Words: John Bridgeman
Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).
Once more the rapid. fleeting year
Has brought old Christmas to the door;
Come, let us treat him with such cheer
As folks were wont in days of yore,
When burgher grave, and belted knight,
And cottage maid, and lady fair,
Obeyed the old familiar sprite,
And, at his bidding, banished Care —
That sullen, surly, melancholy wight.
Let's hang from beams all black with time,
The mistletoe's insidious bough,
'Neath which, as ittle birds with lime,
Young girls are snared, "they know not how —
The horrid thing — they never thought
If half so near — for if they had,
'T is certain they had not been caught —
Old that rely — it was too bad,
And not at all behaving as one ought."
Upon the hearth pile up the fire,
And, that it may burn clear and bright,
Cast in it every base desire,
All envy, hatred, vengeance, spite;
Believe me, the event will show
By acting in this way you'll gain —
For you will feel a genial glow
Dance through each gladly-swelling vein,
And onwards to your very heart's core go.
Bring, too, the sparkling wassail bowl,
That Jolly Christmas holds so dear,
And if you'd have it warm your soul —
The mind as well as body cheer —
Amid the wine and spirit pour
The blessings from some humble roof;
A little charity is sure
To call them forth: in sober truth,
They'll give the draught one matchless flavour more.
And you, fair Sovereign of this isle,
Who love to deck the Christmas tree,
So that the massy, regal pile
Resound with mirth and jollity,
Remember that the stem with new
Strength thrives, if pruned with careful hand;
Then trim your Christmas sapling, too,
And to the poor throughout the land
Send of the shoots thus lopped away a few.
Artwork by John A. Hows from Christmas In Art And Song. New York: The Arundel Printing and Publishing Company, 1879.