The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Old Christmas

Words: John Bridgeman

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

Once more the rapid. fleeting year
    Has brought old Christmas to the door;
Come, let us treat him with such cheer
    As folks were wont in days of yore,
When burgher grave, and belted knight,
    And cottage maid, and lady fair,
Obeyed the old familiar sprite,
    And, at his bidding, banished Care
That sullen, surly, melancholy wight.

Let's hang from beams all black with time,
    The mistletoe's insidious bough,
'Neath which, as ittle birds with lime,
    Young girls are snared, "they know not how
The horrid thing they never thought
    If half so near for if they had,
'T is certain they had not been caught
    Old that rely it was too bad,
And not at all behaving as one ought."

Upon the hearth pile up the fire,
    And, that it may burn clear and bright,
Cast in it every base desire,
    All envy, hatred, vengeance, spite;
Believe me, the event will show
    By acting in this way you'll gain
For you will feel a genial glow
    Dance through each gladly-swelling vein,
And onwards to your very heart's core go.

Bring, too, the sparkling wassail bowl,
    That Jolly Christmas holds so dear,
And if you'd have it warm your soul
    The mind as well as body cheer
Amid the wine and spirit pour
    The blessings from some humble roof;
A little charity is sure
    To call them forth: in sober truth,
They'll give the draught one matchless flavour more.

And you, fair Sovereign of this isle,
    Who love to deck the Christmas tree,
So that the massy, regal pile
    Resound with mirth and jollity,
Remember that the stem with new
    Strength thrives, if pruned with careful hand;
Then trim your Christmas sapling, too,
    And to the poor throughout the land
Send of the shoots thus lopped away a few.

Artwork by John A. Hows from Christmas In Art And Song. New York: The Arundel Printing and Publishing Company, 1879.

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