The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Time

Words: Eliza Cook (1818-1889)

Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).

    When the Merry spring-time weaves
    Its peeping bloom and dewy leaves;
    When the primrose opens its eye,
    And the young moth flutters by;
    When the plaintive turtle-dove
    Pours its notes of peace and love
And the clear sun flings its glory bright and wide
    Yet my soul will own
    More joy in winter's frown,
And wake with warmer flush at Christmas tide.

    The summer beams may shine
    On the rich and curling vine,
    And the noontide rays light up
    The tulip's dazzling cup;
    But the pearly mistletoe,
    And the holly berries glow,
And not even by the boasted rose outvied;
    For the happy hearts beneath
    The green and coral wreath
Love the garlands that are twined at Christmas tide.

    Let the autumn days produce
    Yellow corn and purple juice,
    And Nature's feast be spread
    In the fruitage ripe and red;
    'T is grateful to behold
    Gushing grapes, and fields of gold,
When cheeks are browned, and red lips deeper dyed;
    But give, oh! give to me,
    The winter night of glee,
The mirth and plenty seen at Christmas tide.

    The northern gust may howl,
    The rolling storm-cloud scowl,
    King Frost may make a slave
    Of the river's rapid wave;
    The snow-drift choke the path,
    Or the hail-shower spend its wrath,
But the sternest blast right bravely is defied,
    While limbs and spirits bound
    To the merry minstrel sound,
And social wood-fires blaze at Christmas tide.

    The song, the laugh, the shout,
    Shall mock the storm without;
    And sparkling wine-foam rise
    'Neath still more sparkling eyes;
    The forms that scarcely meet
    Then hand to hand shall greet,
And soul pledge soul that leagues too long divide.
    Mirth, friendship, love, and light,
    Shall crown the winter night,
And every glad voice welcome Christmas tide.

    But while joy's echo falls
    In gay and plenteous halls,
    Let the poor and lowly share
    The warmth, the sports, the fare;
    For the one of humble lot
    Must not shiver in his cot,
But claim a bounteous meed from wealth and pride.
    Shed kindly blessings round,
    Till no aching heart be found,
And then all hail to merry Christmas tide!

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