The Inn-Keeper Makes Excuses

Edgar Guest 

"Oh, if only I had known!"
     Said the keeper of the inn.
"But no hint to me was shown,
     And I didn't let them in.

"Yes, a star gleamed overhead,
     But I couldn't read the skies,
And I'd given every bed
     To the very rich and wise.

"And she was so poorly clad,
     And he hadn't much to say!
But no room for them I had,
     So I ordered them away.

"She seemed tired, and it was late
      And they begged so hard, that I
Feeling sorry for her state,
     In the stable let them lie.

"Had I turned some rich man out
     Just to make a place for them
'Twould have killed, beyond a doubt,
     All my trade at Bethlehem.

"Then there came the wise men three
     To the stable, with the morn,
Who announced they'd come to see
     The great King who had been born.

"And they brought Him gifts of myrrh,
     Costly frankincense and gold,
And a great light shone on her
     In the stable, bleak and cold.

"All my patrons, now are dead
     And forgotten, but to-day
All the world to peace is led
     By the ones I sent away

"It was my unlucky fate
     To be born that Inn to own,
Against Christ I shut my gate
     Oh, if only I had known!"

From Collected Verse of Edgar Guest
NY:Buccaneer Books, 1976, pg. 614