Flocks feed by darkness with a noise of whispers,
In the dry grass of pastures,
And lull the solemn night with their weak bells.
really wonderful sound in this first stanza; makes it dramatic -=- really makes the whole poem
The little towns upon the rocky hills
Look down as meek as children:
Because they have seen come this holy time.
sorta boring, as a stanza
God's glory, now, is kindled gentler than low candlelight
Under the rafters of a barn:
Eternal Peace is sleeping in the hay,
And Wisdom's born in secret in a straw-roofed stable.
And O! Make holy music in the stars, you happy angels.
You shepherds, gather on the hill.
Look up, you timid flocks, where the three kings
Are coming through the wintry trees;
really interesting, as it is the pronouns in this stanza and the next that can be usefully cut, all are here in service of drawing an unnecessary contrast between "you" and "we" -- which is already made more subtlely by theme
While we unnumbered children of the wicked centuries
Come after with our penances and prayers,
And lay them down in the sweet-smelling hay << sweet hay
Beside the wise men's golden jars. , or just golden jars