The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The First Christmas Without My Mother

For Christmas

Words: Right Rev. George Washington Doane

Source: William Croswell Doane, ed., Songs by the Way
The Poetical Writings of the Right Rev. George Washington Doane, D.D., LL.D.
New York: D. Appleton, 1860.

SWEET Mother, eight and fifty years,
     Thy Christmas blessings crowned my brow;
Thy seat is vacant, by my side;
     And Christmas comes, without thee, now.

A shadow creeps, across my hearth;
     The cypress twines the holly-bough;
I cannot frame the Christmas phrase:
     For Christmas comes, without thee, now.

Along the line of threescore years,
     In gifts and prayers, like tracks in snow,
I trace thy ever-living love:
     But Christmas comes, without thee, now.

And yet, sweet Mother, though the thought
     Will choke and tear, my bursting breast;
And tears o'ercast this joyous day;
     I would not call thee, from thy rest.

Safe in the Paradise of God,
     Thy home is with the holy dead;
Where Christmas boughs are ever green;
     And the Christ-feast is always spread.

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