The Hymns and Carols of Christmas


C. C. Cox

Harper's Weekly, December 26, 1857, Page 824

In the good old times of England,
    The merry times of yore,
Our fathers kept the Christmas feast
    A dozen days or more:
A spacious hall of ashlet work
    Was hung with evergreen,
The mistletoe from the old oak-tree,
    And the holly there were seen.

A table in the midst was spread --
    A table long and wise --
An ancient knight and ladye fair
    Were seated side by side;
The door upon its hinges swung
    For tenant and for lord,
And sparkling eyes and ruddy cheeks
    Were ranged around the board.

The feast was in profusion spread,
    Enough for all to eat;
Hot furmenty for breakfast smoked,
    Of milk and husked wheat;
Roast beef and goose and pudding
    Made up the dinner cheer;
And every body finished off
    With flagons of good beer.

And in the tall old chimney-place
    (glowing heard between)
The young folks, cracking nuts and jokes,
    On seats of stone were seen;
And thus, relates the chronicle,
    The sons and daughters fair
Made up their matches all at home,
    Nor went away to pair.

The trees bent low with glittering snow,
    The frost was on the pane,
The winds held carnival abroad
    In every forest-lane;
But while stern winter raged without,
    'Twas summer in the hall
Where met our glorious ancestors
    To keep the festival.

A health, then, to the good old times,
    Of tenant, page, and squire,
Of massive hall, and groaning board,
    And blazing Christmas fire;
When youthful hearts had naught of care,
    And happy age grew green,
And gallant knights and maidens fair
    O'er all the land were seen!

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