Christmas Poetry -The Three Kings

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is one of the most famous American poets of all time. In 1877 he wrote the poem, The Three Kings to tell the story of the wise men traveling to meet Jesus at his birth. The wise men are a wonderful model of worship to share with our children, especially at Christmastime.

What I love about this poem was that Longfellow adds some of his own imaginative details, speculating at parts of the story and adding humanity to the nameless Wise Men. Like, having them nod off as they rode on their long journey to Bethlehem. But, he also closely follows the nativity story. So much so, that I chose to share this Christmas poem with my kids so we could purposefully connect it to the actual accounts in the gospel record.

I’ve made a poetry study pack that includes a printable version of the poem as well as a side by side comparison with the bible verses and the poem’s stanzas right next to each other. The printable also includes a list of discussion questions to start conversations with your kids after you read the poem and compare it to the Bible’s account of the nativity story. You can grab this pack below. I hope that this resource makes it easier for you to use this in your homeschool.

Three Kings Poetry Pack


The Three Kings Christmas Poetry by Longfellow. Plus free printable study pack.


The Three Kings

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;
Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
And they traveled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.
The star was so beautiful, large and clear,
That all the other stars of the sky
Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this, they knew that the coming was near
Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.
Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows,
Three caskets of gold with golden keys;
Their robes were of crimson silk with rows
Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,
Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.
And so the Three Kings rode into the West,
Through the dusk of the night, over hill and dell,
And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest,
With the people, they met at some wayside well.
“Of the child that is born,” said Baltasar,
“Good people, I pray you, tell us the news;
For we in the East have seen his star,
And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
To find and worship the King of the Jews.”
And the people answered, “You ask in vain;
We know of no King but Herod the Great!”
They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plain,
Like riders in haste, who cannot wait.
And when they came to Jerusalem,
Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
And said, “Go down unto Bethlehem,
And bring me tidings of this new king.”
So they rode away, and the star stood still,
The only one in the grey of morn;
Yes, it stopped—it stood still of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
The city of David, where Christ was born.
And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard,
Through the silent street, till their horses turned
And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard;
But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred,
And only a light in the stable burned.
And cradled there in the scented hay,
In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,
The child, that would be king one day
Of a kingdom not human, but divine.
His mother Mary of Nazareth
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death
Were mingled together in her breast.
They laid their offerings at his feet:
The gold was their tribute to a King,
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,
The myrrh for the body’s burying.
And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone,
Her heart was troubled yet comforted,
Remembering what the Angel had said
Of an endless reign and of David’s throne.
Then the Kings rode out of the city gate,
With a clatter of hoofs in proud array;
But they went not back to Herod the Great,
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
And returned to their homes by another way.
24 Days to a Christ Centered Christmas

Bible Verses:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 
Isaiah 7:14


Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?”
Matthew 2:1-2


King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem.
Matthew 2:3-6


Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
Matthew 2:7-8


After their interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.
Matthew 2:9


She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.                                                                                                                                       Luke 2:7


“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10-12


You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High, The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Luke 1:31-33


They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11


But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Luke 2:19


When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
Matthew 2:12


Grab your FREE copy of The Three Kings Poetry Study Pack to use in your homeschool this month. 

Three Kings Poetry Pack


Further Study on Longfellow:

Longfellow Biography from the Poetry Foundation

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: A Maine Historical Society Web Site

Longfellow House NPS

13 Amazing Facts About Longfellow by Maine Historical Society


I hope you enjoy sharing this beautiful poem about the birth of  Jesus with your children this December.




Posted in Christmas, Poetry and tagged , , , .

Hi, I'm Heidi a homeschooling Mama just like you. I'm passionate about simplifying your homeschool days and providing quality resources and support to your homeschool family. We are a full time RVing family roadschooling across the United States, learning through experiences.


  1. Pingback: Nativity Poetry Study {Free Printable} | They Call Me Blessed

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  3. I was trying to download the Three Kings poetry pack but when I click on it I get a screen asking for me to subscribe even though I already did. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Dawn, I’m sorry you had trouble getting your printables. I just sent you an e-mail with the PDF and instructions on viewing all the freebies in the resource library in the future. I hope you have fun with the poem and please let me know if I can help in any other way.

    • Hi Maria! I”m sorry you’re having trouble getting your download. I just sent you an e-mail with the PDF and instructions on getting to any other freebies you’re interested in. Please let me know if you need anything else.

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