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Title: In The Yule-Log Glow, Vol. IV (of IV)
Author: Morris, Harrison S. (Harrison Smith), 1856-1948
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In The Yule-Log Glow, Vol. IV (of IV)" ***

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              IN THE
                 YULE-LOG GLOW


              CHRISTMAS POEMS FROM
                'ROUND THE WORLD


  "Sic as folk tell ower at a winter ingle"
                                            _Scott_


                   EDITED BY
               HARRISON S. MORRIS


                IN FOUR BOOKS
                   Book IV.


                 PHILADELPHIA
            J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
                     1900.


[Illustration: Christmas Weather]


Copyright, 1891, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.

PRINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA.



ILLUSTRATIONS, BOOK IV.


CHRISTMAS WEATHER                              Frontispiece.

"WHAT CAN I GIVE HIM?"                               Page 90

THE SEASON'S REVERIES                                 "  174

"TOO HAPPY, HAPPY TREE"                               "  212



CONTENTS OF BOOK IV.


SUNG UNDER THE WINDOW.                                  PAGE

  Who's There?                                             9

  God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen                           10

  Welcome Yule                                            12

  Angel Heralds                                           14

  The Matchless Maiden                                    15

  Remember, O Thou Man                                    16

  The Singers in the Snow                                 19

  A Christmas Chorus                                      21

  Three Ships                                             22

  Jacob's Ladder                                          24

  Saint Stephen, the Clerk                                26

  The Carnal and the Crane                                29

  The Holy Well                                           35

  The Holly and the Ivy                                   38

  The Contest of the Vines                                39

  Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ                         41

  Christmas Minstrelsy                                    43

  The Old, Old Story                                      47

  A Christmas Ballad                                      49

  A French Noël[A]                                        52

  Masters, in this Hall                                   54


THE WORSHIP OF THE BABE.

  To His Saviour, a Child; a Present, by a Child          59

  Honor to the King                                       60

  New Prince, New Pomp                                    62

  Of the Epiphany                                         64

  A Hymn for the Epiphany                                 66

  A Hymn on the Nativity of My Saviour                    68

  At Christmas                                            70

  New Heaven, New War                                     72

  For Christmas Day                                       73

  Sung to the King in the Presence at Whitehall           75

  And They Laid Him in a Manger                           77

  The Burning Babe                                        79

  Christ's Nativity                                       81

  An Ode on the Birth of Our Saviour                      83

  Who Can Forget?                                         85

  The Child Jesus                                         87

  Long Ago                                                89

  Star of Bethlehem                                       91

  No Room                                                 92

  On Christmas Day                                        94

  The Heavenly Choir                                      96


THE WASSAIL-BOWL.

  Wassail                                                103

  Invitation à Faire Noël                                105

  A Thanksgiving                                         107

  Around the Wassail-Bowl                                108

  From Door to Door                                      111

  Wassailing Carol                                       113

  A Carol at the Gates                                   116

  Wandering Wassailers                                   118

  Bring Us in Good Ale                                   120

  About the Board                                        122

  Before the Feast                                       123

  A Bill of Christmas Fare                               125

  The Mahogany-Tree                                      126

  A Christmas Ceremony                                   129

  With Cakes and Ale                                     129

  The Masque of Christmas                                130


SANTA CLAUS.

  A Visit from St. Nicholas                              145

  The Hard Times in Elfland[B]                           148

  Old Christmas                                          156

  Mrs. Santa Claus                                       158

  Santa Claus to Little Ethel                            163


THE SEASON'S REVERIES.

  Guests at Yule                                         169

  Christmas in India                                     171

  Christmas Violets                                      174

  Dickens Returns on Christmas Day                       175

  A Grief at Christmas                                   176

  My Sister's Sleep                                      183

  Christmas in Edinborough. I.                           186

  Christmas in Edinborough. II.                          187

  Around the Christmas Lamp                              188

  Christmas Eve                                          189

  Wonderland                                             190

  Waiting                                                192

  Aunt Mary                                              193

  The Glad New Day                                       195

  Under the Holly Bough                                  196

  The Dawn of Christmas                                  198

  Ballade of Christmas Ghosts                            200

  The Village Christmas                                  202

  Winter                                                 203

  December                                               204

  Christmas Weather in Scotland                          205

  Sir Galahad                                            212

  A Thought for the Time                                 213

  Ballade of the Winter Fireside                         214

  A Catch by the Hearth                                  216

  Sally in Our Alley                                     217

  Little Mother                                          218

  Occident and Orient                                    220

  The Blessed Day                                        225

  Christmas in Cuba[C]                                   227

  Farewell to Christmas                                  229

  The New Year                                           231

  A Happy New Year                                       234

  New-Year's Gifts                                       236

  The End of the Play                                    238

  Finis                                                  240


FOOTNOTES:

[A] By the courtesy of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

[B] By the courtesy of Messrs. Charles Scribners' Sons.

[C] By the courtesy of Messrs. Harper & Bros.



_Sung Under The Window._


  "This carol they began that hour
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino!"

                    _Shakespeare._



WHO'S THERE?


  Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell,
  Who ys there that syngith so, nowell, nowell, nowell?

  I am here, syre Christmasse!
  Well come, my lord syre Christmasse,
  Welcome to us all, bothe more and lesse,
                            Come nere, nowell!

  Dieu vous garde, beau syre, tydinges you bryng:
  A mayd hath born a chylde full yong,
  The weche causeth yew for to syng,
                                        Nowell!

  Criste is now born of a pure mayde,
  In an oxe stalle he ys layde,
  Wher'for syng we alle atte abrayde
                                        Nowell!

  Bebbex bien par tutte la company,
  Make gode chere and be right mery,
  And syng with us now joyfully,
                                        Nowell!



GOD REST YOU MERRY, GENTLEMEN.


  God rest you merry, gentlemen,
    Let nothing you dismay,
  For Jesus Christ our Saviour
    Was born upon this day
  To save us all from Satan's power
    When we were gone astray.
      O tidings of comfort and joy,
    For Jesus Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day.

  In Bethlehem in Jewry
    This blessed babe was born,
  And laid within a manger
    Upon this blessed morn;
  The which His mother Mary
    Nothing did take in scorn.
                              O tidings, etc.

  From God our Heavenly Father
    A blessed angel came,
  And unto certain shepherds
    Brought tidings of the same,
  How that in Bethlehem was born
    The Son of God by name.
                              O tidings, etc.

  Fear not, then said the angel,
    Let nothing you affright,
  This day is born a Saviour
    Of virtue, power, and might;
  So frequently to vanquish all
    The friends of Satan quite.
                              O tidings, etc.

  The shepherds at those tidings
    Rejoicéd much in mind,
  And left their flocks a-feeding
    In tempest, storm, and wind,
  And went to Bethlehem straightway
    This blessed babe to find.
                              O tidings, etc.

  But when to Bethlehem they came,
    Whereat this infant lay,
  They found Him in a manger
    Where oxen feed on hay;
  His mother Mary kneeling
    Unto the Lord did pray.
                              O tidings, etc.

  Now to the Lord sing praises,
    All you within this place,
  And with true love and brotherhood
    Each other now embrace;
  This holy tide of Christmas
    All others doth deface.
                              O tidings, etc.



WELCOME YULE.


  _Welcome Yule, thou merry man,_
  _In worship of this holy day._

  Welcome be thou, heaven-king,
  Welcome born in one morning,
  Welcome for whom we shall sing,
          Welcome Yule.

  Welcome be ye, Stephen and John,
  Welcome Innocents, every one,
  Welcome Thomas Martyr one,
          Welcome Yule.

  Welcome be ye, good New Year,
  Welcome Twelfth Day, both in fere,[D]
  Welcome saintés lef[E] and dear,
          Welcome Yule.

  Welcome be ye, Candlemas,
  Welcome be ye, Queen of Bliss,
  Welcome both to more and less,
          Welcome Yule.

  Welcome be ye that are here,
  Welcome all and make good cheer;
  Welcome all, another year,
          Welcome Yule.

                    _Ritson's Ancient Songs._


FOOTNOTES:

[D] Together.

[E] Loved.



ANGEL HERALDS.


  As Joseph was a-walking,
    He heard an angel sing:
  "This night shall be born
    Our Heavenly King;

  "He neither shall be born
    In housen nor in hall,
  Nor in the place of Paradise,
    But in an ox's stall;

  "He neither shall be clothéd
    In purple nor in pall,
  But all in fair linen,
    As we were babies all.

  "He neither shall be rocked
    In silver nor in gold,
  But in a wooden cradle
    That rocks on the mould.

  "He neither shall be christened
    In white wine nor in red,
  But with fair spring-water
    With which we were christenéd."



THE MATCHLESS MAIDEN.


  I sing of a maiden
    That is makeless;[F]
  King of all kings
    To her son she ches;[G]

  He came also[H] still
    There His mother was,
  As dew in April
    That falleth on the grass.

  He came also still
    To His mother's bower,
  As dew in April
    That falleth on the flower.

  He came also still
    There His mother lay,
  As dew in April
    That falleth on the spray.

  Mother and maiden
    Was never none but she;
  Well may such a lady
    God's mother be.

                    _Wright's Songs and Carols._


FOOTNOTES:

[F] Matchless.

[G] Chose.

[H] As.



REMEMBER, O THOU MAN.


  Remember, O thou Man,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  Remember, O thou Man,
    Thy time is spent.
  Remember, O thou Man,
  How thou earnest to me then,
  And I did what I can,
    Therefore repent.

  Remember Adam's fall,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  Remember Adam's fall
    From Heaven to Hell.
  Remember Adam's fall,
  How we were condemnéd all
  To Hell perpetual,
    There for to dwell.

  Remember God's goodness,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  Remember God's goodness
    And promise made.
  Remember God's goodness,
  How His only Son He sent
  Our sins for to redress,
    Be not afraid.

  The Angels all did sing,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  The Angels all did sing
    On Sion hill.
  The Angels all did sing
  Praises to our heavenly king,
  And peace to man living,
    With right good-will.

  The Shepherds amazed was,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  The Shepherds amazed was
    To hear the angels sing.
  The Shepherds amazed was
  How this should come to pass,
  That Christ our Messias
    Should be our King.

  To Bethlehem did they go,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  To Bethlehem did they go
    This thing to see.
  To Bethlehem did they go
  To see whether it was so,
  Whether Christ was born or no,
    To set us free.

  As the Angels before did say,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  As the Angels before did say,
    So it came to pass.
  As the Angels before did say,
  They found Him wrapt in hay
  In a manger where He lay,
    So poor He was.

  In Bethlehem was He born,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  In Bethlehem was He born
    For mankind dear.
  In Bethlehem was He born
  For us that were forlorn,
  And therefore took no scorn
    Our sins to bear.

  In a manger laid He was,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  In a manger laid He was
    At this time present.
  In a manger laid He was
  Between an ox and an ass,
  And all for our trespass,
    Therefore repent.

  Give thanks to God always,
  O thou Man, O thou Man;
  Give thanks to God always
    With hearts most jolly.
  Give thanks to God always
  Upon this blessed day,
  Let all men sing and say,
    Holy, Holy.

                    _Ravenscroft's Melismata, A.D. 1611._



THE SINGERS IN THE SNOW.


  God bless the master of this house
    And all that are therein,
  And to begin this Christmas tide
    With mirth now let us sing.
  For the Saviour of all people
    Upon this time was born,
  Who did from death deliver us.
    When we were left forlorn.

  Then let us all most merry be,
    And sing with cheerful voice,
  For we have good occasion now
    This time for to rejoice.
                              For, etc.

  Then put away contention all,
    And fall no more at strife,
  Let every man with cheerfulness
    Embrace his loving wife.
                              For, etc.

  With plenteous food your houses store,
    Provide some wholesome cheer,
  And call your friends together
    That live both far and near.
                              For, etc.

  Then let us all most merry be,
    Since that we are come here,
  And we do hope before we part
    To taste some of your beer.
                              For, etc.

  Your beer, your beer, your Christmas beer,
    That seems to be so strong;
  And we do wish that Christmas-tide
    Was twenty times so long.
                              For, etc.

  Then sing with voices cheerfully,
    For Christ this time was born,
  Who did from death deliver us,
    When we were left forlorn.
                              For, etc.



A CHRISTMAS CHORUS.


  Here is joy for every age--
  Every generation;
  Prince and peasant, chief and sage,
  Every tongue and nation,
  Every tongue and nation,
  Every rank and station,
  Hath to-day salvation.
        Alleluia!

  When the world drew near its close,
  Came our Lord and leader;
  From the lily came the rose,
  From the bush the cedar,
  From the bush the cedar,
  From the judge the pleader,
  From the saint the feeder.
        Alleluia!

  God, that came on earth this morn,
  In a manger lying,
  Hallow'd birth by being born,
  Vanquished death by dying,
  Vanquished death by dying,
  Rallied back the flying,
  Ended sin and sighing.
        Alleluia!



THREE SHIPS.


  I saw three ships come sailing in,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
  I saw three ships come sailing in,
    On Christmas day in the morning.

  And what was in those ships all three,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
  And what was in those ships all three,
    On Christmas day in the morning?

  Our Saviour Christ and His lady,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
  Our Saviour Christ and His lady,
    On Christmas day in the morning.

  Pray whither sailed those ships all three,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day?
  Pray whither sailed those ships all three,
    On Christmas day in the morning?

  O they sailed into Bethlehem,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
  O they sailed into Bethlehem,
    On Christmas day in the morning.

  And all the bells on earth shall ring,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
  And all the bells on earth shall ring,
    On Christmas day in the morning.

  And all the angels in heaven shall sing,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
  And all the angels in heaven shall sing,
    On Christmas day in the morning.

  And all the souls on earth shall sing,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
  And all the souls on earth shall sing,
    On Christmas day in the morning.

  Then let us all rejoice amain,
    On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
  Then let us all rejoice amain,
    On Christmas day in the morning.



JACOB'S LADDER.


  As Jacob with travel was weary one day,
  At night on a stone for a pillow he lay;
  He saw in a vision a ladder so high
  That its foot was on earth and its top in the sky.
    Hallelujah to Jesus, who died on the tree,
    And hath rais'd up a ladder of mercy for me.

  This ladder is high, it is strong and well made,
  Hath stood hundreds of years and is not yet decayed;
  Many millions have climbed it and reached Zion's hill,
  And thousands, by faith, are climbing it still.
                                Hallelujah, etc.

  Come, let us ascend, all may climb it who will,
  For the angels of Jacob are guarding it still;
  And remember each step that by faith we pass o'er,
  Some prophet or martyr hath trod it before.
                                Hallelujah, etc.

  And when we arrive at the haven of rest,
  We shall hear the glad word: Come up hither, ye blest!
  Here are regions of light, here are mansions of bliss,
  Oh, who would not climb such a ladder as this?
                                Hallelujah, etc.



SAINT STEPHEN, THE CLERK.


  Saint Stephen was a clerk
    In King Herod's hall,
  And servéd him of bread and cloth
    As ever king befall.

  Stephen out of kitchen came
    With boar's head on hand,
  He saw a star was fair and bright
    Over Bethlehem stand.

  He kist adown the boar's head
    And went into the hall:
  "I forsake thee, King Herod,
    And thy workés all.

  "I forsake thee, King Herod,
    And thy workés all;
  There is a child in Bethlehem born
    Is better than we all."

  "What aileth thee, Stephen?
    What is thee befall?
  Lacketh thee either meat or drink
    In King Herod's hall?"

  "Lacketh me neither meat ne drink
    In King Herod's hall;
  There is a child in Bethlehem born
    Is better than we all."

  "What aileth thee, Stephen?
    Art thou wode,[I] or thou ginnest to breed?[J]
  Lacketh thee either gold or fee,
    Or any rich weed?"[K]

  "Lacketh me neither gold nor fee,
    Ne none rich weed;
  There is a child in Bethlehem born
    Shall helpen us at our need."

  "That is also sooth,[L] Stephen,
    Also sooth i-wis
  As this capon crowé shall
    That lieth here in my dish."

  That word was not so soon said,
    That word in that hall,
  The capon crew _Christus natus est_
    Among the lordés all.

  "Riseth up, my tormentors,
    By two and all by one,
  And leadeth Stephen out of this town,
    And stoneth him with stone."

  Tooken they Stephen
    And stoned him in the way,
  And therefore is his even
    On Christés own day.


FOOTNOTES:

[I] Mad.

[J] Scold.

[K] Dress.

[L] As true.



THE CARNAL AND THE CRANE.


  As I pass'd by a riverside,
    And there as I did reign,[M]
  In argument I chanced to hear
    A Carnal[N] and a Crane.

  The Carnal said unto the Crane,
    If all the world should turn,
  Before we had the Father,
    But now we have the Son!

  From whence does the Son come?
    From where and from what place?
  He said, In a manger,
    Between an ox and ass!

  I pray thee, said the Carnal,
    Tell me before thou go,
  Was not the mother of Jesus
    Conceived by the Holy Ghost?

  She was the purest Virgin,
    And the cleanest from sin;
  She was the handmaid of our Lord,
    And mother of our King.

  Where is the golden cradle
    That Christ was rockéd in?
  Where are the silken sheets
    That Jesus was wrapt in?

  A manger was the cradle
    That Christ was rockéd in;
  The provender the asses left
    So sweetly He slept on.

  There was a star in the West-land,
    So bright did it appear
  Into King Herod's chamber,
    And where King Herod were.

  The Wise Men soon espied it,
    And told the king on high,
  A princely babe was born that night
    No king could e'er destroy.

  If this be true, King Herod said,
    As thou tellest unto me,
  This roasted cock that lies in the dish
    Shall crow full fences[O] three.

  The cock soon freshly feathered was
    By the work of God's own hand,
  And then three fences crowéd he
    In the dish where he did stand.

  Rise up, rise up, you merry men all,
    See that you ready be,
  All children under two years old
    Now slain they all shall be.

  Then Jesus, ah! and Joseph,
    And Mary that was so pure,
  They travelled into Egypt,
    As you shall find it sure.

  And when they came to Egypt's land,
    Amongst those fierce wild beasts,
  Mary, she being weary,
    Must needs sit down to rest.

  Come sit thee down, says Jesus,
    Come sit thee down by me,
  And thou shalt see how these wild beasts
    Do come and worship me.

  First came the lovely lion,
    Which Jesu's grace did spring,
  And of the wild beasts in the field,
    The lion shall be the king.

  We'll choose our virtuous princes,
    Of birth and high degree,
  In every sundry nation,
    Where'er we come and see.

  Then Jesus, ah! and Joseph,
    And Mary, that was unknown,
  They travelled by a husbandman,
    Just while his seed was sown.

  God speed thee, man! said Jesus,
    Go fetch thy ox and wain,
  And carry home thy corn again
    Which thou this day hast sown.

  The husbandman fell on his knees,
    Even before his face;
  Long time hast Thou been looked for,
    But now Thou art come at last.

  And I myself do now believe
    Thy name is Jesus called;
  Redeemer of mankind Thou art,
    Though undeserving all.

  The truth, man, thou hast spoken,
    Of it thou may'st be sure,
  For I must lose my precious blood
    For thee and thousands more.

  If any one should come this way,
    And inquire for me alone,
  Tell them that Jesus passed by,
    As thou thy seed did sow.

  After that there came King Herod,
    With his train so furiously,
  Inquiring of the husbandman,
    Whether Jesus passed by.

  Why, the truth it must be spoke,
    And the truth it must be known,
  For Jesus passéd by this way
    When my seed was sown.

  But now I have it reapen,
    And some laid on my wain,
  Ready to fetch and carry
    Into my barn again.

  Turn back, says the captain,
    Your labor and mine's in vain,
  It's full three-quarters of a year
    Since he his seed sown.

  So Herod was deceivéd
    By the work of God's own hand,
  And further he proceeded
    Into the Holy Land.

  There's thousands of children young,
    Which for His sake did die;
  Do not forbid those little ones,
    And do not them deny.

  The truth now I have spoken,
    And the truth now I have shown,
  Even the blessed Virgin,
    She's now brought forth a Son.


FOOTNOTES:

[M] Run.

[N] Crow.

[O] Rounds.



THE HOLY WELL.


  As it fell out one May morning,
    And upon one bright holiday,
  Sweet Jesus asked of His dear mother,
    If He might go to play.

  To play, to play, sweet Jesus shall go,
    And to play pray get you gone;
  And let me hear of no complaint
    At night when you come home.

  Sweet Jesus went down to yonder town
    As far as the Holy Well,
  And there did see as fine children
    As any tongue can tell.

  He said, God bless you every one,
    And your bodies Christ save and see:
  Little children, shall I play with you,
    And you shall play with me?

  But they made answer to Him, No:
    They were lords' and ladies' sons;
  And He, the meanest of them all,
    Was but a maiden's child, born in an ox's stall.

  Sweet Jesus turned Him around,
    And He neither laughed nor smiled,
  But the tears came trickling from His eyes
    Like water from the skies.

  Sweet Jesus turned Him about,
    To His mother's dear home went He,
  And said, I have been in yonder town,
    As far as you can see.

  I have been down in yonder town
    As far as the Holy Well,
  There did I meet as fine children
    As any tongue can tell.

  I bid God bless them every one,
    And their bodies Christ save and see:
  Little children, shall I play with you,
    And you shall play with me?

  But they made answer to me, No:
    They were lords' and ladies' sons;
  And I, the meanest of them all,
    Was but a maiden's child, born in an ox's stall.

  Though you are but a maiden's child,
    Born in an ox's stall,
  Thou art the Christ, the King of heaven,
    And the Saviour of them all.

  Sweet Jesus, go down to yonder town
    As far as the Holy Well,
  And take away those sinful souls,
    And dip them deep in hell.

  Nay, nay, sweet Jesus said,
    Nay, nay, that may not be;
  For there are too many sinful souls
    Crying out for the help of me.



THE HOLLY AND THE IVY.


  The Holly and the Ivy,
  Now both are full well grown;
  Of all the trees that spring in wood,
  The holly bears the crown.
  The holly bears a blossom
  As white as a lily flow'r;
  And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
  To be our sweet Saviour.

  The holly bears a berry
  As red as any blood,
  And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
  To do poor sinners good.
  The holly bears a prickle
  As sharp as any thorn,
  And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
  On Christmas Day in the morn.

  The holly bears a bark
  As bitter as any gall,
  And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
  For to redeem us all.
  The holly and the ivy
  Now are both well grown;
  Of all the trees that are in the wood,
  The holly bears the crown.



THE CONTEST OF THE VINES.


  Nay, ivy, nay,
    It shall not be, I wis;
  Let holly have the mastery,
    As the manner is.

  Holly stand in the hall,
    Fair to behold;
  Ivy stand without the door,
    She is full sore a-cold.
                      Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

  Holly and his merry men
    They dancen and they sing;
  Ivy and her maidens
    They weepen and they wring.
                      Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

  Ivy hath a kybe,[P]
    She caught it with the cold;
  So mot they all have ae,[Q]
    That with ivy hold.
                      Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

  Holly hath berries
    As red as any rose,
  The forester and the hunters
    Keep them from the does.
                      Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

  Ivy hath berries
    As black as any sloe;
  There come the owl
    And eat him as she go.
                      Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

  Holly hath birdés
    A full fair flock,
  The nightingale, the popinjay,
    The gentle laverock.
                      Nay, ivy, nay, etc.

  Good ivy,
    What birdés hast thou?
  None but the howlet
    That krey[R] "How, how."

  Nay, ivy, nay,
    It shall not be, I wis;
  Let holly have the mastery,
    As the manner is.


FOOTNOTES:

[P] Chapped skin.

[Q] So may all have.

[R] Cries.



ANE SANG OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.

A SCOTCH CAROL.


  I come from hevin to tell
  The best nowellis that ever befell;
  To you this tythinges trew I bring,
  And I will of them say and sing:

  This day to yow is borne ane childe
  Of Marie meike and Virgine mylde,
  That blessit barne, bining and kynde,
  Sall yow rejoyce baith heart and mynd.

  My saull and lyfe, stand up and see
  Quha lyes in ane cribe of tree,
  Quhat babe is that, so gude and faire?
  It is Christ, God's sonne and aire.

  O God, that made all creature,
  How art Thow becum so pure,
  That on the hay and stray will lye
  Amang the asses, oxin, and kye!

  O my deir hert, young Jesus sweit,
  Prepare Thy creddill in my spreit,
  And I sall rocke Thee in my hert,
  And never mair from Thee depart.

  But I sall praise Thee evermoir
  With sangs sweit unto Thy gloir,
  The knees of my hert sall I bow,
  And sing that right Balululow.



CHRISTMAS MINSTRELSY.


  The minstrels played their Christmas tune
  To-night beneath my cottage eaves;
  While smitten by a lofty moon,
  The encircling laurels thick with leaves,
  Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
  That overpowered their natural green.

  Through hill and valley every breeze
  Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
  Keen was the air, but could not freeze
  Nor check the music of the strings;
  So stout and hardy were the band
  That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.

  And who but listened?--till was paid
  Respect to every inmate's claim,
  The greeting given, the music played
  In honor of each household name,
  Duly pronounced with lusty call,
  And a merry Christmas wished to all.

  O Brother! I revere the choice
  That took thee from thy native hills;
  And it is given thee to rejoice:
  Though public care full often tills
  (Heaven only witness of the toil)
  A barren and ungrateful soil.

  Yet would that thou, with me and mine,
  Hadst heard this never-failing rite;
  And seen on other faces shine
  A true revival of the light
  Which nature, and these rustic powers,
  In simple childhood, spread through ours!

  For pleasure hath not ceased to wait
  On these expected annual rounds,
  Whether the rich man's sumptuous gate
  Call forth the unelaborate sounds,
  Or they are offered at the door
  That guard the lowliest of the poor.

  How touching, when at midnight sweep
  Snow-muffled winds, and all is dark,
  To hear--and sink again in sleep!
  Or at an earlier call, to mark,
  By blazing fire, the still suspense
  Of self-complacent innocence;

  The mutual nod--the grave disguise
  Of hearts with gladness brimming o'er,
  And some unhidden tears that rise
  For names once heard, and heard no more;
  Tears brightened by the serenade
  For infant in the cradle laid!

  Ah! not for emerald fields alone,
  With ambient streams more pure and bright
  Than fabled Cytherea's zone
  Glittering before the Thunderer's sight,
  Is to my heart of hearts endeared,
  The ground where we were born and reared!

  Hail, ancient manners! sure defence,
  Where they survive, of wholesome laws:
  Remnants of love whose modest sense
  Thus into narrow room withdraws;
  Hail, usages of pristine mould,
  And ye that guard them, Mountains old!

  Bear with me, Brother! quench the thought
  That slights this passion or condemns;
  If thee fond fancy ever brought
  From the proud margin of the Thames,
  And Lambeth's venerable towers,
  To humble streams and greener bowers.

  Yes, they can make, who fail to find
  Short leisure even in busiest days,
  Moments to cast a look behind,
  And profit by those kindly rays
  That through the clouds do sometimes steal,
  And all the far-off past reveal.

  Hence, while the imperial city's din
  Beats frequent on thy satiate ear,
  A pleased attention I may win
  To agitations less severe,
  That neither overwhelm nor cloy,
  But fill the hollow vale with joy!

                    _William Wordsworth._



THE OLD, OLD STORY.


  Listen, Lordings, unto me, a tale I will you tell,
  Which, as on this night of glee, in David's town befell.
  Joseph came from Nazareth, with Mary that sweet maid;
  Weary were they, nigh to death; and for a lodging pray'd.
  Sing high, sing high, sing low, sing low,
  Sing high, sing low, sing to and fro,
      Go tell it out with speed,
      Cry out and shout all round about,
      That Christ is born indeed.

  In the inn they found no room; a scanty bed they made:
  Soon a Babe from Mary's womb was in the manger laid.
  Forth He came as light through glass: He came to save us all,
  In the stable ox and ass before their Maker fall.
                      Sing high, sing low, etc.

  Shepherds lay afield that night, to keep the silly sheep,
  Hosts of angels in their sight came down from heaven's high steep.
  Tidings! tidings! unto you: to you a Child is born,
  Purer than the drops of dew, and brighter than the morn.
                      Sing high, sing low, etc.

  Onward then the angels sped, the shepherds onward went,
  God was in His manger bed, in worship low they bent.
  In the morning see ye mind, my masters one and all,
  At the altar Him to find who lay within the stall.
                      Sing high, sing low, etc.

                    _H. R. Bramley._



A CHRISTMAS BALLAD.


  Outlanders, whence come ye last?
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  Through what green sea and great have ye past?
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  From far away, O masters mine,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  We come to bear you goodly wine:
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  From far away we come to you,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  To tell of great tidings strange and true:
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  News, news of the Trinity,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  And Mary and Joseph from over the sea:
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  For as we wandered far and wide,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  What hope do ye deem there should us betide?
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  Under a bent when the night was deep,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  There lay three shepherds tending their sheep:
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  "O ye shepherds, what have ye seen,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  To slay your sorrow and heal your teen?"
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  "In an ox-stall this night we saw,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  A Babe and a maid without a flaw.
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  "There was an old man there beside,
    _The snow in the street and the wind, on the door._
  His hair was white, and his hood was wide.
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  "And as we gazed this thing upon,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  Those twain knelt down to the Little One.
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  "And a marvellous song we straight did hear,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  That slew our sorrow and healed our care."
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

  News of a fair and a marvellous thing,
    _The snow in the street and the wind on the door._
  Nowell, nowell, nowell, we sing!
    _Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor._

                    _William Morris._



A FRENCH NOËL.

(TRANSLATED FROM GUI BARÔZAI.)


  I hear along our street
    Pass the minstrel throngs;
  Hark! they play so sweet,
    On their hautboys, Christmas songs!
          Let us by the fire
          Ever higher
        Sing them till the night expire!

  In December ring
    Every day the chimes;
  Loud the gleemen sing
    In the streets their merry rhymes.
                    Let us by the fire, etc.

  Shepherds at the grange,
    Where the Babe was born,
  Sang, with many a change,
    Christmas carols until morn.
                    Let us by the fire, etc.

  These good people sang
    Songs devout and sweet;
  While the rafters rang
    There they stood with freezing feet.
                    Let us by the fire, etc.

  Nuns in frigid cells
    At this holy tide
  For want of something else
    Christmas songs at times have tried.
                    Let us by the fire, etc.

  Washerwomen old,
    To the sound they beat,
  Sing by rivers cold
    With uncovered heads and feet.
                    Let us by the fire, etc.

  Who by the fireside stands
    Stamps his feet and sings;
  But he who blows his hands
    Not so gay a carol brings.
                    Let us by the fire, etc.

                    _Henry Wadsworth Longfellow._



MASTERS, IN THIS HALL.


  "To Bethl'em did they go, the shepherds three;
  To Bethl'em did they go to see whe'r it were so or no,
  Whether Christ were born or no
      To set men free."

      Masters, in this hall,
        Hear ye news to-day
      Brought over sea,
        And ever I you pray.
          _Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!_
            _Sing we clear!_
          _Holpen are all folk on earth,_
            _Born is God's Son so dear._

      Going over the hills,
        Through the milk-white snow,
      Heard I ewes bleat
        While the winds did blow.
                              _Nowell, etc._

      Shepherds many an one
        Sat among the sheep;
      No man spake more word
        Than they had been asleep.
                              _Nowell, etc._

      Quoth I, "Fellows mine,
        Why this guise sit ye?
      Making but dull cheer,
        Shepherds though ye be?
                              _Nowell, etc._

      "Shepherds should of right
        Leap, and dance, and sing;
      Thus to see you sit
        Is a right strange thing."
                              _Nowell, etc._

      Quoth these fellows three,
        "To Bethl'em town we go,
      To see a Mighty Lord
        Lie in manger low."
                              _Nowell, etc._

      "How name ye this Lord,
        Shepherds?" then said I.
      "Very God," they said,
        "Come from Heaven high."
                              _Nowell, etc._

      Then to Bethl'em town
        We went two and two,
      And in a sorry place
        Heard the oxen low.
                              _Nowell, etc._

      Therein did we see
        A sweet and goodly May,
      And a fair old man;
        Upon the straw she lay.
                              _Nowell, etc._

      And a little Child
        On her arm had she;
      "Wot ye who is this?"
        Said the hinds to me.
                              _Nowell, etc._

      Ox and ass Him know,
        Kneeling on their knee:
      Wondrous joy had I
        This little Babe to see.
                              _Nowell, etc._

      This is Christ the Lord:
        Masters, be ye glad!
      Christmas is come in,
        And no folk should be sad.
                              _Nowell, etc._

                    _William Morris._



_The Worship Of The Babe._


  "Rejoice, our Saviour He was born
  On Christmas day in the morning."

                    _Old Carol._



TO HIS SAVIOUR, A CHILD; A PRESENT, BY A CHILD.


  Go, pretty child, and bear this flower
  Unto thy little Saviour;
  And tell Him by that bud now blown,
  He is a Rose of Sharon known.
  When thou hast said so, stick it there
  Upon His bib or stomacher;
  And tell Him, for good handsel too,
  That thou hast brought a whistle new,
  Made of a clean, strait oaten reed
  To charm His cries at time of need.
  Tell Him for coral thou hast none,
  But if thou had'st He should have one;
  But poor thou art, and known to be
  Even as moneyless as He.
  Lastly, if thou can'st win a kiss
  From those mellifluous lips of His,
  Then never take a second on
  To spoil the first impression.

                    _Robert Herrick._



HONOR TO THE KING.


  Yet if his majesty our sovereign lord
  Should of his own accord
  Friendly himself invite,
  And say, "I'll be your guest to-morrow night,"
  How should we stir ourselves, call and command
  All hands to work: "Let no man idle stand.
  Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall,
  See they be fitted all;
  Let there be room to eat,
  And order taken that there want no meat.
  See every sconce and candlestick made bright,
  That without tapers they may give a light.
  Look to the presence; are the carpets spread,
  The dais o'er the head,
  The cushions in the chairs,
  And all the candles lighted on the stairs?
  Perfume the chambers, and in any case
  Let each man give attendance in his place."
  Thus if the king were coming would we do,
  And 'twere good reason too;
  For 'tis a duteous thing
  To show all honor to an earthly king,
  And after all our travail and our cost,
  So he be pleased, to think no labor lost.
  But at the coming of the King of Heaven,
  All's set at six and seven:
  We wallow in our sin,
  Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn.
  We entertain Him always like a stranger,
  And, as at first, still lodge Him in the manger.

                    _Christ Church, Oxford, MS._



NEW PRINCE, NEW POMP.


  Behold a silly, tender Babe,
    In freezing winter night,
  In homely manger trembling lies;
    Alas! a piteous sight.

  The inns are full, no man will yield
    This little pilgrim bed;
  But forced He is with silly beasts
    In crib to shroud His head.

  Despise Him not for lying there,
    First what He is inquire;
  An orient pearl is often found
    In depth of dirty mire.

  Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,
    Nor beast that by Him feed;
  Weigh not His mother's poor attire,
    Nor Joseph's simple weed.

  This stable is a prince's court,
    This crib His chair of state;
  The beasts are parcel of His pomp,
    The wooden dish His plate.

  The persons in that poor attire
    His royal liveries wear;
  The Prince himself is come from heaven,
    This pomp is praiséd there.

  With joy approach, O Christian wight!
    Do homage to thy King;
  And highly praise this humble pomp
    Which He from heaven doth bring.

                    _Robert Southwell._



OF THE EPIPHANY.


  Fair eastern star, that art ordained to run
  Before the sages, to the rising sun,
  Here cease thy course, and wonder that the cloud
  Of this poor stable can thy Maker shroud:
  Ye heavenly bodies glory to be bright,
  And are esteemed as ye are rich in light;
  But here on earth is taught a different way,
  Since under this low roof the Highest lay.
  Jerusalem erects her stately towers,
  Displays her windows and adorns her bowers;
  Yet there thou must not cast a trembling spark,
  Let Herod's palace still continue dark;
  Each school and synagogue thy force repels,
  There pride enthroned in misty error dwells;
  The temple, where the priests maintain their quire,
  Shall taste no beam of thy celestial fire,
  While this weak cottage all thy splendor takes:
  A joyful gate of every chink it makes.
  Here shines no golden roof, no ivory stair,
  No king exalted in a stately chair,
  Girt with attendants, or by heralds styled,
  But straw and hay enwrap a speechless child.
  Yet Sabæ's lords before this babe unfold
  Their treasures, offering incense, myrrh, and gold.
  The crib becomes an altar; therefore dies
  No ox nor sheep; for in their fodder lies
  The Prince of Peace, who, thankful for His bed,
  Destroys those rites in which their blood was shed:
  The quintessence of earth He takes, and fees,
  And precious gums distilled from weeping trees;
  Rich metals and sweet odors now declare
  The glorious blessings which His laws prepare,
  To clear us from the base and loathsome flood
  Of sense and make us fit for angel's food,
  Who lift to God for us the holy smoke
  Of fervent prayers with which we Him invoke,
  And try our actions in the searching fire
  By which the seraphims our lips inspire:
  No muddy dross pure minerals shall infect,
  We shall exhale our vapors up direct:
  No storm shall cross, nor glittering lights deface
  Perpetual sighs which seek a happy place.

                    _Sir John Beaumont._



A HYMN FOR THE EPIPHANY.

SUNG AS BY THE THREE KINGS.


  _1 King._ Bright Babe! whose awful beauties make
            The morn incur a sweet mistake;
  _2 King._ For whom the officious heavens devise
            To disinherit the sun's rise;
  _3 King._ Delicately to displace
            The day, and plant it fairer in Thy face;
  _1 King._ O Thou born King of loves!
  _2 King._ Of lights!
  _3 King._ Of joys!

  _Chorus._ Look up, sweet Babe, look up and see!
            For love of Thee,
            Thus far from home
            The East is come
            To seek herself in Thy sweet eyes.

  _1 King._ We who strangely went astray,
            Lost in a bright
            Meridian night;
  _2 King._ A darkness made of too much day;
  _3 King._ Beckoned from far
            By Thy fair star,
            Lo, at last have found our way.

  _Chorus._ To Thee, Thou Day of Night! Thou East of West!
            Lo, we at last have found the way
            To Thee, the world's great universal East,
            The general and indifferent day.

  _1 King._ All-circling point! all-centring sphere!
            The world's one round eternal year:
  _2 King._ Whose full and all-unwrinkled face
            Nor sinks nor swells with time or place;
  _3 King._ But everywhere and every while
            Is one consistent solid smile,
  _1 King._ Not vexed and tost,
  _2 King._ 'Twixt spring and frost;
  _3 King._ Nor by alternate shreds of light;
            Sordidly shifting hands with shades and night.

  _Chorus._ O little All, in Thy embrace,
            The world lies warm and likes his place;
            Nor does his full globe fail to be
            Kissed on both his cheeks by Thee;
            Time is too narrow for Thy year,
            Nor makes the whole world Thy half-sphere.

                    _Richard Crashaw._



A HYMN ON THE NATIVITY OF MY SAVIOUR.


  I sing the birth was born to-night,
  The author both of life and light;
    The angels so did sound it.
  And like the ravished shepherds said,
  Who saw the light, and were afraid,
    Yet searched, and true they found it.

  The Son of God th' eternal king,
  That did us all salvation bring,
    And freed the soul from danger;
  He whom the whole world could not take,
  The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
    Was now laid in a manger.

  The Father's wisdom willed it so,
  The Son's obedience knew no No,
    Both wills were in one stature;
  And as that wisdom had decreed,
  The Word was now made flesh indeed,
    And took on Him our nature.

  What comfort by Him do we win,
  Who made himself the price of sin,
    To make us heirs of glory!
  To see this babe all innocence;
  A martyr born in our defence;
    Can man forget the story?

                    _Ben Jonson._



AT CHRISTMAS.


  All after pleasures as I rid one day,
    My horse and I both tried, body and mind,
    With full cry of affections quite astray,
  I took up in the next inn I could find.

  There, when I came, whom found I but my dear--
    My dearest Lord; expecting till the grief
    Of pleasures brought me to Him; ready there
  To be all passengers' most sweet relief?

  O Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted light,
    Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger;
    Since my dark soul and brutish is Thy right,
  To man, of all beasts, be not Thou a stranger;

  Furnish and deck my soul, that Thou may'st have
  A better lodging than a rock or grave.

  The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
          My God, no hymn for Thee?
  My soul's a shepherd too; a flock it feeds
          Of thoughts and words and deeds;
  The pasture is Thy word, the stream Thy grace,
          Enriching every place.

  Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
          Outsing the daylight hours.
  Then we will chide the sun for letting night
          Take up his place and right:
  We sing one common Lord; wherefore He should
          Himself the candle hold.

  I will go searching till I find a sun
          Shall stay till we have done;
  A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly
          As frost-nipt suns look sadly,
  Then we will sing and shine all our own day,
          And one another pay.

  His beams shall cheer my breast; and both so twine,
  Till ev'n his beams sing and my music shine.

                    _George Herbert._



NEW HEAVEN, NEW WAR.


  Come to your heaven, you heavenly quires!
  Earth hath the heaven of your desires;
  Remove your dwelling to your God,
  A stall is now His blest abode;
  Sith men their homage do deny,
  Come, angels, all their fault supply.

  This little Babe, so few days old,
  Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
  All hell doth at His presence quake,
  Though He himself for cold do shake;
  For in this weak, unarméd wise
  The gates of hell He will surprise.

  My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
  Stick to the tents that He hath pight;
  Within His crib is surest ward,
  This little Babe will be thy guard;
  If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
  Then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

                    _Robert Southwell._



FOR CHRISTMAS DAY.


    Rejoice, rejoice, with heart and voice!
    In Christé's birth this day rejoice!
  From Virgin's womb this day did spring
  The precious seed that only savéd man;
  This day let man rejoice and sweetly sing,
  Since on this day salvation first began.
    This day did Christ man's soul from death remove,
    With glorious saints to dwell in heaven above.

  This day to man came pledge of perfect peace,
  This day to man came perfect unity,
  This day man's grief began for to surcease,
  This day did man receive a remedy
    For each offence and every deadly sin,
    With guilty heart that erst he wandered in.

  In Christé's flock let love be surely placed,
  From Christé's flock let concord hate expel,
  Of Christé's flock let love be so embraced
  As we in Christ and Christ in us may dwell;
    Christ is the author of all unity,
    From whence proceedeth all felicity.

  O sing unto this glittering, glorious king,
  O praise His name let every living thing;
  Let heart and voice, like bells of silver, ring
  The comfort that this day doth bring;
    Let lute, let shawm, with sound of sweet delight,
    The joy of Christé's birth this day recite.

                    _Francis Kinwelmersh, A.D. 1576._



SUNG TO THE KING IN THE PRESENCE AT WHITEHALL.


_Chor._--What sweeter music can we bring,
              Than a carol for to sing
         The birth of this our heavenly King?
         Awake the voice! awake the string!
         Heart, ear, and eye, and everything
         Awake! the while the active finger
         Runs divisions with the singer.

  _From the flourish they come to the song._

  Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
  And give the honor to this day,
  That sees December turn'd to May.

  If we may ask the reason, say
  The why and wherefore all things here
  Seem like the spring-time of the year?
  Why does the chilling winter's morn
  Smile like a field beset with corn?
  Or smell like to a mead new-shorn,
  Thus on the sudden? Come and see
  The cause why things thus fragrant be:
  'Tis He is born whose quickening birth
  Gives life and lustre public mirth
  To heaven and the under-earth.

_Chor._--We see Him come, and know Him ours,
         Who with His sunshine and His showers
         Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

         The darling of the world is come,
         And fit it is we find a room
         To welcome Him. The nobler part
         Of all the house here is the heart.

_Chor._--Which we will give Him; and bequeath
         This holly and this ivy wreath,
         To do Him honor, who's our King,
         And Lord of all this revelling.

                    _Robert Herrick._



AND THEY LAID HIM IN A MANGER.


  Happy crib, that wert alone
  To my God, bed, cradle, throne!
  Whilst thy glorious vileness I
  View with divine fancy's eye,
  Sordid filth seems all the cost,
  State, and splendor, crowns do boast.

  See heaven's sacred majesty
  Humbled beneath poverty;
  Swaddled up in homely rags
  On a bed of straw and flags!
  He whose hands the heavens displayed,
  And the world's foundation laid,
  From the world's almost exiled,
  Of all ornaments despoiled.
  Perfumes bathe Him not, new-born,
  Persian mantles not adorn;
  Nor do the rich roofs look bright
  With the jasper's orient light.
  Where, O royal Infant, be
  Th' ensigns of Thy majesty;
  Thy Sire's equalizing state;
  And Thy sceptre that rules fate?
  Where's Thy angel-guarded throne,
  Whence Thy laws Thou didst make known,
  Laws which heaven, earth, hell, obeyed?
  These, ah! these aside He laid;
  Would the emblem be--of pride
  By humility outvied?

                    _Sir Edward Sherburne._



THE BURNING BABE.


  As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
  Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
  And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
  A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear,
  Who, scorchéd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed,
  As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears
        were fed.
  Alas! quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
  Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I.
  My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns:
  Love is the fire and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns:
  The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals;
  The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defiléd souls;
  For which, as now on fire I am, to work them to their good,
  So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
  With that he vanish'd out of sight and swiftly shrunk away.
  And straight I calléd unto mind that it was Christmas Day.

                    _Robert Southwell._



CHRIST'S NATIVITY.


  Awake, glad heart! get up and sing!
  It is the birthday of thy King.
              Awake! awake!
              The sun doth shake
  Light from his locks, and, all the way
  Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

  Awake! awake! hark how th' wood rings,
  Winds whisper, and the busy springs
              A concert make!
              Awake! awake!
  Man is their high-priest, and should rise
  To offer up the sacrifice.

  I would I were some bird or star
  Fluttering in woods, or lifted far
              Above this inn,
              And road of sin!
  Then either star or bird should be
  Shining or singing still to Thee.

  I would I had in my best part
  Fit rooms for Thee! or that my heart
              Were so clean as
              Thy manger was!
  But I am all filth, and obscene;
  Yet, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make clean.

  Sweet Jesu! will then. Let no more
  This leper haunt and soil Thy door!
              Cure him, ease him,
              O release him!
  And let once more, by mystic birth,
  The Lord of life be born in earth.

                    _Henry Vaughan._



AN ODE ON THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOUR.


  In numbers, and but these few,
  I sing Thy birth, O Jesu!
  Thou pretty baby, born here
  With sup'rabundant scorn here:
  Who, for Thy princely port here,
          Hadst for Thy place
          Of birth a base
  Out-stable for Thy court here.

  Instead of neat enclosures
  Of interwoven osiers,
  Instead of fragrant posies
  Of daffodils and roses,
  Thy cradle, kingly stranger,
          As gospel tells,
          Was nothing else
  But here a homely manger.

  But we with silks not crewels,
  With sundry precious jewels,
  And lily work will dress Thee;
  And, as we dispossess Thee
  Of clouts, we'll make a chamber,
          Sweet babe, for Thee
          Of ivory
  And plaster'd round with amber.

  The Jews they did disdain Thee,
  But we will entertain Thee
  With glories to await here
  Upon Thy princely state here;
  And, more for love than pity,
          From year to year
          We'll make Thee here
  A free-born of our city.

                    _Robert Herrick._



WHO CAN FORGET?


  Who can forget--never to be forgot--
    The time, that all the world in slumber lies,
  When, like the stars, the singing angels shot
    To earth, and heaven awaked all his eyes
    To see another sun at midnight rise
  On earth? Was never sight of pareil fame
  For God before, man like himself did frame,
  But God himself now like a mortal man became.

  A child He was, and had not learnt to speak,
    That with His word the world before did make;
  His mother's arms Him bore, He was so weak,
    That with one hand the vaults of heaven could shake;
    See how small room my infant Lord doth take,
  Whom all the world is not enough to hold!
  Who of His years or of His age hath told?
  Never such age so young, never a child so old.

  And yet but newly He was infanted,
    And yet already He was sought to die;
  Yet scarcely born, already banished;
    Not able yet to go, and forced to fly:
    But scarcely fled away, when by and by
  The tyrant's sword with blood is all defiled,
  And Rachel, for her sons, with fury wild,
  Cries, "O thou cruel king, and O my sweetest Child!"

  Egypt His nurse became, where Nilus springs,
    Who, straight to entertain the rising sun,
  The hasty harvest in his bosom brings;
    But now for drought the fields were all undone,
    And now with waters all is overrun:
  So fast the Cynthian mountains pour'd their snow,
  When once they felt the sun so near them glow,
  That Nilus Egypt lost, and to a sea did grow.

  The angels carolled loud their song of peace;
    The cursed oracles were strucken dumb;
  To see their Shepherd the poor shepherds press;
    To see their King, the kingly sophies[S] come;
    And them to guide unto his Master's home,
  A star comes dancing up the orient,
  That springs for joy over the strawy tent,
  Where gold, to make their prince a crown, they all present.

                    _Giles Fletcher._


FOOTNOTE:

[S] Wise men.



THE CHILD JESUS.

A CORNISH CAROL.


  Welcome that star in Judah's sky,
    That voice o'er Bethlehem's palmy glen!
  The lamp far sages hailed on high,
    The tones that thrilled the shepherd men:
  Glory to God in loftiest heaven!
    Thus angels smote the echoing chord;
  Glad tidings unto man forgiven,
    Peace from the presence of the Lord.

  The Shepherds sought that birth divine,
    The Wise Men traced their guided way;
  There, by strange light and mystic sign,
    The God they came to worship lay.
  A human Babe in beauty smiled,
    Where lowing oxen round Him trod:
  A maiden clasped her awful Child,
    Pure offspring of the breath of God.

  Those voices from on high are mute,
    The star the Wise Men saw is dim;
  But hope still guides the wanderer's foot,
    And faith renews the angel hymn:
  Glory to God in loftiest heaven!
    Touch with glad hand the ancient chord;
  Good tidings unto man forgiven,
    Peace from the presence of the Lord.

                    _Robert Stephen Hawker._



LONG AGO.


  In the bleak mid-winter
    Frosty wind made moan,
  Earth stood hard as iron,
    Water like a stone;
  Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
    Snow on snow,
  In the bleak mid-winter
    Long ago.

  Our God, heaven cannot hold Him,
    Nor earth sustain;
  Heaven and earth shall flee away
    When He comes to reign:
  In the bleak mid-winter
    A stable-place sufficed
  The Lord God Almighty,
    Jesus Christ.

  Enough for Him whom cherubim
    Worship night and day,
  A breastful of milk
    And a mangerful of hay;
  Enough for Him whom angels
    Fall down before,
  The ox and ass and camel
    Which adore.

  Angels and archangels
    May have gathered there,
  Cherubim and seraphim
    Thronged the air;
  But only His mother,
    In her maiden bliss,
  Worshipped the Beloved
    With a kiss.

  What can I give Him,
    Poor as I am?
  If I were a shepherd,
    I would bring a lamb;
  If I were a wise man,
    I would do my part:
  Yet what I can I give Him,
    Give my heart.

                    _Christina G. Rossetti._



[Illustration: "What Can I Give Him?"]



STAR OF BETHLEHEM.


  When marshalled on the nightly plain
  The glitt'ring host bestud the sky,
  One star alone of all the train
  Can fix the sinner's wandering eye.
  Hark! hark! to God the chorus breaks
  From ev'ry host, from ev'ry gem;
  But one alone the Saviour speaks,--
  It is the Star of Bethlehem!

  Once on the raging seas I rode;
  The storm was loud, the night was dark;
  The ocean yawned, and rudely blew
  The wind that tossed my found'ring bark.
  Deep horror then my vitals froze;
  Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stem,
  When suddenly a star arose,--
  It was the Star of Bethlehem!

  It was my guide, my light, my all;
  It bade my dark forebodings cease;
  And through the storm and danger's thrall,
  It led me to the port of peace.
  Now safely moored, my perils o'er,
  I'll sing first in night's diadem,
  Forever and forever more,--
  The Star, the Star of Bethlehem!

                    _Henry Kirke White._



NO ROOM.


  Foot-sore and weary, Mary tried
  Some rest to seek, but was denied.
  "There is no room," the blind ones cried.

  Meekly the Virgin turned away,
  No voice entreating her to stay;
  There was no room for God that day.

  No room for her, round whose tired feet
  Angels are bowed in transport sweet
  The mother of their God to greet.

  No room for Him in whose small hand
  The troubled sea and mighty land
  Lie cradled like a grain of sand;

  No room, O Babe Divine! for Thee
  That Christmas night; and even we
  Dare shut our hearts and turn the key.

  In vain Thy pleading baby cry
  Strikes our deaf souls; we pass Thee by,
  Unsheltered 'neath the wintry sky.

  No room for God! O Christ, that we
  Should bar our doors, nor ever see
  Our Saviour waiting patiently.

  Fling wide the doors! Dear Christ, turn back!
  The ashes on my hearth lie black--
  Of light and warmth a total lack.

  How can I bid Thee enter here
  Amid the desolation drear
  Of lukewarm love and craven fear?

  What bleaker shelter can there be
  Than my cold heart's tepidity--
  Chilled, wind-tossed, as the winter sea?

  Dear Lord, I shrink from Thy pure eye,
  No home to offer Thee have I;
  Yet in Thy mercy pass not by.

                    _Agnes Repplier._



ON CHRISTMAS DAY.


  Assist me, Muse divine! to Sing the Morn
  On which the Saviour of Mankind was born;
  But oh! what Numbers to the Theme can rise?
  Unless kind Angels aid me from the Skies!
  Methinks I see the tunefull Host descend,
  And with officious Joy the Scene attend!
  Hark, by their Hymns directed on the Road,
  The Gladsome Shepherds find the nascent God!
  And view the Infant conscious of his Birth,
  Smiling bespeak Salvation to the Earth!
    For when th' important Æra first drew near
  In which the great Messiah should appear;
  And to accomplish his redeeming Love;
  Beneath our Form should every Woe sustain,
  And by triumphant Suffering fix his Reign,
  Should for lost Man in Tortures yield his Breath
  Dying to save us from eternal Death!
  Oh mystick union!--salutary Grace!
  Incarnate God our Nature should embrace!
  That Deity should stoop to our Disguise!
  That man recover'd should regain the Skies!
  Dejected Adam! from thy grave ascend,
  And view the Serpent's Deadly Malice end,
  Adorning bless th' Almighty's boundless Grace
  That gave his son a Ransome for thy Race!
  Oh never let my Soul this Day forget,
  But pay in gratefull praise the annual Debt.

          _From a manuscript volume, written by George Washington._



THE HEAVENLY CHOIR.


  What sudden blaze of song
    Spreads o'er th' expanse of heaven?
  In waves of light it thrills along,
    Th' angelic signal given--
  "Glory to God!" from yonder central fire
  Flows out the echoing lay beyond the starry quire;

  Like circles widening round
    Upon a clear blue river,
  Orb after orb, the wondrous sound
    Is echoed on forever;
  "Glory to God on high, on earth be peace,
  And love toward men of love--salvation and release."

  Yet stay, before thou dare
    To join that festal throng;
  Listen and mark what gentle air
    First stirred the tide of song;
  'Tis not, "the Saviour born in David's home,
  To whom for power and health obedient worlds should come:"

  'Tis not "the Christ the Lord:"--
    With fix'd adoring look
  The choir of angels caught the word,
    Nor yet their silence broke;
  But when they heard the sign, where Christ should be,
  In sudden light they shone and heavenly harmony.

  Wrapped in His swaddling-bands,
    And in His manger laid,
  The hope and glory of all lands
    Is come to the world's aid:
  No peaceful home upon His cradle smiled,
  Guests rudely went and came where slept the royal Child.

  But where Thou dwellest, Lord,
    No other thought should be;
  Once duly welcomed and adored,
    How should I part with Thee?
  Bethlehem must lose Thee soon, but Thou wilt grace
  The single heart to be Thy pure abiding-place.

  Thee, on the bosom laid
    Of a pure virgin mind,
  In quiet ever, and in shade,
    Shepherd and sage may find;
  They who have bow'd untaught to nature's sway,
  And they who follow truth along her star-paved way.

  The pastoral spirits first
    Approach Thee, Babe divine,
  For they in lowly thoughts are nursed,
    Meet for Thy lowly shrine:
  Sooner than they should miss where Thou dost dwell,
  Angels from heaven will stoop to guide them to Thy cell.

  Still, as the day comes round
    For Thee to be revealed,
  By wakeful shepherds Thou art found,
    Abiding in the field.
  All through the wintry heaven and chill night air,
  In music and in light Thou dawnest on their prayer.

  O faint not ye for fear--
    What though your wandering sheep,
  Reckless of what they see and hear,
    Lie lost in wilful sleep?
  High heaven in mercy to your sad annoy
  Still greets you with glad tidings of immortal joy.

  Think on th' eternal home
    The Saviour left for you;
  Think on the Lord most holy, come
    To dwell with hearts untrue:
  So shall ye tread untired His pastoral ways,
  And in the darkness sing your carol of high praise.

                    _John Keble._



_The Wassail-Bowl._


  "Wassail, wassail, all over the town;
  Our toast it is white, our ale it is brown,
  Our bowl it is made of the mapling tree;
  With the wassailing bowl we will drink to thee."

                    _Old Carol._



WASSAIL.


  Give way, give way, ye gates, and win
  An easy blessing to your bin
  And basket, by our entering in.

  May both with manchet[T] stand replete,
  Your larders, too, so hung with meat,
  That though a thousand thousand eat,

  Yet ere twelve moons shall whirl about
  Their silvery spheres, there's none may doubt
  But more's sent in than was served out.

  Next, may your dairies prosper so
  As that your pans no ebb may know;
  But if they do, the more to flow,

  Like to a solemn, sober stream,
  Banked all with lilies, and the cream
  Of sweetest cowslips filling them.

  Then may your plants be pressed with fruit,
  Nor bee or hive you have be mute,
  But sweetly sounding like a lute.

  Last, may your harrows, shares, and ploughs,
  Your stacks, your stocks, your sweetest mows,
  All prosper by your virgin vows.

  Alas! we bless, but see none here,
  That brings us either ale or beer;
  In a dry house all things are near.

  Let's leave a longer time to wait,
  Where rust and cobwebs bind the gate;
  And all live here with needy fate;

  Where chimneys do forever weep
  For want of warmth, and stomachs keep
  With noise the servants' eyes from sleep.

  It is in vain to sing or stay
  Our free feet here, but we'll away;
  Yet to the Lares this we'll say:

  The time will come when you'll be sad,
  And reckon this for fortune bad,
  T' have lost the good ye might have had.

                    _Robert Herrick._


FOOTNOTE:

[T] White bread.



INVITATION À FAIRE NOËL.

(FROM THE FRENCH OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY.)


  Hail, good Masters, let us bide,
  Hither come from travel wide,
                This Christmas-tide.
  Hearken, give us bed and cheer,
  We are weary, life is dear
                This day o' the year!
  God send ye joy and peace on earth,
  Who broach good cheer for Christé's birth.

  Masters, an ye make no feast:
  Spicéd ale and meat of beast,
                Nor laugh the least:
  If ye fill not pantries high
  With bread, and fish, and mammoth pie,
                And sweets, pardie!--
  God ordains no peace on earth
  To ye who fast at Christé's birth.

  Masters, it is writ of old
  Who fill the fire for Christmas cold
                And wassail hold,
  Shall have of food a double store
  And ruddy-blazing ingle roar
                Forevermore.
  God sends the peace of heaven and earth
  To men who carol Christé's birth.

  O Masters! let nor hate nor spite
  Mar the tongue of any wight
                'Twixt night and night.
  _Botun, batun_--belabor well
  Churls who sleep through matin bell
                And no soothe tell.
  God will forfeit peace on earth
  If men fall out at Christé's birth.

  Christmas tipples every wine,
  English, French, and Gascon fine
                And Angevine;
  Clinks with neighbor and with guest,
  Empties casks with gibe and jest--
                The year's for rest!
  God sends to men the joy of earth
  Who broach good cheer for Christé's birth.

  But hearken, Masters, ere ye drink
  While yet the bubbles boil and wink
                At the brink;
  Ere ye lift the pot aloft,
  Merrily wave it, laughing oft,
                With hood well doft.
  And if I cry ye, sad, "Wesseyl!"
  Woe's him who answers not "Drinchayl!"

                    _Translated by H. S. M._



A THANKSGIVING.


  Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
                The pulse is Thine,
  And all those other bits that be
                There placed by Thee;
  The worts, the purslane, and the mess
                Of water-cress,
  Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent;
                And my content
  Makes those and my belovéd beet
                To be more sweet.
  'Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
                With guiltless mirth,
  And giv'st me wassail-bowls to drink
                Spiced to the brink.

                    _Robert Herrick._



AROUND THE WASSAIL-BOWL.


  A jolly wassail-bowl,
    A wassail of good ale;
  Well fare the butler's soul
    That setteth this to sale;
                  Our jolly wassail.

  Good dame, here at your door
    Our wassail we begin,
  We are all maidens poor,
    We pray now let us in
                  With our wassail.

  Our wassail we do fill
    With apples and with spice,
  Then grant us your good-will
    To taste here once or twice
                  Of our good wassail.

  If any maidens be
    Here dwelling in this house,
  They kindly will agree
    To take a full carouse
                  Of our wassail.

  But here they let us stand
    All freezing in the cold:
  Good master, give command
    To enter and be bold,
                  With our wassail.

  Much joy into this hall
    With us is entered in,
  Our master first of all
    We hope will now begin
                  Of our wassail.

  And after, his good wife
    Our spicéd bowl will try;
  The Lord prolong your life!
    Good fortune we espy
                  For our wassail.

  Some bounty from your hands
    Our wassail to maintain;
  We'll buy no house nor lands
    With that which we do gain
                  With our wassail.

  This is our merry night
    Of choosing king and queen;
  Then be it your delight
    That something may be seen
                  In our wassail.

  It is a noble part
    To bear a liberal mind;
  God bless our master's heart!
    For here we comfort find
                  With our wassail.

  And now we must be gone
    To seek out more good cheer,
  Where bounty will be shown
    As we have found it here
                  With our wassail.

  Much joy betide them all,
    Our prayer shall be still,
  We hope and ever shall
    For this your great good-will
                  To our wassail.



FROM DOOR TO DOOR.


  Here we come a wassailing
  Among the leaves so green,
  Here we come a wand'ring,
  So fair to be seen.
  Love and joy come to you,
  And to you your wassail too,
  And God bless you and send you a happy New Year.

  Our wassail-cup is made
  Of the rosemary tree,
  And so is your beer
  Of the best barley.
                        Love and joy, etc.

  We are not daily beggars
  That beg from door to door,
  But we are neighbors' children
  Whom you have seen before.
                        Love and joy, etc.

  Good master and good mistress,
  As you sit by the fire,
  Pray think of us poor children
  As wand'ring in the mire.
                        Love and joy, etc.

  We have a little purse
  Made of ratching leather skin;
  We want some of your small change
  To line it well within.
                        Love and joy, etc.

  Call up the butler of this house,
  Put on his golden ring;
  Let him bring us a glass of beer,
  And the better we shall sing.
                        Love and joy, etc.

  Bring us out a table,
  And spread it with a cloth;
  Bring us out a mouldy cheese,
  And some of your Christmas loaf.
                        Love and joy, etc.

  God bless the master of this house,
  Likewise the mistress too
  And all the little children
  That round the table go.
                        Love and joy, etc.



WASSAILING CAROL.


  We wish you merry Christmas, also a glad New Year;
  We come to bring you tidings to all mankind so dear:
  We come to tell that Jesus was born in Bethl'em town,
  And now He's gone to glory and pityingly looks down
              On us poor wassailers,
              As wassailing we go;
              With footsteps sore
              From door to door
        We trudge through sleet and snow.

  A manger was His cradle, the straw it was His bed,
  The oxen were around Him within that lowly shed;
  No servants waited on Him with lords and ladies gay;
  But now He's gone to glory and unto Him we pray.
                      Us poor wassailers, etc.

  His mother loved and tended Him and nursed Him at her breast,
  And good old Joseph watched them both the while they took their rest;
  And wicked Herod vainly sought to rob them of their child,
  By slaughtering the Innocents in Bethlehem undefiled.
                      But us poor wassailers, etc.

  Now, all good Christian people, with great concern we sing
  These tidings of your Jesus, the Saviour, Lord and King;
  In poverty He passed His days that riches we might share,
  And of your wealth He bids you give and of your portion spare
                      To us poor wassailers, etc.

  Your wife shall be a fruitful vine, a hus'sif good and able;
  Your children like the olive branches round about your table;
  Your barns shall burst with plenty and your crops shall be secure,
  If you will give your charity to us who are so poor,
                      Us poor wassailers, etc.

  And now no more we'll sing to you because the hour is late,
  And we must trudge and sing our song at many another gate;
  And so we'll wish you once again a merry Christmas time,
  And pray God bless you while you give good silver for our rhyme.
                      Us poor wassailers, etc.



A CAROL AT THE GATES.


  Here we come a-whistling through the fields so green;
  Here we come a-singing, so fair to be seen.
    God send you happy, God send you happy,
    Pray God send you a happy New Year!

  The roads are very dirty, my boots are very thin,
  I have a little pocket to put a penny in.
                      God send you happy, etc.

  Bring out your little table and spread it with a cloth,
  Bring out some of your old ale, likewise your Christmas loaf.
                      God send you happy, etc.

  God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress, too,
  And all the little children that round the table strew.
                      God send you happy, etc.

  The cock sat up in the yew-tree, the hen came chuckling by,
  I wish you a merry Christmas, and a good fat pig in the sty.
                      God send you happy, etc.



WANDERING WASSAILERS.


  Wassail, wassail, all over the town,
  Our bread it is white, and our ale it is brown;
  Our bowl it is made of the maplin tree,
  So here, my good fellow, I'll drink it to thee.

  The wassailing bowl, with a toast within,
  Come, fill it up unto the brim;
  Come fill it up that we may all see;
  With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.

  Come, butler, come bring us a bowl of your best,
  And we hope your soul in heaven shall rest;
  But if you do bring us a bowl of your small,
  Then down shall go butler, the bowl, and all.

  O butler, O butler, now don't you be worst,
  But pull out your knife and cut us a toast;
  And cut us a toast, one that we may all see;
  With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.

  Here's to Dobbin and to his right eye!
  God send our mistress a good Christmas-pie!
  A good Christmas-pie as e'er we did see;
  With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.

  Here's to Broad May and his broad horn,
  God send our master a good crop of corn,
  A good crop of corn as we all may see;
  With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.

  Here's to Colly and to her long tail,
  We hope our master and mistress heart will ne'er fail;
  But bring us a bowl of your good strong beer,
  And then we shall taste of your happy New Year.

  Be there here any pretty maids? we hope there be some;
  Don't let the jolly wassailers stand on the cold stone,
  But open the door and pull out the pin,
  That we jolly wassailers may all sail in.

                    _Chappell's Ancient English Melodies._



BRING US IN GOOD ALE.


  _Bring us in good ale, and bring us in good ale;_
  _For our blessed Lady's sake, bring us in good ale._

  Bring us in no brown bread, for that is made of bran,
  Nor bring us in no white bread, for therein is no game,
                    But bring us in good ale.

  Bring us in no beef, for there are many bones,
  But bring us in good ale, for that goeth down at once;
                    And bring us in good ale.

  Bring us in no bacon, for that is passing fat,
  But bring us in good ale, and give us enough of that;
                    And bring us in good ale.

  Bring us in no mutton, for that is often lean,
  Nor bring us in no tripes, for they be seldom clean;
                    But bring us in good ale.

  Bring us in no eggs, for there are many shells,
  But bring us in good ale, and give us nothing else;
                    And bring us in good ale.

  Bring us in no butter, for therein are many hairs,
  Nor bring us in no pig's flesh, for that will make us boars;
                    But bring us in good ale.

  Bring us in no puddings, for therein is all God's good,
  Nor bring us in no venison, for that is not for our blood;
                    But bring us in good ale.

  Bring us in no capon's flesh, for that is often dear,
  Nor bring us in no duck's flesh, for they slobber in the mere;
                    But bring us in good ale.

                    _Wright's Songs and Carols._



ABOUT THE BOARD.


  Come bravely on, my masters,
  For here we shall be tasters
    Of curious dishes that are brave and fine,
  Where they that do such cheer afford,
  I'll lay my knife upon the board,
    My master and my dame they do not pine.

  Who is't will not be merry
  And sing down, down, aderry?
    For now it is a time of joy and mirth;
  'Tis said 'tis merry in the hall
  When as beards they do wag all;
    God's plenty's here, it doth not show a dearth.

  Let him take all lives longest,
  Come fill us of the strongest,
    And I will drink a health to honest John;
  Come, pray thee, butler, fill the bowl,
  And let it round the table troll,
    When that is up, I'll tell you more anon.

                    _New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1642._



BEFORE THE FEAST.


  All you that are good fellows,
    Come hearken to my song;
  I know you do not hate good cheer
    Nor liquor that is strong.
  I hope there is none here
    But soon will take my part,
  Seeing my master and my dame
    Say welcome with their heart.

  This is a time of joyfulness
    And merry time of year,
  Whereas the rich with plenty stored
    Doth make the poor good cheer;
  Plum-porridge, roast-beef, and minced-pies
    Stand smoking on the board,
  With other brave varieties
    Our master doth afford.

  Our mistress and her cleanly maids
    Have neatly played the cooks;
  Methinks these dishes eagerly
    At my sharp stomach looks,
  As though they were afraid
    To see me draw my blade;
  But I revenged on them will be
    Until my stomach's stayed.

  Come fill us of the strongest,
    Small drink is out of date;
  Methinks I shall fare like a prince
    And sit in gallant state:
  This is no miser's feast,
    Although that things be dear;
  God grant the founder of this feast
    Each Christmas keep good cheer.

  This day for Christ we celebrate,
    Who was born at this time;
  For which all Christians should rejoice,
    And I do sing in rhyme.
  When you have given God thanks,
    Unto your dainties fall:
  Heaven bless my master and my dame,
    Lord bless me and you all.

                    _New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1642._



A BILL OF CHRISTMAS FARE.


  Come, mad boys, be glad, boys, for Christmas is here,
  And we shall be feasted with jolly good cheer;
  Then let us be merry, 'tis Saint Stephen's day,
  Let's eat and drink freely, here's nothing to pay.

  My master bids welcome, and so doth my dame,
  And 'tis yonder smoking dish doth me inflame;
  Anon I'll be with you, though you me outface,
  For now I do tell you I have time and place.

  I'll troll the bowl to you, then let it go round,
  My heels are so light they can stand on no ground;
  My tongue it doth chatter, and goes pitter patter,
  Here's good beer and strong beer, for I will not flatter.

  And now for remembrance of blessed Saint Stephen,
  Let's joy at morning, at noon, and at even;
  Then leave off your mincing, and fall to mince-pies,
  I pray take my counsel, be ruled by the wise.

                    _New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1642._



THE MAHOGANY-TREE.


  Christmas is here:
  Winds whistle shrill,
  Icy and chill,
  Little care we:
  Little we fear
  Weather without
  Sheltered about
  The Mahogany-Tree.

  Once on the boughs
  Birds of rare plume
  Sang, in its bloom;
  Night-birds are we:
  Here we carouse,
  Singing like them,
  Perched round the stem
  Of the jolly old tree.

  Here let us sport,
  Boys, as we sit;
  Laughter and wit
  Flashing so free,
  Life is but short--
  When we are gone,
  Let them sing on
  Round the old tree.

  Evenings we knew,
  Happy as this;
  Faces we miss,
  Pleasant to see,
  Kind hearts and true,
  Gentle and just,
  Peace to your dust,
  We sing round the tree.

  Care, like a dun,
  Lurks at the gate:
  Let the dog wait;
  Happy we'll be!
  Drink, every one;
  Pile up the coals,
  Fill the red bowls,
  Round the old tree!

  Drain we the cup--
  Friend, art afraid?
  Spirits are laid
  In the Red Sea.
  Mantle it up;
  Empty it yet;
  Let us forget,
  Round the old tree.

  Sorrow, begone!
  Life and its ills,
  Duns and their bills,
  Bid we to flee.
  Come with the dawn,
  Blue-devil sprite,
  Leave us to-night
  Round the old tree.

                    _William Makepeace Thackeray._



A CHRISTMAS CEREMONY.


  Wassail the trees, that they may bear
  You many a plum and many a pear;
  For more or less fruits they will bring
  As you do give them wassailing.

                    _Robert Herrick._



WITH CAKES AND ALE.


  With cakes and ale, and antic ring
  Well tiptoed to the tabor string,
    And many a buss below the holly,
    And flout at sable melancholy--
  So, with a rouse, went Christmassing!

  What! are no latter waits to sing?
  No clog to blaze? No wit to wing?
    Are catches gone, and dimpled Dolly,
                        With cakes and ale?

  Nay, an you will, behold the thing:
  The spicéd meat, the minstreling!
    Undo Misrule, and many a volley
    Of losel snatches born of folly--
  Bring back the cheer, be Christmas-king,
                        With cakes and ale!

                    _H. S. M._



THE MASQUE OF CHRISTMAS.

(AS IT WAS PRESENTED AT COURT, 1616.)


                _The Court being seated_,

_Enter_ CHRISTMAS, _with two or three of the guard, attired in round
  hose, long stockings, a close doublet, a high-crowned hat, with a
  brooch, a long, thin beard, a truncheon, little ruffs, white shoes,
  his scarfs and garters tied cross, and his drum beaten before him._

Why, gentlemen, do you know what you do? ha! would you have kept me
out? Christmas, old Christmas, Christmas of London, and Captain
Christmas? Pray you, let me be brought before my lord chamberlain,
I'll not be answered else: _'Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all:_
I have seen the time you have wish'd for me for a merry Christmas; and
now you have me, they would not let me in: _I must come another time!_
a good jest, as if I could come more than once a year! Why, I am no
dangerous person, and so I told my friends of the guard. I am old
Gregory Christmas still, and though I come out of Pope's-head alley,
as good a Protestant as any in my parish. The truth is, I have brought
a Masque here, out o' the city, of my own making, and do present it by
a set of my sons, that come out of the lanes of London, good dancing
boys all. It was intended, I confess, for Curriers Hall; but because
the weather has been open, and the Livery were not at leisure to see
it till a frost came, that they cannot work, I thought it convenient,
with some little alterations, and the groom of the revels' hand to 't,
to fit it for a higher place; which I have done, and though I say it,
another manner of device than your New-Year's-night. Bones o' bread,
the king! (_seeing King James._) Son Rowland! Son Clem! be ready there
in a trice: quick, boys!


_Enter his Sons and Daughters, (ten in number,) led in, in a string,
  by Cupid, who is attired in a flat cap, and a prentice's coat, with
  wings at his shoulders._

MISRULE, _in a velvet cap, with a sprig, a short cloak, great yellow
  ruff, like a reveller, his torch-bearer bearing a rope, a cheese,
  and a basket._

CAROL, _a long tawny coat, with a red cap, and a flute at his
  girdle, his torch-bearer carrying a song-book open._

MINCED-PIE, _like a fine cook's wife, drest neat; her man carrying a
  pie, dish, and spoons._

GAMBOL, _like a tumbler, with a hoop and bells; his torch-bearer
  armed with a colt-staff, and a binding cloth._

POST AND PAIR, _with a pair-royal of aces in his hat; his garment
  all done over with pairs and purs; his squire carrying a box, cards,
  and counters._

NEW-YEAR'S-GIFT, _in a blue coat, serving-man like, with an orange,
  and a sprig of rosemary gilt on his head, his hat full of brooches,
  with a collar of ginger-bread, his torch-bearer carrying a
  march-pane with a bottle of wine on either arm._

MUMMING, _in a masquing pied suit, with a vizard, his torch-bearer
  carrying the box, and ringing it._

WASSEL, _like a neat sempster and songster; her page bearing a brown
  bowl, drest with ribands, and rosemary before her._

OFFERING, _in a short gown, with a porter's staff in his hand, a
  wyth born before him, and a bason, by his torch-bearer._

BABY-CAKE, _drest like a boy, in a fine long coat, biggin-bib,
  muckender, and a little dagger; his usher bearing a great cake, with
  a bean and a pease._

                _They enter singing._

  Now God preserve, as you do well deserve,
    Your majesties all, two there;
  Your highness small, with my good lords all,
    And ladies, how do you do there?

  Give me leave to ask, for I bring you a masque
    From little, little, little London;
  Which say the king likes, I have passed the pikes,
    If not, old Christmas is undone.

                                   [_Noise without._

_Chris._ Ho, peace! what's the matter there?

_Gam._ Here's one o' Friday-street would come in.

_Chris._ By no means, nor out of neither of the Fish-streets, admit
not a man; they are not Christmas creatures: fish and fasting days,
foh! Sons, said I well? look to it.

_Gam._ No body out o' Friday-street, nor the two Fish-streets there,
do you hear?

_Car._ Shall John Butter o' Milk-street come in? Ask him.

_Gam._ Yes, he may slip in for a torch-bearer, so he melt not too
fast, that he will last till the masque be done.

_Chris._ Right, son.

  Our dance's freight is a matter of eight;
    And two, the which are wenches:
  In all they be ten, four cocks to a hen,
    And will swim to the tune like tenches.

  Each hath his knight for to carry his light,
    Which some would say are torches
  To bring them here, and to lead them there,
    And home again to their own porches.

  Now their intent,--

                _Enter_ VENUS, _a deaf tire-woman._

_Ven._ Now, all the lords bless me! where am I, trow? where is Cupid?
"Serve the king!" they may serve the cobbler well enough, some of 'em,
for any courtesy they have, I wisse; they have need o' mending: unrude
people they are, your courtiers; here was thrust upon thrust indeed:
was it ever so hard to get in before, trow?

_Chris._ How now? what's the matter?

_Ven._ A place, forsooth, I do want a place: I would have a good
place, to see my child act in before the king and queen's majesties,
God bless 'em! to-night.

_Chris._ Why, here is no place for you.

_Ven._ Right, forsooth, I am Cupid's mother, Cupid's own mother,
forsooth; yes, forsooth: I dwell in Pudding-lane: ay, forsooth, he is
prentice in Love-lane, with a bugle maker, that makes of your bobs,
and bird-bolts for ladies.

_Chris._ Good lady Venus of Pudding-lane, you must go out for all
this.

_Ven._ Yes, forsooth, I can sit anywhere, so I may see Cupid act: he
is a pretty child, though I say it, that perhaps should not, you will
say. I had him by my first husband; he was a smith, forsooth, we
dwelt in Do-little-lane then: he came a month before his time, and
that may make him somewhat imperfect; but I was a fishmonger's
daughter.

_Chris._ No matter for your pedigree, your house: good Venus, will you
depart?

_Ven._ Ay, forsooth, he'll say his part, I warrant him, as well as
e'er a play-boy of 'em all: I could have had money enough for him, an
I would have been tempted, and have let him out by the week to the
king's players. Master Burbage has been about and about with me, and
so has old master Hemings, too, they have need of him; where is he,
trow, ha! I would fain see him--pray God they have given him some
drink since he came.

_Chris._ Are you ready, boys? Strike up! nothing will drown this noise
but a drum: a'peace, yet! I have not done. Sing,--

  Now their intent is above to present--

_Car._ Why, here be half of the properties forgotten, father.

_Offer._ Post and Pair wants his pur-chops and his pur-dogs.

_Car._ Have you ne'er a son at the groom porter's, to beg or borrow a
pair of cards quickly?

_Gam._ It shall not need; here's your son Cheater without, has cards
in his pocket.

_Offer._ Ods so! speak to the guards to let him in, under the name of
a property.

_Gam._ And here's New-Year's-Gift has an orange and rosemary, but not
a clove to stick in't.

_New-Year._ Why, let one go to the spicery.

_Chris._ Fy, fy, fy! it's naught, it's naught, boys.

_Ven._ Why, I have cloves, if it be cloves you want. I have cloves in
my purse: I never go without one in my mouth.

_Car._ And Mumming has not his vizard, neither.

_Chris._ No matter! his own face shall serve, for a punishment, and
'tis bad enough; has Wassel her bowl, and Minced-pie her spoons?

_Offer._ Ay, ay: but Misrule doth not like his suit: he says the
players have sent him one too little, on purpose to disgrace him.

_Chris._ Let him hold his peace, and his disgrace will be the less:
what! shall we proclaim where we were furnish'd? Mum! mum! a'peace! be
ready, good boys.

  Now their intent is above to present,
    With all the appurtenances,
  A right Christmas, as of old it was,
    To be gathered out of the dances.

  Which they do bring, and afore the king,
    The queen, and prince, as it were now
  Drawn here by love; who over and above,
    Doth draw himself in the geer too.


_Here the drum and fife sound, and they march about once. In the
second coming up_, CHRISTMAS _proceeds in his song:_

  Hum drum, sauce for a coney;
    No more of your martial music;
  Even for the sake o' the next new stake,
    For there I do mean to use it.

  And now to ye, who in place are to see
    With roll and farthingale hoopéd:
  I pray you know, though he want his bow,
    By the wings, that this is Cupid.

  He might go back for to cry, _What you lack?_
    But that were not so witty:
  His cap and coat are enough to note
    That he is the love o' the city.

  And he leads on, though he now be gone,
    For that was only his-rule:
  But now comes in, Tom of Bosoms-inn,
    And he presenteth Mis-rule.

  Which you may know, by the very show,
    Albeit you never ask it:
  For there you may see what his ensigns be,
    The rope, the cheese, and the basket.

  This Carol plays, and has been in his days
    A chirping boy, and a kill-pot:
  Kit Cobler it is, I'm a father of his,
    And he dwells in a lane called Fill-pot.

  But who is this? O, my daughter Cis,
    Minced-pie; with her do not dally
  On pain o' your life: she's an honest cook's wife,
    And comes out of Scalding-alley.

  Next in the trace, comes Gambol in place;
    And, to make my tale the shorter,
  My son Hercules, tane out of Distaff-lane,
    But an active man, and a porter.

  Now Post and Pair, old Christmas's heir,
    Doth make and a gingling sally;
  And wot you who, 'tis one of my two
    Sons, card-makers in Pur-alley.

  Next in a trice, with his box and his dice,
    Mac-pipin my son, but younger,
  Brings Mumming in; and the knave will win,
    For he is a costermonger.

  But New-Year's-Gift, of himself makes shift,
    To tell you what his name is:
  With orange on head, and his ginger-bread,
    Clem Waspe of Honey-lane 'tis.

  This, I tell you, is our jolly Wassel,
    And for Twelfth-night more meet too:
  She works by the ell, and her name is Nell,
    And she dwells in Threadneedle-street too.

  Then Offering, he, with his dish and his tree,
    That in every great house keepeth,
  Is by my son, young Little-worth, done,
    And in Penny-rich street he sleepeth.

  Last, Baby-cake that an end doth make
    Of Christmas, merry, merry vein-a,
  Is child Rowlan, and a straight young man,
    Though he come out of Crooked-lane-a.

  There should have been, and a dozen I ween,
    But I could find but one more
  Child of Christmas, and a Log it was,
    When I them all had gone o'er.

  I prayed him, in a time so trim,
    That he would make one to prance it;
  And I myself would have been the twelfth
    O' but Log he was too heavy to dance it.

  Now, Cupid, come you on.


_Cup._  _You worthy wights, king, lords, and knights,_
          _Or queen and ladies bright:_
        _Cupid invites you to the sights_
          _He shall present to-night._

_Ven._ 'Tis a good child, speak out; hold up your head, Love.


_Cup._ _And which Cupid--and which Cupid--_


_Ven._ Do not shake so, Robin; if thou be'st a-cold, I have some warm
waters for thee here.

_Chris._ Come, you put Robin Cupid out with your water's and your
fisling; will you be gone?

_Ven._ Ay, forsooth, he's a child, you must conceive, and must be used
tenderly; he was never in such an assembly before, forsooth, but once
at the Warmoll Quest, forsooth, where he said grace as prettily as any
of the sheriff's hinch-boys, forsooth.

_Chris._ Will you peace, forsooth?


_Cup._ _And which Cupid--and which Cupid--_


_Ven._ Ay, that's a good boy, speak plain, Robin; how does his majesty
like him, I pray? will he give eight-pence a day, think you? Speak
out, Robin.

_Chris._ Nay, he is out enough. You may take him away, and begin your
dance; this it is to have speeches.

_Ven._ You wrong the child, you do wrong the infant; I 'peal to his
majesty.

                _Here they dance._

_Chris._ Well done, boys, my fine boys, my bully boys!


THE EPILOGUE.

_Sings._  Nor do you think that their legs is all
            The commendation of my sons,
          For at the Artillery garden they shall
            As well forsooth use their guns,

          And march as fine as the Muses nine,
            Along the streets of London;
          And in their brave tires, to give their false fires,
            Especially Tom my son.

          Now if the lanes and the allies afford
            Such an ac-ativity as this;
          At Christmas next, if they keep their word,
            Can the children of Cheapside miss?

          Though, put the case, when they come in place,
            They should not dance, but hop:
          Their very gold lace, with their silk, would 'em grace,
            Having so many knights o' the shop.

          But were I so wise, I might seem to advise
            So great a potentate as yourself;
          They should, sir, I tell ye, spare't out of their belly,
            And this way spend some of their pelf.

          Ay, and come to the court, for to make you some sport,
            At the least once every year,
          As Christmas hath done, with his seventh or eighth son,
            And his couple of daughters dear.

              _And thus it ended._

                    _Ben Jonson._



_Santa Claus._


  "His back, or rather burden showed
  As if it stooped with its own load.
  To poise this, equally he bore
  A paunch of the same bulk before,
  Which still he had a special care
  To keep well crammed with thrifty fare."

                    _Butler._



A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS.


  'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
  In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
  The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
  While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
  And mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap
  Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
  When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
  I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
  Away to the window I flew like a flash,
  Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash;
  The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
  Gave the lustre of day to the objects below;
  When what to my wondering eyes should appear
  But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
  With a little old driver so lively and quick
  I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
  More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
  And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
  "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! now, Vixen!
  On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixen!
  To the top of the stoop, to the top of the wall!
  Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
  As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
  When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
  So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
  With the sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas too;
  And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
  The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
  As I drew in my head and was turning around,
  Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound;
  He was dressed all in furs from his head to his foot,
  And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
  A bundle of toys he had flung on his back;
  And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
  His eyes, how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
  His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
  His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
  And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
  The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
  And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
  He had a broad face, and a little round belly
  That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
  He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
  And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
  A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
  Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
  He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
  And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk,
  And laying his finger aside of his nose,
  And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
  He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
  And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
  But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
  "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

                    _Clement C. Moore._



THE HARD TIMES IN ELFLAND.


  Strange that the termagant winds should scold
    The Christmas Eve so bitterly!
  But Wife, and Harry, the four-year old,
    Big Charley, Nimblewits, and I,

  Blithe as the wind was bitter, drew
    More frontward of the mighty fire,
  Where wise Newfoundland Fan foreknew
    The heaven that Christian dogs desire--

  Stretched o'er the rug, serene and grave,
    Huge nose on heavy paws reclined,
  With never a drowning boy to save,
    And warmth of body and peace of mind.

  And as our happy circle sat,
    The fire well capp'd the company:
  In grave debate or careless chat,
    A right good fellow, mingled he:

  He seemed as one of us to sit,
    And talked of things above, below,
  With flames more winsome than our wit,
    And coals that burned like love aglow.

  While thus our rippling discourse rolled
    Smooth down the channel of the night,
  We spoke of Time: thereat, one told
    A parable of the seasons' flight.

  Those seasons out, we talked of these:
    And I, with inward purpose sly,
  To shield my purse from Christmas-trees,
    And stockings, and wild robbery

  When Hal and Nimblewits invade
    My cash in Santa Claus's name,--
  In full the hard, hard times surveyed,
    Denounced all waste as crime and shame;

  Hinted that "waste" might be a term
    Including skates, velocipedes,
  Kites, marbles, soldiers, towers infirm,
    Bows, arrows, cannon, Indian reeds,

  Cap-pistols, drums, mechanic toys,
    And all th' infernal host of horns
  Whereby to strenuous hells of noise
    Are turned the blessed Christmas morns;

  Thus, roused--those horns! to sacred rage,
    I rose, forefinger high in air,
  When Harry cried, some war to wage,
    "Papa is hard times ev'ywhere?

  "Maybe in Santa Claus's land
    It isn't hard times none at all!"
  Now, blessed vision! to my hand
    Most pat, a marvel strange did fall.

  Scarce had my Harry ceased, when "Look!"
    He cried, leapt up in wild alarm,
  Ran to my Comrade, shelter took
    Beneath the startled mother's arm,

  And so was still: what time we saw
    A foot hang down the fireplace! Then,
  With painful scrambling, scratched and raw,
    Two hands that seemed like hands of men,

  Eased down two legs and a body through
    The blazing fire, and forth there came
  Before our wide and wondering view
    A figure shrinking half with shame,

  And half with weakness. "Sir," I said,
    --But with a mien of dignity
  The seedy stranger raised his head:
    "My friends, I'm Santa Claus," said he.

  But oh, how changed! That rotund face
    The new moon rivall'd, pale and thin;
  Where once was cheek, now empty space;
    Whate'er stood out, did now stand in.

  His piteous legs scarce propped him up;
    His arms mere sickles seemed to be:
  But most o'erflowed our sorrow's cup
    When that we saw--or did not see--

  His belly: we remembered how
    It shook like a bowl of jelly fine:
  An earthquake could not shake it now;
    He had no belly--not a sign.

  "Yes, yes, old friends, you well may stare:
    I have seen better days," he said:
  "But now with shrinkage, loss, and care,
    Your Santa Claus scarce owns his head.

  "We've had such hard, hard times this year
    For goblins! Never knew the like.
  All Elfland's mortgaged! And we fear
    That gnomes are just about to strike.

  "I once was rich, and round, and hale,
    The whole world called me jolly brick;
  But listen to a piteous tale,
    Young Harry,--Santa Claus is sick!

  "'Twas thus: a smooth-tongued railroad man
    Comes to my house and talks to me:
  'I've got,' says he, 'a little plan
    That suits this nineteenth century.

  "'Instead of driving as you do,
    Six reindeer slow from house to house,
  Let's build a Grand Trunk Railway through
    From here to earth's last terminus.

  "'We'll touch at every chimney-top
    An Elevated Track, of course,
  Then, as we whisk you by, you'll drop
    Each package down: just think the force

  "'You'll save, the time! Besides, we'll make
    Our millions: look you, soon we will
  Compete for freight--and then we'll take
    Dame Fortune's bales of good and ill--

  "'Why, she's the biggest shipper, sir,
    That e'er did business in this world!
  Then Death, that ceaseless traveller,
    Shall on his rounds by us be whirled.

  "'When ghosts return to walk with men,
    We'll bring 'em cheap by steam, and fast:
  We'll run a branch to heaven! and then
    We'll riot, man; for then, at last,

  "'We'll make with heaven a contract fair
    To call each hour, from town to town,
  And carry the dead folks' souls up there,
    And bring the unborn babies down!'

  "The plan seemed fair: I gave him cash,
    Nay every penny I could raise.
  My wife e'er cried, ''Tis rash, 'tis rash:'
    How could I know the stock-thief's ways?

  "But soon I learned full well, poor fool!
    My woes began that wretched day.
  The President plied me like a tool,
    In lawyer's fees, and rights of way,

  "Injunctions, leases, charters, I
    Was meshed as in a mighty maze;
  The stock ran low, the talk ran high,
    Then quickly flamed the final blaze.

  "With never an inch of track--'tis true!
    The debts were large ... the oft-told tale.
  The President rolled in splendor new,
    --He bought my silver at the sale.

  "Yes, sold me out: we've moved away.
    I've had to give up everything;
  My reindeer, even, whom I ... pray,
    Excuse me" ... here, o'er-sorrowing,

  Poor Santa Claus burst into tears,
    Then calmed again: "My reindeer fleet,
  I gave them up: on foot, my dears,
    I now must plod through snow and sleet.

  "Retrenchment rules in Elfland, now;
    Yes, every luxury is cut off,
  --Which, by the way, reminds me how
    I caught this dreadful hacking cough:

  "I cut off the tail of my Ulster furred
    To make young Kris a coat of state
  That very night the storm occurred!
    Thus we become the sport of Fate.

  "For I was out till after one,
    Surveying chimney-tops and roofs,
  And planning how it could be done
    Without any reindeers' bouncing hoofs.

  "'My dear,' says Mrs. Claus, that night,
    A most superior woman she!
  'It never, never can be right
    That you, deep sunk in poverty,

  "'This year should leave your poor old bed,
    And trot about, bent down with toys;
  There's Kris a-crying now for bread--
    To give to other people's boys!

  "'Since you've been out, the news arrives
    The Elfs' Insurance Company's gone.
  Ah, Claus, those premiums! Now, our lives
    Depend on yours: thus griefs go on.

  "'And even while you're thus harassed,
    I do believe, if out you went,
  You'd go, in spite of all that's passed,
    To the children of that President!'

  "Oh, Charley, Harry, Nimblewits,
    These eyes that night ne'er slept a wink;
  My path seemed honeycombed with pits,
    Naught could I do but think and think.

  "But, with the day, my courage rose.
    Ne'er shall my boys, my boys, I cried,
  When Christmas morns their eyes unclose,
    Find empty stockings gaping wide!

  "Then hewed, and whacked, and whittled I;
    The wife, the girls, and Kris took fire;
  They spun, sewed, cut,--till by and by
    We made, at home, my pack entire!"

  He handed me a bundle here.
    "Now, hoist me up: there, gently: quick!
  Dear boys, don't look for much this year:
    Remember, Santa Claus is sick!"

                    _Sidney Lanier._



OLD CHRISTMAS.


  Now he who knows Old Christmas,
    He knows a wight of worth,
  For he's as good a fellow
    As any on the earth;
  He comes warm-cloaked and coated,
    And buttoned to the chin;
  And ere he is a-nigh the door,
    We ope to let him in.

  He comes with voice most cordial,
    It does one good to hear;
  For all the little children
    He asks each passing year:
  His heart is warm and gladsome,
    Not like your griping elves,
  Who, with their wealth in plenty,
    Think only of themselves.

  He tells us witty stories,
    He sings with might and main;
  We ne'er forget his visit
    Till he comes back again.
  With laurel green and holly
    We make the house look gay;
  We know that it will please him,
    It was his ancient way.

  Oh, he's a rare old fellow;
    What gifts he gives away!
  There's not a lord in England
    Could equal him to-day!
  Good luck unto Old Christmas,
    Long life now let us sing;
  He is more kind unto the poor
    Than any crownéd king.

                    _Mary Howitt._



MRS. SANTA CLAUS.


  The moon was like a frosted cake,
    The stars like flashing beads
  That round a brimming punch-bowl break
    'Mid spice and almond seeds;
  And here and there a silver beam
    Made bright some curling cloud
  Uprising like the wassail's stream,
    Blown off by laughter loud.

  It was the night of Christmas Eve,
    And good old Santa Claus
  His door was just about to leave,
    When something made him pause:
  "I haven't kissed my wife," quoth he,
    "I haven't said good-by."
  So back he went and lovingly
    He kissed her cap awry.

  Now Mrs. Claus is just a bit--
    The least bit--of a shrew.
  What wonder? Only think of it--
    She has so much to do.
  Imagine all the stocking-legs,
    Of every size and shape,
  That hang upon their Christmas pegs
    With greedy mouths agape.

  These she must fill, and when you see
    The northern skies aflame
  With quivering light, 'tis only she--
    This very quaint old dame--
  Striking a match against the Pole
    Her whale-oil lamp to light,
  That she may see to work, poor soul,
    At making toys all night.

  "Odd he should kiss me," this she said
    Before the sleigh had gone;
  "'Tis many a year since we were wed;
    I'll follow him anon.
  For faithless husbands, one and all,
    Ere on their loves they wait,
  Their wives' suspicion to forestall
    Seem most affectionate."

  So, pulling on her seal-skin sacque,
    Into her husband's sleigh
  She slipped, and hid behind his pack
    Just as he drove away.
  "Great Bears!" growled Santa in his beard,
    "A goodly freight have I;
  Were't fouler weather, I had feared
    The glacier path to try."

  Yet none the less they safely sped
    Across the realms of snow--
  The glittering planets overhead,
    The sparkling frost below--
  Until the reindeer stopped before
    A mansion tall and fair,
  Up to whose wide and lofty door
    Inclined a marble stair.

  So soundly all its inmates slept,
    They heard no stroke of hoof;
  No fall of foot as Santa leapt
    From pavement unto roof.
  So, down the chimney like a sweep
    He crept, and after him
  Went Mrs. Claus to have a peep
    At chambers warm and dim.

  As luck would have it, there was hung
    A stocking by the fire
  To wear which no one over-young
    Could fittingly aspire:
  Long, slender, graceful--it was just
    The thing to fill the heart
  Of Mrs. C. with deep distrust;
    And--well--it played its part.

  Scowling, she watched her husband fill
    The silken foot and leg
  With bonbons, fruit, and toys until
    It almost broke its peg.
  "My!" whispered Santa, "here's a crop.
    This little boy is wise;
  He knows I fill 'em to the top,
    No matter what the size."

  But Mrs. Claus misunderstood,
    Like every jealous wife;
  She _would_ make bad things out of good,
    To feed her inward strife.
  Snapped she unto herself: "The minx
    Sha'n't have a single thing!
  I'll take 'em home again, methinks,
    Nor leave a stick or string!"

  So said, so done; and all that night
    She followed Santa's wake,
  And as he stuffed the stockings tight,
    She every one did take,
  Stowing them all unseen away,
    In order grimly neat,
  Within the dark box of the sleigh,
    All underneath the seat.

  And when gray dawn broke, and all
    The bells began to peal,
  And tiny forms down many a hall
    And stairway 'gan to steal,
  In vain each chimney-piece they sought--
    Those weeping girls and boys--
  For Christmas morn had come and brought
    No candy and no toys.

                    _Charles Henry Lüders._



SANTA CLAUS TO LITTLE ETHEL.

(IN ANSWER TO HER LETTER, GIVING HIM A LIST OF HER CHRISTMAS WANTS.)


          My dear little Ethel,
          I fear that the breath'll
  Be out of our bodies before we get through;
          Day in and day out
          We are rushing about,
  And you haven't a notion how much there's to do.

          Ever since last December,
          When you may remember
  I paid you a visit at dear Elsinore,
          There's not been a minute
          With a resting-place in it,
  And my nose has not once been outside of the door.

          My shop has been going,
          My bellows a-blowing,
  My hammers and tongs and a thousand odd tools,
          Never give up the battle,
          But click, bang, and rattle
  Like ten million children in ten thousand schools.

          Dear me, but I'm weary!
          And yet, my small deary,
  I read all the letters as fast as they come;
          If I didn't,--good gracious!
          The house is not spacious,
  And the letters would soon squeeze me out of my home.

          "I would like a nice sled,
          And a dolly's soft bed,
  With a night-gown and bed-clothes of pretty bright stuffs,
          And paints, and a case
          Where my books I may place,
  And besides all these things, Dolly's collars and cuffs."

          That's a pretty big list!
          But may I be kissed
  On the back of my head by a crazy mule's hoof,
          If the list I don't fill,
          Though it takes all the skill
  Of every stout workman beneath my broad roof.

          "Hans, Yakob, and Karl!
          Let me not hear a snarl,
  Or a growl, or a grumble come out of your heads;
          To work now, instanter!
          Trot, gallop, and canter,
  And finish this job ere you go to your beds!"

          So I set them to work
          With a jump and a jerk,
  And everything's finished in beautiful style.
          Christmas Eve's here again,
          And I'm off with my train,
  Every reindeer prepared for ten seconds a mile.

          I shall slip down the flue
          With this letter for you,
  So softly, for fear I your slumbers might break.
          Not a word will I speak,
          But I'll kiss your soft cheek,
  And be gone in a jiffy, before you awake.

          Should you find I've forgot
          Any part of the lot
  That I ordered prepared and all marked with your name,
          Let me just add a word,
          So if that has occurred,
  You will know just exactly how I was to blame.

          The fact is, my dear,
          As I go, year by year,
  Up and down these straight chimneys, while you are in bed,
          The bumps and the scratches
          That Santa Claus catches
  Have rubbed all the hair from the top of his head.

          And my brain being bare
          Of my cover of hair,
  Is rapidly losing its power, my pet!
          Sometimes, after all's fixed,
          I get everything mixed,
  And you must forgive if I ever forget.

          Good-by, Ethel dear!
          May the coming New Year
  Bring all kinds of blessings to you from above;
          Make you happier and better:
          And so my long letter
  Must close, with a great deal of Santa Claus's love.

                    _Francis Wells._



_The Season's Reveries._


  "How many times have you sat at gaze
  Till the mouldering fire forgot to blaze,
  Shaping among the whimsical coals
  Fancies and figures and shining goals!"

                    _Lowell._



GUESTS AT YULE.


          _Noel! Noel!_
        Thus sounds each Christmas bell
          Across the winter snow.
  But what are the little footprints all
  That mark the path from the churchyard wall?
  They are those of the children waked to-night
  From sleep by the Christmas bells and light:
        Ring sweetly, chimes! Soft, soft, my rhymes!
          Their beds are under the snow.

          _Noel! Noel!_
        Carols each Christmas bell.
          What are the wraiths of mist
  That gather anear the window-pane
  Where the winter frost all day has lain?
  They are soulless elves, who fain would peer
  Within and laugh at our Christmas cheer:
        Ring fleetly, chimes! Swift, swift, my rhymes!
          They are made of the mocking mist.

          _Noel! Noel!_
        Cease, cease, each Christmas bell!
          Under the holly bough,
  Where the happy children throng and shout,
  What shadow seems to flit about?
  Is it the mother, then, who died
  Ere the greens were sere last Christmas-tide?
        Hush, falling chimes! Cease, cease, my rhymes!
          The guests are gathered now.

                    _Edmund Clarence Stedman._



CHRISTMAS IN INDIA.


  Dim dawn the tamarisks--the sky is saffron-yellow--
    As the women in the village grind the corn,
  And the parrots seek the riverside, each calling to his fellow
    That the day, the staring eastern day, is born.
    Oh, the white dust on the highway! Oh, the stenches in the by-way!
    Oh, the clammy fog that hovers over earth!
  And at home they're making merry 'neath the white and scarlet berry--
    What part have India's exiles in their mirth?

  Full day behind the tamarisks--the sky is blue and staring--
    As the cattle crawl afield beneath the yoke,
  And they bear one o'er the field-path who is past all hope or caring,
    To the ghat below the curling wreaths of smoke.
    Call on Rama, going slowly, as ye bear a brother lowly--
    Call on Rama--he may hear, perhaps, your voice!
  With our hymn-books and our psalters we appeal to other altars,
    And to-day we bid "good Christian men rejoice!"

  High noon above the tamarisks--the sun is hot above us--
    As at home the Christmas Day is breaking wan,
  They will drink our healths at dinner--those who tell us how they
        love us,
    And forget us till another year be gone!
    Oh, the toil that knows no breaking! Oh! the heimweh, ceaseless,
        aching!
    Oh, the black, dividing sea and alien plain!
  Youth was cheap--wherefore we sold it. Gold was good--we hoped to
        hold it,
    And to-day we know the fulness of our gain.

  Gray dusk behind the tamarisks--the parrots fly together--
    As the sun is sinking slowly over home;
  And his last ray seems to mock us, shackled in a lifelong tether
    That drags us back, howe'er so far we roam.
    Hard her service, poor her payment--she in ancient, tattered raiment--
    India, she the grim stepmother of our kind.
  If a year of life be lent her, if her temple's shrine we enter,
    The door is shut--we may not look behind.

  Black night behind the tamarisks--the owls begin their chorus--
    As the conches from the temple scream and bray.
  With the fruitless years behind us and the hopeless years before us,
    Let us honor, O, my brothers, Christmas Day!
    Call a truce, then, to our labors--let us feast with friends and
        neighbors,
    And be merry as the custom of our caste;
  For, if "faint and forced the laughter," and if sadness follow after,
    We are richer by one mocking Christmas past.

                    _Rudyard Kipling._



CHRISTMAS VIOLETS.


  Last night I found the violets
    You sent me once across the sea;
  From gardens that the winter frets,
    In summer lands they came to me.

  Still fragrant of the English earth,
    Still humid from the frozen dew,
  To me they spoke of Christmas mirth,
    They spoke of England, spoke of you.

  The flowers are scentless, black, and sere,
    The perfume long has passed away;
  The sea whose tides are year by year
    Is set between us, chill and gray.

  But you have reached a windless age,
    The haven of a happy clime;
  You do not dread the winter's rage,
    Although we missed the summer-time.

  And like the flower's breath over sea,
    Across the gulf of time and pain,
  To-night returns the memory
    Of love that lived not all in vain.

                    _Andrew Lang._



[Illustration: The Season's Reveries]



DICKENS RETURNS ON CHRISTMAS DAY.


(A ragged girl in Drury Lane was heard to exclaim, "Dickens dead? Then
will Father Christmas die, too?" June 9, 1870.)

  "Dickens is dead!" Beneath that grievous cry
  London seemed shivering in the summer heat;
  Strangers took up the tale like friends that meet:
  "Dickens is dead!" said they, and hurried by;
  Street children stopped their games--they knew not why,
  But some new night seemed darkening down the street;
  A girl in rags, staying her way-worn feet,
  Cried, "Dickens dead? Will Father Christmas die?"

  City he loved, take courage on thy way!
  He loves thee still in all thy joys and fears:
  Though he whose smiles made bright thine eyes of gray--
  Whose brave sweet voice, uttering thy tongueless years,
  Made laughters bubble through thy sea of tears--
  Is gone, Dickens returns on Christmas Day!

                    _Theodore Watts._



A GRIEF AT CHRISTMAS.

FROM "IN MEMORIAM."


_First Year._

  The time draws near the birth of Christ
    The moon is hid; the night is still;
    The Christmas bells from hill to hill
  Answer each other in the mist.

  Four voices of four hamlets round,
    From far and near, on mead and moor,
    Swell out and fail, as if a door
  Were shut between me and the sound:

  Each voice four changes on the wind,
    That now dilate, and now decrease,
    Peace and good-will, good-will and peace,
  Peace and good-will, to all mankind.

  This year I slept and woke with pain,
    I almost wish'd no more to wake,
    And that my hold on life would break
  Before I heard those bells again:

  But they my troubled spirit rule,
    For they controll'd me when a boy;
    They bring me sorrow touched with joy,
  The merry merry bells of Yule.

  With such compelling cause to grieve
    As daily vexes household peace,
    And chains regret to his decease,
  How dare we keep our Christmas-eve;

  Which brings no more a welcome guest
    To enrich the threshold of our night
    With shower'd largess of delight,
  In dance and song and game and jest.

  Yet go, and while the holly boughs
    Entwine the cold baptismal font,
    Make one wreath more for Use and Wont,
  That guard the portals of the house;

  Old sisters of a day gone by,
    Gray nurses, loving nothing new;
    Why should they miss their yearly due
  Before their time? They too will die.

  With trembling fingers did we weave
    The holly round the Christmas hearth;
    A rainy cloud possess'd the earth,
  And sadly fell our Christmas-eve.

  At our old pastimes in the hall
    We gambol'd, making vain pretence
    Of gladness, with an awful sense
  Of one mute Shadow watching all.

  We paused: the winds were in the beech:
    We heard them sweep the winter land;
    And in a circle hand-in-hand
  Sat silent, looking each at each.

  Then echo-like our voices rang;
    We sung, tho' every eye was dim,
    A merry song we sang with him
  Last year: impetuously we sang:

  We ceased: a gentler feeling crept
    Upon us: surely rest is meet.
    "They rest," we said, "their sleep is sweet,"
  And silence follow'd, and we wept.

  Our voices took a higher range;
    Once more we sang: "They do not die
    Nor lose their mortal sympathy,
  Nor change to us, although they change;

  "Rapt from the fickle and the frail
    With gather'd power, yet the same
    Pierces the keen seraphic flame
  From orb to orb, from veil to veil."

  Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn,
    Draw forth the cheerful day from night:
    O Father, touch the east, and light
  The light that shone when Hope was born.


_Second Year._

  Again at Christmas did we weave
    The holly round the Christmas hearth;
    The silent snow possessed the earth,
  And calmly fell on Christmas-eve:

  The yule-clog sparkled keen with frost,
    No wing of wind the region swept,
    But over all things brooding slept
  The quiet sense of something lost.

  As in the winters left behind,
    Again our ancient games had place,
    The mimic picture's breathing grace,
  And dance and song and hoodman-blind.

  Who show'd a token of distress?
    No single tear, no mark of pain:
    O sorrow, then can sorrow wane?
  O grief, can grief be changed to less?

  O last regret, regret can die!
    No--mixt with all this mystic frame,
    Her deep relations are the same,
  But with long use her tears are dry.


_Third Year._

  The time draws near the birth of Christ;
    The moon is hid, the night is still;
    A single church below the hill
  Is pealing, folded in the mist.

  A single peal of bells below,
    That wakens at this hour of rest
    A single murmur in the breast,
  That these are not the bells I know.

  Like strangers' voices here they sound,
    In lands where not a memory strays,
    Nor landmark breathes of other days,
  But all is new unhallow'd ground.

  To-night ungather'd let us leave
    This laurel, let this holly stand:
    We live within the stranger's land,
  And strangely falls our Christmas-eve.

  Our father's dust is left alone
    And silent under other snows:
    There in due time the woodbine blows,
  The violet comes, but we are gone.

  No more shall wayward grief abuse
    The genial hour with mask and mime;
    For change of place, like growth of time,
  Has broke the bond of dying use.

  Let cares that petty shadows cast,
    By which our lives are chiefly proved,
    A little spare the night I loved,
  And hold it solemn to the past.

  But let no footsteps beat the floor,
    Nor bowl of wassail mantle warm;
    For who would keep an ancient form
  Thro' which the spirit breathes no more?

  Be neither song, nor game, nor feast;
    Nor harp be touch'd, nor flute be blown;
    No dance, no motion, save alone
  What lightens in the lucid east

  Of rising worlds by yonder wood.
    Long sleeps the summer in the seed;
    Run out your measured arcs, and lead
  The closing cycle rich in good.

  Ring out wild bells, to the wild sky,
    The flying cloud, the frosty light:
    The year is dying in the night:
  Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

  Ring out the old, ring in the new,
    Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
    The year is going, let him go;
  Ring out the false, ring in the true.

  Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
    For those that here we see no more;
    Ring out the feud of rich and poor;
  Ring in redress of all mankind.

  Ring out the slowly dying cause,
    And ancient forms of party strife;
    Ring in the nobler modes of life,
  With sweeter manners, purer laws.

  Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
    The faithless coldness of the times;
    Ring out, ring out, my mournful rhymes,
  But ring the fuller minstrel in:

  Ring out false pride in place and blood,
    The civic slander and the spite;
    Ring in the love of truth and right,
  Ring in the common love of good.

  Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
    Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
    Ring out the thousand wars of old,
  Ring in the thousand years of peace.

  Ring in the valiant man and free,
    The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
    Ring out the darkness of the land,
  Ring in the Christ that is to be.

                    _Lord Tennyson._



MY SISTER'S SLEEP.


  She fell asleep on Christmas-eve:
    At length the long-ungranted shade
    Of weary eyelids overweigh'd
  The pain naught else might yet relieve.

  Our mother, who had leaned all day
    Over the bed from chime to chime,
    Then raised herself for the first time,
  And as she sat her down did pray.

  Her little work-table was spread
    With work to finish. For the glare
    Made by her candle, she had care
  To work some distance from the bed.

  Without there was a cold moon up,
    Of winter radiance sheer and thin;
    The hollow halo it was in
  Was like an icy crystal cup.

  Through the small room, with subtle sound
    Of flame, by vents the fireshine drove
    And reddened. In its dim alcove
  The mirror shed a clearness round.

  I had been sitting up some nights,
    And my tired mind felt weak and blank;
    Like a sharp, strengthening wine it drank
  The stillness and the broken lights.

  Twelve struck. That sound, by dwindling years
    Heard in each hour, crept off; and then
    The ruffled silence spread again,
  Like water that a pebble stirs.

  Our mother rose from where she sat:
    Her needles, as she laid them down,
    Met lightly, and her silken gown
  Settled: no other noise than that.

  "Glory unto the Newly Born,"
    So as said angels, she did say;
    Because we were in Christmas-day,
  Though it would still be long till morn.

  Just then in the room over us
    There was a pushing back of chairs,
    As some one had sat unawares
  So late, now heard the hour, and rose.

  With anxious, softly-stepping haste
    Our mother went where Margaret lay,
    Fearing the sounds o'erhead--should they
  Have broken her long-watched-for rest!

  She stooped an instant, calm, and turned;
    But suddenly turned back again;
    And all her features seemed in pain
  With woe, and her eyes gazed and yearned.

  For my part, I but hid my face,
    And held my breath, and spoke no word;
    There was none spoken; but I heard
  The silence for a little space.

  Our mother bowed herself and wept;
    And both my arms fell, and I said,
    "God knows I knew that she was dead,"
  And there, all white, my sister slept.

  Then kneeling upon Christmas morn
    A little after twelve o'clock,
    We said, ere the first quarter struck,
  "Christ's blessing on the newly born!"

                    _Dante Gabriel Rossetti._



CHRISTMAS IN EDINBOROUGH.

I.


  Sheath'd is the river as it glideth by,
  Frost-pearl'd are all the boughs of forests old,
  The sheep are huddling close upon the wold,
  And over them the stars tremble on high.
  Pure joys these winter nights around me lie;
  'Tis fine to loiter through the lighted streets
  At Christmas-time, and guess from brow and pace
  The doom and history of each one we meet,
  What kind of heart beats in each dusky case;
  Whiles, startled by the beauty of a face
  In a shop-light a moment. Or instead,
  To dream of silent fields where calm and deep
  The sunshine lieth like a golden sleep--
  Recalling sweetest looks of summers dead.

                    _Alexander Smith._



CHRISTMAS IN EDINBOROUGH.

II.


  Joy like a stream flows through the Christmas streets,
  But I am sitting in my silent room,
  Sitting all silent in congenial gloom
  To-night, while half the world the other greets
  With smiles and grasping hands and drinks and meats,
  I sit and muse on my poetic doom;
  Like the dim scent within a budded rose,
  A joy is folded in my heart; and when
  I think on poets nurtured 'mong the throes
  And by the lowly hearths of common men,--
  Think of their works, some song, some swelling ode
  With gorgeous music growing to a close,
  Deep muffled as the dead-march of a god,--
  My heart is burning to be one of those.

                    _Alexander Smith._



AROUND THE CHRISTMAS LAMP.


  The wind may shout as it likes without;
  It may rage, but cannot harm us;
  For a merrier din shall resound within,
  And our Christmas cheer will warm us.
  There is gladness to all at its ancient call,
  While its ruddy fires are gleaming,
  And from far and near, o'er the landscape drear,
  The Christmas light is streaming.

  All the frozen ground is in fetters bound;
  Ho! the yule-log we will burn it;
  For Christmas is come in ev'ry home,
  To summer our hearts will turn it.
  There is gladness to all at its ancient call,
  While its ruddy fires are gleaming;
  And from far and near, o'er the landscape drear,
  The Christmas light is streaming.

                    _J. L. Molloy._



CHRISTMAS-EVE.


  Alone--with one fair star for company,
    The loveliest star among the hosts of night,
    While the gray tide ebbs with the ebbing light--
  I pace along the darkening wintry sea.
  Now round the yule-log and the glittering tree
    Twinkling with festive tapers, eyes as bright
    Sparkle with Christmas joys and young delight
  As each one gathers to his family.

  But I--a waif on earth where'er I roam--
    Uprooted with life's bleeding hopes and fears,
  From that one heart that was my heart's sole home,
    Feel the old pang pierce through the severing years,
  And as I think upon the years to come,
    That fair star trembles through my falling tears.

                    _Mathilde Blind._



WONDERLAND.


  Lo! I will make my home
    In the beautiful Land of Books;
  Where the friends of childhood roam
    Through most delightful nooks.

  I'll rent the unfinished floor
    In Aladdin's palace built,
  Whose walls, to the outer door,
    Are ivory and gilt.

  And the Caliph--Haroun--there
    Will pass in his deft disguise;
  But him I'll know by his air
    So grand, and his eagle eyes.

  And Cinderella, too,
    Will weep when her sisters whip her:
  And I'll be the Prince--or you--
    Who will find her crystal slipper.

  And O, what fun it will be
    With Robin the Bobbin to feast,
  Or to frequently call and see
    The Beauty and the Beast.

  For she and you and I
    And the Rusty Dusty Miller
  Will eat of a Christmas-Pie
    With Jack the Giant-Killer.

  Then come, let us make our homes
    In the most frequented nooks
  Of the land of elves and gnomes,
    In the beautiful Land of Books!

                    _Charles Henry Lüders._



WAITING.


  As little children in a darkened hall
    At Christmas-tide await the opening door,
    Eager to tread the fairy-haunted floor
  Around the tree with goodly gifts for all,
  Oft in the darkness to each other call,--
    Trying to guess their happiness before--
    Or knowing elders eagerly implore
  To tell what fortune unto them may fall,--

  So wait we in time's dim and narrow room,
    And, with strange fancies or another's thought,
    Try to divine before the curtain rise
  The wondrous scene; forgetting that the gloom
    Must shortly flee from what the ages sought,--
    The Father's long-planned gift of Paradise.

                    _C. H. Crandall._



AUNT MARY.

A CORNISH CHRISTMAS CHANT.


  Now of all the trees by the king's highway,
    Which do you love the best?
  O! the one that is green upon Christmas-day,
    The bush with the bleeding breast.
  Now the holly with her drops of blood for me:
  For that is our dear Aunt Mary's tree.

  Its leaves are sweet with our Saviour's name,
    'Tis a plant that loves the poor:
  Summer and winter it shines the same
    Beside the cottage door.
  O! the holly with her drops of blood for me:
  For that is our kind Aunt Mary's tree.

  'Tis a bush that the birds will never leave:
    They sing in it all day long;
  But sweetest of all upon Christmas-eve
    Is to hear the robin's song.
  'Tis the merriest sound upon earth and sea:
  For it comes from our own Aunt Mary's tree.

  So, of all that grow by the king's highway,
    I love that tree the best;
  'Tis a bower for the birds upon Christmas-day,
    The bush of the bleeding breast.
  O! the holly with her drops of blood for me:
  For that is our sweet Aunt Mary's tree.

                    _Robert Stephen Hawker._



THE GLAD NEW DAY.


  And why should not that land rejoice,
  And darkness flee away,
  When on its dim, benighted hills
  Has dawned the glad new day?
  For now behold the shepherds go,
  The wondrous babe to see;
  Ah, then methinks that all around
  Was one grand jubilee!

  Rejoice, ye nations blest with peace,
  Let all the earth be glad;
  The Prince of Peace comes down to-day,
  In robes of pity clad.
  Yea, thus should all mankind rejoice
  On this glad day of love;
  But yet, alas! how far we are
  From those blest heights above!

  Ah! for the time when men shall spend
  This day as all men should,
  When angels shall with joy attend,
  And dwell among the good.
  Then will this earth an Eden be,
  A Paradise of love;
  And all shall know the perfect bliss
  Of those bright realms above.

                    _Thomas Moore._



UNDER THE HOLLY BOUGH.


  Ye who have scorned each other
  In this fast fading year,
  Or wronged a friend or brother,
  Come gather humbly here:
  Let sinned against and sinning
  Forget their strife's beginning,
  Be links no longer broken
    Beneath the holly bough,
  Be sweet forgiveness spoken
    Beneath the holly bough.

  Ye who have loved each other
  In this fast fading year,
  Sister, or friend, or brother,
  Come gather happy here:
  And let your hearts grow fonder
  As mem'ry glad shall ponder
  Old loves and later wooing
    Beneath the holly bough,
  So sweet in their renewing
    Beneath the holly bough.

  Ye who have nourished sadness
  In this fast fading year,
  Estranged from joy and gladness,
  Come gather hopeful here:
  No more let useless sorrow
  Pursue you night and morrow;
  Come join in our embraces
    Beneath the holly bough;
  Take heart, uncloud your faces
    Beneath the holly bough.

                    _Charles Mackay._



THE DAWN OF CHRISTMAS.


  Acold it is and middle night:
    The moon looks down the snow,
  As if an angel, clad in white,
    Carried her lanthorn so
  That, going forth the streets of light,
    She made an earthward glow.

  A drift enfolds the chapel eaves
    Like downy coverlet;
  And, garnered into whited sheaves,
    The graves are harvest-set
  Waiting the yeoman. All the panes
    Are rich with rimy fret.

  The sexton mounts the outer stair
    Where chilly sparrows cower--
  And bells ring down the winter air
    From forth the snowy tower;
  For, muffled deep in drift, the clock
    Hath struck the Christmas hour.

  And over barn, and buried stack,
    And out the naked copse,
  And where the owl sits plump and black
    Amid the chestnut tops--
  The branches echo back the bells,
    Like dulcet organ stops.

  For blast of wind and creak of bough
    And rustle of the frost,
  And winter's inner voice--avow
    The holy hour is crossed,
  And far, mysterious music sounds,
    Sweet like a harping host.

                    _H. S. M._



BALLADE OF CHRISTMAS GHOSTS.


  Between the moonlight and the fire,
    In winter evenings long ago,
  What ghosts I raised at your desire,
    To make your leaping blood run slow!
  How old, how grave, how wise we grow!
    What Christmas ghost can make us chill--
  Save these that troop in mournful row,
    The ghosts we all can raise at will?

  The beasts can talk in barn and byre
    On Christmas-eve, old legends know.
  As one by one the years retire,
    We men fall silent then, I trow--
  Such sights has memory to show,
    Such voices from the distance thrill.
  Ah me! they come with Christmas snow,
    The ghosts we all can raise at will.

  Oh, children of the village choir,
    Your carols on the midnight throw!
  Oh, bright across the mist and mire,
    Ye ruddy hearths of Christmas glow!
  Beat back the shades, beat down the woe,
    Renew the strength of mortal will;
  Be welcome, all, to come or go,
    The ghosts we all can raise at will.

  Friend, _sursum corda_, soon or slow
    We part, like guests who've joyed their fill;
  Forget them not, nor mourn them so,
    The ghosts we all can raise at will!

                    _Andrew Lang._



THE VILLAGE CHRISTMAS.


  Meantime the village rouses up the fire:
  While well attested, and as well believed,
  Heard solemn, goes the goblin story round,
  Till superstitious horror creeps o'er all.
  Or, frequent in the sounding hall, they wake
  The rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round;
  The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart,
  Easily pleased; the long, loud laugh, sincere;
  The kiss, snatched hasty from the side-long maid,
  On purpose guardless, or pretending sleep;
  The leap, the slap, the haul; and, shook to notes
  Of native music, the respondent dance,
  Thus jocund fleets with them the winter-night.

                    _James Thomson._



WINTER.


  A wrinkled, crabbéd man they picture thee,
  Old winter, with a rugged beard as gray
  As the long moss upon the apple-tree;
  Blue-lipt, an ice-drop at thy sharp blue nose,
  Close muffled up, and on thy dreary way
  Plodding alone through sleet and drifting snows.
  They should have drawn thee by the high-heapt hearth,
  Old winter! seated in thy great armed-chair,
  Watching the children at their Christmas mirth;
  Or circled by them as thy lips declare
  Some merry jest, or tale of murder dire,
  Or troubled spirit that disturbs the night;
  Pausing at times to rouse the smouldering fire,
  Or taste the old October brown and bright.

                    _Robert Southey._



DECEMBER.


  And after him came next the chill December:
  Yet he, through merry feasting which he made,
  And great bonfires, did not the cold remember;
  His Saviour's birth his mind so much did glad:
  Upon a shaggy-bearded goat he rode,
  The same wherewith Dan Jove in tender years,
  They say, was nourisht by th' Idæan Mayd;
  And in his hand a broad deep bowle he beares,
  Of which he freely drinks an health to all his peeres.

                    _Edmund Spenser._



CHRISTMAS WEATHER IN SCOTLAND.


  A winter day! the feather-silent snow
  Thickens the air with strange delight, and lays
  A fairy carpet on the barren lea.
  No sun, yet all around that inward light
  Which is in purity,--a soft moonshine,
  The silvery dimness of a happy dream.
  How beautiful! afar on moorland ways,
  Bosomed by mountains, darkened by huge glens,
  (Where the lone altar raised by Druid hands
  Stands like a mournful phantom,) hidden clouds
  Let fall soft beauty, till each green fir branch
  Is plumed and tasselled, till each heather stalk
  Is delicately fringed. The sycamores,
  Through all their mystical entanglement
  Of boughs, are draped with silver. All the green
  Of sweet leaves playing with the subtle air
  In dainty murmuring; the obstinate drone
  Of limber bees that in the monk's-hood bells
  House diligent; the imperishable glow
  Of summer sunshine never more confessed
  The harmony of nature, the divine,
  Diffusive spirit of the beautiful.
  Out in the snowy dimness, half revealed
  Like ghosts in glimpsing moonshine, wildly run
  The children in bewildering delight.
  There is a living glory in the air,--
  A glory in the hushed air, in the soul
  A palpitating wonder hushed in awe.

  Softly--with delicate softness--as the light
  Quickens in the undawned east; and silently--
  With definite silence--as the stealing dawn
  Dapples the floating clouds, slow fall, slow fall,
  With indecisive motion eddying down,
  The white-winged flakes,--calm as the sleep of sound,
  Dim as a dream. The silver-misted air
  Shines with mild radiance, as when through a cloud
  Of semilucent vapor shines the moon.
  I saw last evening (when the ruddy sun,
  Enlarged and strange, sank low and visibly,
  Spreading fierce orange o'er the west) a scene
  Of winter in his milder mood. Green fields,
  Which no kine cropped, lay damp; and naked trees
  Threw skeleton shadows. Hedges, thickly grown,
  Twined into compact firmness, with no leaves,
  Trembled in jewelled fretwork as the sun
  To lustre touched the tremulous water-drops.
  Alone, nor whistling as his fellows do
  In fabling poem and provincial song,
  The ploughboy shouted to his reeking train;
  And at the clamor, from a neighboring field
  Arose, with whirr of wings, a flock of rooks
  More clamorous; and through the frosted air,
  Blown wildly here and there without a law,
  They flew, low-grumbling out loquacious croaks.
  Red sunset brightened all things; streams ran red
  Yet coldly; and before the unwholesome east,
  Searching the bones and breathing ice, blew down
  The hill, with a dry whistle, by the fire
  In chamber twilight rested I at home.

  But now what revelation of fair change,
  O Giver of the seasons and the days!
  Creator of all elements, pale mists,
  Invisible great winds and exact frost!
  How shall I speak the wonder of thy snow?
  What though we know its essence and its birth,
  Can quick expound, in philosophic wise,
  The how, and whence, and manner of its fall;
  Yet, oh, the inner beauty and the life--
  The life that is in snow! The virgin-soft
  And utter purity of the down-flake,
  Falling upon its fellow with no sound!
  Unblown by vulgar winds, innumerous flakes
  Fall gently, with the gentleness of love!
  The earth is cherished, for beneath the soft,
  Pure uniformity is gently born
  Warmth and rich mildness, fitting the dead roots
  For the resuscitation of the spring.
  Now while I write, the wonder clothes the vale,
  Calmed every wind and loaded every grove;
  And looking through the implicated boughs
  I see a gleaming radiance. Sparkling snow,
  Refined by morning-footed frost so still,
  Mantles each bough; and such a windless hush
  Breathes through the air, it seems the fairy glen
  About some phantom palace, pale abode
  Of fabled Sleeping Beauty. Songless birds
  Flit restlessly about the breathless wood,
  Waiting the sudden breaking of the charm;
  And as they quickly spring on nimble wing
  From the white twig, a sparkling shower falls
  Starlike. It is not whiteness, but a clear
  Outshining of all purity, which takes
  The winking eyes with such a silvery gleam.
  No sunshine, and the sky is all one cloud.
  The vale seems lonely, ghostlike; while aloud
  The housewife's voice is heard with doubled sound.
  I have not words to speak the perfect show;
  The ravishment of beauty; the delight
  Of silent purity; the sanctity
  Of inspiration which o'erflows the world,
  Making it breathless with divinity.

  So thus with fair delapsion softly falls
  The sacred shower; and when the shortened day
  Dejected dies in the low streaky west,
  The rising moon displays a cold blue night,
  And keen as steel the east wind sprinkles ice.
  Thicker than bees, about the waxing moon
  Gather the punctual stars. Huge whitened hills
  Rise glimmering to the blue verge of the night,
  Ghostlike, and striped with narrow glens of firs
  Black-waving, solemn. O'er the Luggie-stream
  Gathers a veiny film of ice, and creeps
  With elfin feet around each stone and reed,
  Working fine masonry; while o'er the dam,
  Dashing, a noise of waters fills the clear
  And nitrous air. All the dark, wintry hours
  Sharply the winds from the white level moors
  Keen whistle. Timorous in his homely bed
  The school-boy listens, fearful lest gaunt wolves
  Or beasts, whose uncouth forms in ancient books
  He has beheld, at creaking shutters pull
  Howling. And when at last the languid dawn
  In wind redness re-illumines the east
  With ineffectual fire, an intense blue
  Severely vivid o'er the snowy hills
  Gleams chill, while hazy, half-transparent clouds
  Slow-range the freezing ether of the west.
  Along the woods the keenly vehement blasts
  Wail, and disrobe the mantled boughs, and fling
  A snow-dust everywhere. Thus wears the day:
  While grandfather over the well-watched fire
  Hangs cowering, with a cold drop at his nose.

  Now underneath the ice the Luggie growls,
  And to the polished smoothness curlers come
  Rudely ambitious. Then for happy hours
  The clinking stones are slid from wary hands,
  And Barleycorn, best wine for surly airs,
  Bites i' th' mouth, and ancient jokes are cracked.
  And oh, the journey homeward, when the sun,
  Low-rounding to the west, in ruddy glow
  Sinks large, and all the amber-skirted clouds,
  His flaming retinue, with dark'ning glow
  Diverge! The broom is brandished as the sign
  Of conquest, and impetuously they boast
  Of how this shot was played,--with what a bend
  Peculiar--the perfection of all art--
  That stone came rolling grandly to the Tee
  With victory crowned, and flinging wide the rest
  In lordly crash! Within the village inn
  They by the roaring chimney sit, and quaff
  The beaded Usqueba with sugar dashed.
  O, when the precious liquid fires the brain
  To joy, and every heart beats fast with mirth
  And ancient fellowship, what nervy grasps
  Of horny hands o'er tables of rough oak!
  What singing of Lang Syne till tear-drops shine,
  And friendships brighten as the evening wanes!

                    _David Gray._



SIR GALAHAD.


  When on my goodly charger borne
    Thro' dreaming towns I go,
  The cock crows ere the Christmas morn,
    The streets are dumb with snow.
  The tempest crackles on the leads
    And, ringing, springs from brand and mail;
  But o'er the dark a glory spreads,
    And gilds the driving hail.

                    _Lord Tennyson._



[Illustration: "Too Happy, Happy Tree"]



A THOUGHT FOR THE TIME.


  In a drear-nighted December,
  Too happy, happy tree,
  Thy branches ne'er remember
  Their green felicity:
  The north cannot undo them
  With a sleety whistle through them;
  Nor frozen thawings glue them
  From budding at the prime.

  In a drear-nighted December,
  Too happy, happy brook,
  Thy bubblings ne'er remember
  Apollo's summer look;
  But with a sweet forgetting,
  They stay their crystal fretting,
  Never, never petting
  About the frozen time.

  Ah! would't were so with many
  A gentle girl and boy!
  But were there ever any
  Writhed not at passéd joy?
  To know the change and feel it,
  When there is none to heal it,
  Nor numbéd sense to steal it,
  Was never said in rhyme.

                    _John Keats._



BALLADE OF THE WINTER FIRESIDE.


  An ingle-blaze and a steaming jug;
    A lamp and a lazy book;
  And, deep in a doubled, downy rug
    Your feet to the warmest nook.
    And wherever the eye may crook,
  A print or a tumbled tome--
  For the kettle sings on the blackened hook,
    And hey! for the sweets of home!

  What though the traveller toil and tug
    Where sleety drifts be shook?
  What though i' the churchyard graves be dug;
    And sweethearts be forsook?
    A hearth, and a careful cook,
  And cares may go or come!
  For the kettle sings on the blackened hook,
    And hey! for the sweets of home!

  But--curtains down and an elbow hug;
    A maid that comes to a look;
  A boy to carry a rimy log
    From over the frozen brook--
    And, a fig for the cawing rook,
  Or ghosts in the ruddy gloam!
  For the kettle sings on the blackened hook,
    And hey! for the sweets of home!


_Envoi._

  And yet--or I be mistook--
    To a friend the cup should foam;
  For the kettle sings on the blackened hook,
    And hey! for the sweets of home!

                    _H. S. M._



A CATCH BY THE HEARTH.


  Sing we all merrily
    Christmas is here,
  The day that we love best
    Of days in the year.

  Bring forth the holly,
    The box, and the bay,
  Deck out our cottage
    For glad Christmas-day.

  Sing we all merrily,
    Draw round the fire,
  Sister and brother,
    Grandson and sire.



SALLY IN OUR ALLEY.


  When Christmas comes about again,
    O then I shall have money;
  I'll hoard it up, and box it all,
    I'll give it to my honey:
  I would it were ten thousand pound,
    I'd give it all to Sally;
  She is the darling of my heart,
    And she lives in our alley.

                    _H. Carey._



LITTLE MOTHER.

A GERMAN FANCY.


  Little mother, why must you go?
    The children play by the white bedside,
    The world is merry for Christmas-tide,
  And what would you do in the falling snow?

  They sleep by now in the ember-glow,
    Hushed to dream in a child's delight,
    For wonders happen on Christmas night:
  Little mother, why must you go?

  The flakes fall and the night grows late.
    Oh, slender figure and small wet feet,
    Where do you haste through the lamp-lit street,
  And out and away by the fortress gate?

  It is drear and chill where the dear lie dead,
    Yet light enough with the snow to see;
    But what would you do with that Christmas-tree
  At the tiny mound that is baby's bed?

  A Christmas-tree with its tinsel gold!
    Oh, how should I not have a thought for thee,
    When the children sleep in their dream of glee,
  Poor little grave but a twelvemonth old!

  Little mother, your heart is brave,
    You kiss the cross in the drifted snow,
    Kneel for a moment, rise and go
  And leave your tree by the tiny grave.

  While the living slept by the warm fireside,
    And flakes fell white on your Christmas toy,
    I think that its angel wept for joy
  Because you remembered the one that died.

                    _Rennell Rodd._



OCCIDENT AND ORIENT.


  How will it dawn, the coming Christmas-day?
  A northern Christmas, such as painters love,
  And kinsfolk shaking hands but once a year,
  And dames who tell old legends by the fire?
  Red sun, blue sky, white snow, and pearléd ice,
  Keen ringing air, which sets the blood on fire,
  And makes the old man merry with the young
  Through the short sunshine, through the longer night?

  Or southern Christmas, dark and dank with mist,
  And heavy with the scent of steaming leaves,
  And rose-buds mouldering on the dripping porch;
  On twilight, without rise or set of sun,
  Till beetles drone along the hollow lane
  And round the leafless hawthorns, flitting bats
  Hawk the pale moths of winter? Welcome then,
  At best, the flying gleam, the flying shower,
  The rain-pools glittering on the long white roads,
  And shadows sweeping on from down to down
  Before the salt Atlantic gale! Yet come
  In whatsoever garb, or gay or sad,
  Come fair, come foul, 'twill still be Christmas-day.

  How will it dawn, the coming Christmas-day?
  To sailors lounging on the lonely deck
  Beneath the rushing trade-wind? or, to him
  Who by some noisome harbor of the east
  Watches swart arms roll down the precious bales,
  Spoils of the tropic forests; year by year
  Amid the din of heathen voices, groaning,
  Himself half heathen? How to those--brave hearts!
  Who toil with laden loins and sinking stride
  Beside the bitter wells of treeless sands
  Toward the peaks which flood the ancient Nile,
  To free a tyrant's captives? How to those--
  New patriarchs of the new-found under world--
  Who stand like Jacob, on the virgin lawns,
  And count their flocks' increase? To them that day
  Shall dawn in glory, and solstitial blaze
  Of full midsummer sun: to them that morn
  Gay flowers beneath their feet, gay birds aloft
  Shall tell of naught but summer; but to them,
  Ere yet, unwarned by carol or by chime,
  They spring into the saddle, thrills may come
  From that great heart of Christendom which beats
  Round all the worlds; and gracious thoughts of youth;
  Of steadfast folk, who worship God at home,
  Of wise words, learnt beside their mother's knee;
  Of innocent faces, upturned once again
  In awe and joy to listen to the tale
  Of God made man, and in a manger laid:
  May soften, purify, and raise the soul
  From selfish cares, and growing lust of gain
  And phantoms of this dream, which some call life,
  Toward eternal facts; for here or there
  Summer or winter, 'twill be Christmas-day.

  Blest day, which aye reminds us year by year
  What 'tis to be a man: to curb and spurn
  The tyrant in us: that ignobler self
  Which boasts, not loathes, its likeness to the brute,
  And owns no good save ease, no ill save pain,
  No purpose, save its share in that wild war
  In which, through countless ages, living things
  Compete in internecine greed--ah, God!
  Are we as creeping things, which have no Lord?
  That we are brutes, great God, we know too well:
  Apes daintier-featured; silly birds who flaunt
  Their plumes, unheeding of the fowler's step;
  Spiders who catch with paper, not with webs;
  Tigers who slay with cannon and sharp steel,
  Instead of teeth and claws; all these we are.
  Are we no more than these save in degree?
  No more than these; and born but to compete--
  To envy and devour, like beast or herb
  Mere fools of nature; puppets of strong lusts,
  Taking the sword to perish with the sword
  Upon the universal battle-field,
  Even as the things upon the moor outside?

  The heath eats up green grass and delicate flowers,
  The pine eats up the heath, the grub the pine,
  The finch the grub, the hawk the silly finch;
  And man, the mightiest of all beasts of prey,
  Eats what he lists;--the strong eat up the weak;
  The many eat the few; great nations, small;
  And he who cometh in the name of all
  Shall, greediest, triumph by the greed of all;
  And armed by his own victims, eat up all.
  While even out of the eternal heavens
  Looks patient down the great magnanimous God
  Who, Maker of all worlds, did sacrifice
  All to himself. Nay, but himself to one
  Who taught mankind on that first Christmas-day
  What 'twas to be a man: to give not take;
  To serve not rule; to nourish not devour;
  To help, not crush; if need, to die, not live.

  Oh, blessed day which givest the eternal lie
  To self and sense and all the brute within;
  Oh, come to us, amid this war of life,
  To hall and hovel, come, to all who toil
  In senate, shop, or study; and to those
  Who sundered by the wastes of half a world
  Ill warned, and sorely tempted, ever face
  Nature's brute powers and men unmanned to brutes,
  Come to them, blest and blessing, Christmas-day.
  Tell them once more the tale of Bethlehem,
  The kneeling shepherds and the Babe Divine,
  And keep them men indeed, fair Christmas-day.

                    _Charles Kingsley._



THE BLESSED DAY.


  Awake, my soul, and come away:
      Put on thy best array;
      Lest if thou longer stay
  Thou lose some minutes of so blest a day.
                    Go run
  And bid good-morrow to the sun;
  Welcome his safe return
                    To Capricorn,
      And that great morn
      Wherein a God was born,
      Whose story none can tell
  But He whose every word's a miracle.

  To-day Almightiness grew weak;
  The Word itself was mute and could not speak.

  That Jacob's star which made the sun
  To dazzle if he durst look on,
  Now mantled o'er in Bethlehem's night,
  Borrowed a star to show Him light!
  He that begirt each zone,
  To whom both poles are one,
  Who grasped the zodiac in His hand
  And made it move or stand,
  Is now by nature man,
  By stature but a span;
  Eternity is now grown short;
  A King is born without a court;
  The water thirsts; the fountain's dry;
  And life, being born, made apt to die.


  _Chorus._

  Then let our praises emulate and vie
    With His humility!
  Since He's exiled from skies
    That we might rise,--
      From low estate of men
      Let's sing Him up again!
      Each man wind up his heart
      To bear a part
  In that angelic choir and show
    His glory high as He was low.
  Let's sing towards men good-will and charity,
    Peace upon earth, glory to God on high!
            Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

                    _Jeremy Taylor._



CHRISTMAS IN CUBA.


  On the hill-side droops the palm,
    The air is faint with flowers,
  In the wondrous, dream-like calm
    Of tropical morning hours.
  Like a mirror lies the bay,
    And softly on its breast,
  In the glow of coming day,
    The vessels sway at rest.

  Through the tremulous air I hear
    The chiming of Christmas bells,
  As the sun rises burning and clear
    Over the ocean swells.
  And birds with singing sweet
    Proclaim the glorious morn
  When angels thronged to greet
    The Christ-child newly born.

  But with strong desire I sigh
    For a frozen land afar,
  Under a cold gray sky,
    Where glistens the northern star;
  Where a winter of rest and sleep
    Embraces mountain and plain,
  And meadows their secret keep
    To tell it in spring again.

  Dearer the pine-clad hills
    And valleys wrapped in snow,
  Dearer the ice-bound rills,
    And roaring winds that blow,
  Than this tropical calm, and perfume
    Of jasmine and lily and rose,
  These flowers that always bloom,
    This nature without repose.

  Alas for the delight
    Of a distant fireside,
  Where loving hearts unite
    To keep this Christmas-tide!
  Where the hemlock and the pine
    Sweet memories recall,
  As their fragrant boughs entwine
    Around the panelled wall.

  O Christ-child pure and fair,
    Draw near and dwell with me;
  Thy love is everywhere,
    On land and on the sea.
  I grasp Thy saving hand,
    And while to Thee I pray,
  Alone, in a foreign land,
    I bless this Christmas-day.

                    _Helen S. Conant._



FAREWELL TO CHRISTMAS.


  Now farewell, good Christmas,
    Adieu and adieu,
  I needs now must leave thee,
    And look for a new;
  For till thou returnest,
    I linger in pain,
  And I care not how quickly
    Thou comest again.

  But ere thou departest,
    I purpose to see
  What merry good pastime
    This day will show me;
  For a king of the wassail
    This night we must choose,
  Or else the old customs
    We carelessly lose.

  The wassail well spiced
    About shall go round,
  Though it cost my good master
    Best part of a pound:
  The maid in the buttery
    Stands ready to fill
  Her nappy good liquor
    With heart and good-will.

  And to welcome us kindly
    Our master stands by,
  And tells me in friendship
    One tooth is a-dry.
  Then let us accept it
    As lovingly, friends;
  And so for this Twelfth-day
    My carol here ends.

                    _New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1661._



THE NEW YEAR.


  Hark, the cock crows, and yon bright star
  Tells us the day himself's not far;
  And see where, breaking from the night,
  He gilds the western hills with light.
  With him old Janus doth appear,
  Peeping into the future year,
  With such a look, as seems to say,
  The prospect is not good that way.
  Thus do we rise ill sights to see,
  And 'gainst ourselves to prophesy;
  When the prophetic fear of things
  A more tormenting mischief brings,
  More full of soul-tormenting gall,
  Than direst mischiefs can befall.
  But stay! but stay! methinks my sight,
  Better inform'd by clearer light,
  Discerns sereneness in that brow,
  That all contracted seem'd but now.
  His reversed face may show distaste,
  And frown upon the ills are past;
  But that which this way looks is clear,
  And smiles upon the new-born year.

  He looks, too, from a place so high,
  The year lies open to his eye;
  And all the moments open are
  To the exact discoverer.
  Yet more and more he smiles upon
  The happy revolution.
  Why should we then suspect or fear
  The influences of a year,
  So smiles upon us the first morn,
  And speaks us good as soon as born?
  Plague on't! the last was ill enough,
  This cannot but make better proof;
  Or, at the worst, as we brush'd through
  The last, why so we may this too;
  And then the next in reason should
  Be superexcellently good:
  For the worst ills (we daily see)
  Have no more perpetuity
  Than the best fortunes that do fall;
  Which also bring us wherewithal
  Longer their being to support
  Than those do of the other sort;
  And who has one good year in three,
  And yet repines at destiny,
  Appears ungrateful in the case,
  And merits not the good he has.

  Then let us welcome the new guest
  With lusty brimmers of the best;
  Mirth always should good fortune meet,
  And render e'en disaster sweet;
  And though the princess turn her back,
  Let us but line ourselves with sack,
  We better shall by far hold out
  Till the next year she face about.

                    _Charles Cotton._



A HAPPY NEW YEAR.


  The old year now away is fled,
  The new year it is enteréd,
  Then let us now our sins down-tread
    And joyfully all appear.
  Let's merry be this holiday,
  And let us now both sport and play,
  Hang sorrow, let's cast care away:
    God send you a happy New Year!

  For Christ's circumcision this day we keep,
  Who for our sins did often weep;
  His hands and feet were wounded deep,
    And His blessed side with a spear.
  His head they crownéd then with thorn,
  And at Him they did laugh and scorn,
  Who for to save our souls was born:
    God send us a happy New Year!

  And now with New-Year's gifts each friend
  Unto each other they do send;
  God grant we may all our lives amend,
    And that the truth may appear.
  Now like the snake cast off your skin
  Of evil thoughts and wicked sin,
  And to amend this New Year begin:
    God send us a happy New Year!

  And now let all the company
  In friendly manner all agree,
  For we are here welcome, all may see,
    Unto this jolly good cheer.
  I thank my master and my dame,
  The which are founders of the same;
  To eat, to drink now is no shame:
    God send us a merry New Year!

  Come, lads and lasses every one,
  Jack, Tom, Dick, Bessy, Mary, and Joan,
  Let's cut the meat up unto the bone,
    For welcome you need not fear;
  And here for good liquor we shall not lack,
  It will whet my brains and strengthen my back;
  This jolly good cheer it must go to wrack:
    God send us a merry New Year!

  Come, give's more liquor when I do call,
  I'll drink to each one in this hall;
  I hope that so loud I must not bawl,
    But unto me lend an ear;
  Good fortune to my master send,
  And to my dame which is our friend,
  Lord bless us all, and so I end:
    God send us a happy New Year!

                    _New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1642._



NEW-YEAR'S GIFTS.


  The young men and maids on New-Year's day,
    Their loves they will present
  With many a gift both fine and gay,
    Which gives them true content:
  And though the gift be great or small,
    Yet this is the custom still,
  Expressing their loves in ribbons and gloves,
    It being their kind good-will.

  Young bachelors will not spare their coin,
    But thus their love is shown;
  Young Richard will buy a bodkin fine
    And give it honest Joan.
  There's Nancy and Sue with honest Prue,
    Young damsels both fair and gay,
  Will give to the men choice presents again
    For the honor of New-Year's day.

  Fine ruffs, cravats of curious lace,
    Maids give them fine and neat;
  For this the young men will them embrace
    With tender kisses sweet:
  And give them many pleasant toys
    To deck them fine and gay,
  As bodkins and rings with other fine things
    For the honor of New-Year's day.

  It being the first day of the year,
    To make the old amends,
  All those that have it will dress good cheer,
    Inviting all their friends
  To drink great James's royal health,
    As very well subjects may,
  With many healths more, which we have store,
    For the honor of New-Year's day.

                    _A Cabinet of Choice Jewels, A.D. 1688._



THE END OF THE PLAY.


  The play is done; the curtain drops,
    Slow falling to the prompter's bell;
  A moment yet the actor stops
    And looks around to say farewell.
  It is an irksome word and task;
    And, when he's laughed and said his say,
  He shows, as he removes the mask,
    A face that's anything but gay.

  One word ere yet the evening ends;
    Let's close it with a parting rhyme,
  And pledge a hand to all young friends,
    As fits the merry Christmas-time.
  On life's wide scene you, too, have parts,
    That fate erelong shall bid you play;
  Good-night! with honest, gentle hearts
    A kindly greeting go alway.

  Come wealth or want, come good or ill,
    Let young and old accept their part,
  And bow before the Awful Will,
    And bear it with an honest heart.
  Who misses or who wins the prize,
    Go, lose or conquer as you can;
  But if you fail, or if you rise,
    Be each, pray God, a gentleman.

  A gentleman, or old or young!
    (Bear kindly with my humble lays);
  The sacred chorus first was sung
    Upon the first of Christmas days;
  The shepherds heard it overhead,
    The joyful angels raised it then;
  Glory to heaven on high, it said,
    And peace on earth to gentle men.

  My song, save this, is little worth;
    I lay the weary pen aside,
  And wish you health, and love, and mirth,
    As fits the solemn Christmas-tide.
  As fits the holy Christmas birth,
    Be this, good friends, our carol still--
  Be peace on earth, be peace on earth,
    To men of gentle will.

                    _William Makepeace Thackeray._



FINIS.


  Yule's come and Yule's gane,
    And we have feasted weel;
  Sae Jock mun to his flail again.
    And Jenny to her wheel.


Transcriber's Notes:

A number of the poems contain archaic and varied spelling. This has
been left as printed, with the exception of the following few printer
errors:

Page 84--plater'd amended to plaster'd--"And plaster'd round with
amber."

Page 86--tyran's amended to tyrant's--"The tyrant's sword with blood
is all defiled,"

Page 89--wind-winter amended to mid-winter--"In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago."

Page 204--Iæan amended to Idæan--"They say, was nourisht by th' Idæan
Mayd;"

Page 207--ore clamMorous amended to More clamorous--"More clamorous;
and through the frosted air,"

The frontispiece illustrations has been moved to follow the title
page. Captions have been added from the List of Illustrations.





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