed during the period, and Sidney Lee adduces many examples of fifteen line sonnets. An extra line is particularly common in linked sonnets, and this sonnet is linked to 98; Malone ended 98 with a colon to demonstrate the connection. However, other scholars have remarked on the clumsiness of the first line and suggested that the quarto text represents an unrevised draft that found its way into print. [from Wikipedia]
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Sweet violet, sweet thief of stolen smells Of what, this blushing shame On thy account Does Shakespeare tell