In reading the Nativity Ode, the sense of loss that we feel at the disappearance of the pagan gods is genuine, but it does not interfere with the unity of the poem. For the coming of Christ is also presented in a paradoxical manner: the Prince of Light comes to us in darkness, the all-powerful God in a “house of mortal clay.” We should therefore not be surprised that the arrival of Christianity, which will eventually make all life divine, has as its first result the banishment of what men had thought of as divine—the false gods. The ambivalent attitude towards the pagan gods is thus continuous with the paradox of Christ; and the poem, although complex in bringing together contradictory feelings, is unified in tone.

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