One of my favorite Christmas-related manuscripts, aside from the occasional diary entry, is a series of illustrated verses created by Melancthon Woolsey in 1783 for his Grandmother Woolsey. I can understand why it survived; it is beautiful. Each verse is illustrated by a vignette in a circular “frame”, and includes the angels appearing to the shepherds in the field, the Virgin Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus in the manger, and the adoration of the Magi.
The eastern sages from afar
Beheld the bright auspicious star
Survey’d with joy the wondrous sign
And knew the [?] all divine.
The shepherds too upon the plains
Heard angels sing their heavanly strains
Peace! peace! on earth, goodwill to men
Their constant unremitting theme.
“Messiah’s come Messiah’s born
And this the glorious happy morn”–
My infant voice I too will raise
And join the universal praise.
This small essay on the
divinest of subjects
To my honor’d
Woolsey is with the most
respectful filial sentiments
Melancthon Taylor Woolsey.
Dec. 25th 1783
What better present could a grandmother have? Merry Christmas to all from CHS and Melancthon Woolsey (I just like the name!).