The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

At The Sign Of The Christmas Tree

Pauline Frances Clamp
St. Nicholas Magazine, c. 1908

Ho, for the ancient hostelry,
Whose generous doors swing wide and free!
Whose guests, when the first snow crystals fall,
Gather within its spacious hall
From north and from south, and from west to east,
Big folks down to the very least,
Thronging, far as the eye can see,
To lodge at The Sign of the Christmas Tree.

The guests are known by their curious wiles,
Mysterious nods, and becks, and smiles;
There are secrets flying about by scores,
Smothered laughs behind fast-closed doors;
There's a noise of hammers, and tink of bells,
And whispered "Hushes," and soft "Don't tells."
Oh, a wonderful place for mystery
In the ancient Inn of the Christmas Tree!

There guests sit apart, and stitch and sew
On woven linen as white as snow;
Flowers bloom bright on silken fields,
And fresh surprises each moment yields.
And the room where they sit is like a dream,
Where scarlet berries of holly gleam;
And over the lintel, in gold, is wrought
Its beautiful name of "Loving Thought."

And Peggy, and Polly, and Pete, and Prue,
With a dear little girl that looks like you,
A red-haired lass, and a blue-eyed lad,
Grandmother dear, and Mother, and Dad,
And hundreds of others all over the land,
Are working away with heart and hand,
Snipping and clipping, where none may see,
At the Merry Sign of the Christmas Tree.

But oh, dear people who long have been
Guests 'neath the roof of this pleasant inn,
Bethink, there are those who do not belong
To the work and fun, to the cheer and song!
Empty-handed and wistful-eyed,
They are out in the cold this Christmas-tide.
Tie up your parcels with ribbon gay;
Sprig them with green in the good old way;
Then, from your riches, where need is seen
Fill up the lives that are bare and lean.
So shall a gracious blessing be
Called down on The Sign of the Christmas Tree.

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