The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Story Of The Holly Sprig

Arthur Upson
From St. Nicholas Magazine, c. 1907

"I'd be the shiniest green,"
    Wished once a sprig of holly,
"That e'er at Yule was seen,
    And deck some banquet jolly!"

"I'd be the cheeriest red,"
    Wished once the holly-berry,
"That e'er at board rich spread
    Helped make the feasters merry!"

The life within them heard
    Down dark and silent courses.
For each wish is a word
    To those fair-hidden sources.

All Summer in the wood
    While they were riper growing,
The deep roots understood
    And helped without their knowing.

In a little market stall
    At Yule the sprig lay waiting,
For fine folk one and all
    Passed by that open grating.

The Eve of Christmas Day
    It had been passed by many,
When one turned not away
    And bought it for a penny.

Hers was a home of care
    Which not a wreath made jolly;
The only Christmas there
    Was that sweet sprig of holly.

"Oh, this is better far
    Than banquet!" thought the berry;
The leaves glowed like a star
    And made the cottage merry!

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