The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Christmas Ball

Suggested By A Picture

Margaret Elizabeth Munson Sangster (1838 - 1912)
A.K.A. Mrs. Gerrit Van Deth

1. Scintillant stars in the sky's blue height,
Frost in the breath of the keen, cold night,
Ice that rings to the skater's heel,
River and lake as firm as steel;
Steeds that with flying feet keep time
To the merry, merry sleigh-bells' chime;
A world of music, a world of snow,
A world of fun, and away they go,
Beautiful, courtly, brave, and bright,—
Maiden, matron, squire, and knight,
Bloom of the cottage, and pride of the hall,
To dance till dawn at the Christmas Ball.

2. Splendid the rooms in vista seen,
Wreathed with the wealth of the evergreen.
Spice of the forest, exquisite, fine,
Floats aromatic from cedar and pine.
Glossy the white of the mistletoe,
And the holly is vivid in scarlet show.
Floods of the mellowest lustre fall
From bowery ceiling and garlanded wall.
Floors are smooth to the tripping feet,
Blithe hearts thrill with a quicker beat,
As resonant voices the measures call,
And the glad hours flit at the Christmas Ball.

3. Gray old fiddler with solemn face,
Wielding the bow with a master's grace,
Harper, whose notes drop liquid sweet,
As the sound of a brooklet's tinkling feet,
You 're weaving in with the jocund tunes
Harmonies blissful and magic runes;
For eyes meet eyes in electric glance
As the figures change in the mazy dance.
There are whispered questions and soft replies,
There is shy surrender to love's surprise,
And by and by there 'll be priest and ring,
And the wedding march, and the hearts that cling,
Semper fidelis, whate'er befall,
Pledged this eve at the Christmas Ball.

4. Seventeen-eighty! A hundred years
Have sped, with their mingled smiles and tears,
Since these ladies rustled in stiff brocade,
These gentlemen bowed, and these pipers played.
"Promenade all," and the century's past,
We're rounding the hundredth year at last.
The fair and brave of that vanished day
Like shadows and dreams have gone their way.
The young grew old, and the gay grew tired,
Till nothing so much their thoughts desired
As a tranquil place to lie down and sleep,
Where the bed was low and the rest was deep.
The pearls, the rubies, the yellow lace,
Descended oft, with a lovely face,
To some bright girl who was proud of all
That grandma had worn at her Christmas Ball.

5. And ever at Christmas the joy-bells ring,
The tapers shine and the children sing;
Ever at Christmas the tidal mirth
Sweeps in its fulness over the earth.
Roses and lilies the century through
Make summer at Christmas when love is true—
The dear new love that is pure as gold,
The strong, tried love that is dear as old.
Oh, swift steeds bound o'er the powdery snow,
Oh, blithe hearts beat as away we go.
Eighteen-eighty! The sweet notes fall,
And the dancers meet at the Christmas Ball.

Note: Scintillant is defined as having brief brilliant points or flashes of light. Source: Online Dictionary.

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