Poems from “Hesperides” of Robert Herrick
Source: William Henry Husk, Songs of the Nativity (London: John Camden Hotten, 1868)
The following series of short poems illustrative of old Christmas customs and superstitions is selected from the “Hesperides” of Robert Herrick (1591-1674), first published in 1648. Few writers have been so thoroughly conversant with the popular superstitions of their time, or have so pleasantly interwoven them into their poetry, as Herrick; hence his verses have a life-like character and charm which leads captive every reader.
On Christmas Eve (Come Bring The Noise)
On Christmas Eve (Come, Guard This Night)
Twelfth Night, or King and Queen (Now, Now, The Mirth Comes)
Saint Distaff's Day (Partly Work and Partly Play)
Candlemas Eve (Down With The Rosemary, And So)
Candlemas Day (Kindle The Christmas Brand)
Other Herrick poetry relating to the Christmas-tide:
A Christmas Carol (being A Christmas Carol, Sung To The King In The Presence At Whitehall) (First Line: "What sweeter music can we bring")
A New Year's Gift (Sent To Sir Simeon Steward) (First Line: "No news of navies burnt at seas")
An Ode of the Birth of our Savior (First Line: "In numbers, and but these few")
Ceremonies For Christmas (From Bullen: Another To The Maids and Another)
Give Way, Give Way, Ye Gates, And Win (A Wassail)
Tell Us, Thou Cleere And Heavenly Tongue (Also known as The Star Song, or A Carol To The King Sung At Whitehall)
And, from Project Gutenberg, The Lyrical Poems Of Robert Herrick, which contain most of the above among the 261 entries.
There is also this two-line entry titled Christ's Birth:
One birth our Saviour had; the like none yet
Was, or will be a second like to it.
January 6 - Epiphany - William Hone, The Every Day Book (2 Volumes, 1825 & 1827)
Twelfth Day Ceremonies - William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient And Modern (1833)
Twelfth Day - John Brand, Popular Antiquities Of Great Britain (Hazlitt's Edition of 1905)
For more poetry by Robert Herrick, please see The Works of Robert Herrick by Anniina Jokinen. This site also has a short biography of Herrick.
Christmas Poetry by Robert Herrick
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