The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Christmas Holly

Words: Eliza Cook (1818-1889)

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

The holly! the holly! oh, twine it with bay
    Come give the holly a song;
For it helps to drive stern winter away,
    With his garment so sombre and long;   
It peeps through the trees with its berries of red,
    And its leaves of burnished green,
When the flowers and fruits have long been dead,
    And not even the daisy is seen.

Then sing to the holly, the Christmas holly,
    That hangs over peasant and king;
While we laugh and carouse 'neath its glittering boughs,
    To the Christmas holly we'll sing.

The gale may whistle, the frost may come
    To fetter the gurgling rill;
The woods may be bare, and warblers dumb,
    But holly is beautiful still.
In the revel and light of princely halls
    The bright holly branch is found;
And its shadow falls on the lowliest walls,
    While the brimming horn goes round.

Then sing to the holly, the Christmas holly,
    That hangs over peasant and king;
While we laugh and carouse 'neath its glittering boughs,
    To the Christmas holly we'll sing.

The ivy lives long, but its home must be
    Where graves and ruins are spread;
There's beauty about the cypress tree,
    But it flourishes near the dead;
The laurel the warrior's brow may wreathe,
    But it tells of tears and blood;
I sing the holly, and who can breathe
    Aught of that that is not good?

Then sing to the holly, the Christmas holly,
    That hangs over peasant and king;
While we laugh and carouse 'neath its glittering boughs,
    To the Christmas holly we'll sing.

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