IN THE YULE-LOG GLOW
CHRISTMAS POEMS FROM 'ROUND THE WORLD
"Sic as folk tell ower at a winter ingle" Scott
EDITED BY HARRISON S. MORRIS
IN FOUR BOOKS Book IV.
PHILADELPHIA J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 1900.
Copyright, 1891, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.
PRINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA.
ILLUSTRATIONS, BOOK IV.
CHRISTMAS WEATHER Frontispiece.
"WHAT CAN I GIVE HIM?" Page 90
THE SEASON'S REVERIES " 174
"TOO HAPPY, HAPPY TREE" " 212
CONTENTS OF BOOK IV.
SUNG UNDER THE WINDOW. PAGE
Who's There? 9
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen 10
Welcome Yule 12
Angel Heralds 14
The Matchless Maiden 15
Remember, O Thou Man 16
The Singers in the Snow 19
A Christmas Chorus 21
Three Ships 22
Jacob's Ladder 24
Saint Stephen, the Clerk 26
The Carnal and the Crane 29
The Holy Well 35
The Holly and the Ivy 38
The Contest of the Vines 39
Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ 41
Christmas Minstrelsy 43
The Old, Old Story 47
A Christmas Ballad 49
A French Noel[A] 52
Masters, in this Hall 54
THE WORSHIP OF THE BABE.
To His Saviour, a Child; a Present, by a Child 59
Honor to the King 60
New Prince, New Pomp 62
Of the Epiphany 64
A Hymn for the Epiphany 66
A Hymn on the Nativity of My Saviour 68
At Christmas 70
New Heaven, New War 72
For Christmas Day 73
Sung to the King in the Presence at Whitehall 75
And They Laid Him in a Manger 77
The Burning Babe 79
Christ's Nativity 81
An Ode on the Birth of Our Saviour 83
Who Can Forget? 85
The Child Jesus 87
Long Ago 89
Star of Bethlehem 91
No Room 92
On Christmas Day 94
The Heavenly Choir 96
Invitation a Faire Noel 105
A Thanksgiving 107
Around the Wassail-Bowl 108
From Door to Door 111
Wassailing Carol 113
A Carol at the Gates 116
Wandering Wassailers 118
Bring Us in Good Ale 120
About the Board 122
Before the Feast 123
A Bill of Christmas Fare 125
The Mahogany-Tree 126
A Christmas Ceremony 129
With Cakes and Ale 129
The Masque of Christmas 130
A Visit from St. Nicholas 145
The Hard Times in Elfland[B] 148
Old Christmas 156
Mrs. Santa Claus 158
Santa Claus to Little Ethel 163
THE SEASON'S REVERIES.
Guests at Yule 169
Christmas in India 171
Christmas Violets 174
Dickens Returns on Christmas Day 175
A Grief at Christmas 176
My Sister's Sleep 183
Christmas in Edinborough. I. 186
Christmas in Edinborough. II. 187
Around the Christmas Lamp 188
Christmas Eve 189
Aunt Mary 193
The Glad New Day 195
Under the Holly Bough 196
The Dawn of Christmas 198
Ballade of Christmas Ghosts 200
The Village Christmas 202
Christmas Weather in Scotland 205
Sir Galahad 212
A Thought for the Time 213
Ballade of the Winter Fireside 214
A Catch by the Hearth 216
Sally in Our Alley 217
Little Mother 218
Occident and Orient 220
The Blessed Day 225
Christmas in Cuba[C] 227
Farewell to Christmas 229
The New Year 231
A Happy New Year 234
New-Year's Gifts 236
The End of the Play 238
[A] By the courtesy of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
[B] By the courtesy of Messrs. Charles Scribners' Sons.
[C] By the courtesy of Messrs. Harper & Bros.
Sung Under The Window.
"This carol they began that hour With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino!"
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell, Who ys there that syngith so, nowell, nowell, nowell?
I am here, syre Christmasse! Well come, my lord syre Christmasse, Welcome to us all, bothe more and lesse, Come nere, nowell!
Dieu vous garde, beau syre, tydinges you bryng: A mayd hath born a chylde full yong, The weche causeth yew for to syng, Nowell!
Criste is now born of a pure mayde, In an oxe stalle he ys layde, Wher'for syng we alle atte abrayde Nowell!
Bebbex bien par tutte la company, Make gode chere and be right mery, And syng with us now joyfully, Nowell!
GOD REST YOU MERRY, GENTLEMEN.
God rest you merry, gentlemen, Let nothing you dismay, For Jesus Christ our Saviour Was born upon this day To save us all from Satan's power When we were gone astray. O tidings of comfort and joy, For Jesus Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day.
In Bethlehem in Jewry This blessed babe was born, And laid within a manger Upon this blessed morn; The which His mother Mary Nothing did take in scorn. O tidings, etc.
From God our Heavenly Father A blessed angel came, And unto certain shepherds Brought tidings of the same, How that in Bethlehem was born The Son of God by name. O tidings, etc.
Fear not, then said the angel, Let nothing you affright, This day is born a Saviour Of virtue, power, and might; So frequently to vanquish all The friends of Satan quite. O tidings, etc.
The shepherds at those tidings Rejoiced much in mind, And left their flocks a-feeding In tempest, storm, and wind, And went to Bethlehem straightway This blessed babe to find. O tidings, etc.
But when to Bethlehem they came, Whereat this infant lay, They found Him in a manger Where oxen feed on hay; His mother Mary kneeling Unto the Lord did pray. O tidings, etc.
Now to the Lord sing praises, All you within this place, And with true love and brotherhood Each other now embrace; This holy tide of Christmas All others doth deface. O tidings, etc.
Welcome Yule, thou merry man, In worship of this holy day.
Welcome be thou, heaven-king, Welcome born in one morning, Welcome for whom we shall sing, Welcome Yule.
Welcome be ye, Stephen and John, Welcome Innocents, every one, Welcome Thomas Martyr one, Welcome Yule.
Welcome be ye, good New Year, Welcome Twelfth Day, both in fere,[D] Welcome saintes lef[E] and dear, Welcome Yule.
Welcome be ye, Candlemas, Welcome be ye, Queen of Bliss, Welcome both to more and less, Welcome Yule.
Welcome be ye that are here, Welcome all and make good cheer; Welcome all, another year, Welcome Yule.
Ritson's Ancient Songs.
As Joseph was a-walking, He heard an angel sing: "This night shall be born Our Heavenly King;
"He neither shall be born In housen nor in hall, Nor in the place of Paradise, But in an ox's stall;
"He neither shall be clothed In purple nor in pall, But all in fair linen, As we were babies all.
"He neither shall be rocked In silver nor in gold, But in a wooden cradle That rocks on the mould.
"He neither shall be christened In white wine nor in red, But with fair spring-water With which we were christened."
THE MATCHLESS MAIDEN.
I sing of a maiden That is makeless;[F] King of all kings To her son she ches;[G]
He came also[H] still There His mother was, As dew in April That falleth on the grass.
He came also still To His mother's bower, As dew in April That falleth on the flower.
He came also still There His mother lay, As dew in April That falleth on the spray.
Mother and maiden Was never none but she; Well may such a lady God's mother be.
Wright's Songs and Carols.
REMEMBER, O THOU MAN.
Remember, O thou Man, O thou Man, O thou Man; Remember, O thou Man, Thy time is spent. Remember, O thou Man, How thou earnest to me then, And I did what I can, Therefore repent.
Remember Adam's fall, O thou Man, O thou Man; Remember Adam's fall From Heaven to Hell. Remember Adam's fall, How we were condemned all To Hell perpetual, There for to dwell.
Remember God's goodness, O thou Man, O thou Man; Remember God's goodness And promise made. Remember God's goodness, How His only Son He sent Our sins for to redress, Be not afraid.
The Angels all did sing, O thou Man, O thou Man; The Angels all did sing On Sion hill. The Angels all did sing Praises to our heavenly king, And peace to man living, With right good-will.
The Shepherds amazed was, O thou Man, O thou Man; The Shepherds amazed was To hear the angels sing. The Shepherds amazed was How this should come to pass, That Christ our Messias Should be our King.
To Bethlehem did they go, O thou Man, O thou Man; To Bethlehem did they go This thing to see. To Bethlehem did they go To see whether it was so, Whether Christ was born or no, To set us free.
As the Angels before did say, O thou Man, O thou Man; As the Angels before did say, So it came to pass. As the Angels before did say, They found Him wrapt in hay In a manger where He lay, So poor He was.
In Bethlehem was He born, O thou Man, O thou Man; In Bethlehem was He born For mankind dear. In Bethlehem was He born For us that were forlorn, And therefore took no scorn Our sins to bear.
In a manger laid He was, O thou Man, O thou Man; In a manger laid He was At this time present. In a manger laid He was Between an ox and an ass, And all for our trespass, Therefore repent.
Give thanks to God always, O thou Man, O thou Man; Give thanks to God always With hearts most jolly. Give thanks to God always Upon this blessed day, Let all men sing and say, Holy, Holy.
Ravenscroft's Melismata, A.D. 1611.
THE SINGERS IN THE SNOW.
God bless the master of this house And all that are therein, And to begin this Christmas tide With mirth now let us sing. For the Saviour of all people Upon this time was born, Who did from death deliver us. When we were left forlorn.
Then let us all most merry be, And sing with cheerful voice, For we have good occasion now This time for to rejoice. For, etc.
Then put away contention all, And fall no more at strife, Let every man with cheerfulness Embrace his loving wife. For, etc.
With plenteous food your houses store, Provide some wholesome cheer, And call your friends together That live both far and near. For, etc.
Then let us all most merry be, Since that we are come here, And we do hope before we part To taste some of your beer. For, etc.
Your beer, your beer, your Christmas beer, That seems to be so strong; And we do wish that Christmas-tide Was twenty times so long. For, etc.
Then sing with voices cheerfully, For Christ this time was born, Who did from death deliver us, When we were left forlorn. For, etc.
A CHRISTMAS CHORUS.
Here is joy for every age— Every generation; Prince and peasant, chief and sage, Every tongue and nation, Every tongue and nation, Every rank and station, Hath to-day salvation. Alleluia!
When the world drew near its close, Came our Lord and leader; From the lily came the rose, From the bush the cedar, From the bush the cedar, From the judge the pleader, From the saint the feeder. Alleluia!
God, that came on earth this morn, In a manger lying, Hallow'd birth by being born, Vanquished death by dying, Vanquished death by dying, Rallied back the flying, Ended sin and sighing. Alleluia!
I saw three ships come sailing in, On Christmas day, on Christmas day; I saw three ships come sailing in, On Christmas day in the morning.
And what was in those ships all three, On Christmas day, on Christmas day? And what was in those ships all three, On Christmas day in the morning?
Our Saviour Christ and His lady, On Christmas day, on Christmas day; Our Saviour Christ and His lady, On Christmas day in the morning.
Pray whither sailed those ships all three, On Christmas day, on Christmas day? Pray whither sailed those ships all three, On Christmas day in the morning?
O they sailed into Bethlehem, On Christmas day, on Christmas day, O they sailed into Bethlehem, On Christmas day in the morning.
And all the bells on earth shall ring, On Christmas day, on Christmas day; And all the bells on earth shall ring, On Christmas day in the morning.
And all the angels in heaven shall sing, On Christmas day, on Christmas day; And all the angels in heaven shall sing, On Christmas day in the morning.
And all the souls on earth shall sing, On Christmas day, on Christmas day; And all the souls on earth shall sing, On Christmas day in the morning.
Then let us all rejoice amain, On Christmas day, on Christmas day; Then let us all rejoice amain, On Christmas day in the morning.
As Jacob with travel was weary one day, At night on a stone for a pillow he lay; He saw in a vision a ladder so high That its foot was on earth and its top in the sky. Hallelujah to Jesus, who died on the tree, And hath rais'd up a ladder of mercy for me.
This ladder is high, it is strong and well made, Hath stood hundreds of years and is not yet decayed; Many millions have climbed it and reached Zion's hill, And thousands, by faith, are climbing it still. Hallelujah, etc.
Come, let us ascend, all may climb it who will, For the angels of Jacob are guarding it still; And remember each step that by faith we pass o'er, Some prophet or martyr hath trod it before. Hallelujah, etc.
And when we arrive at the haven of rest, We shall hear the glad word: Come up hither, ye blest! Here are regions of light, here are mansions of bliss, Oh, who would not climb such a ladder as this? Hallelujah, etc.
SAINT STEPHEN, THE CLERK.
Saint Stephen was a clerk In King Herod's hall, And served him of bread and cloth As ever king befall.
Stephen out of kitchen came With boar's head on hand, He saw a star was fair and bright Over Bethlehem stand.
He kist adown the boar's head And went into the hall: "I forsake thee, King Herod, And thy workes all.
"I forsake thee, King Herod, And thy workes all; There is a child in Bethlehem born Is better than we all."
"What aileth thee, Stephen? What is thee befall? Lacketh thee either meat or drink In King Herod's hall?"
"Lacketh me neither meat ne drink In King Herod's hall; There is a child in Bethlehem born Is better than we all."
"What aileth thee, Stephen? Art thou wode,[I] or thou ginnest to breed?[J] Lacketh thee either gold or fee, Or any rich weed?"[K]
"Lacketh me neither gold nor fee, Ne none rich weed; There is a child in Bethlehem born Shall helpen us at our need."
"That is also sooth,[L] Stephen, Also sooth i-wis As this capon crowe shall That lieth here in my dish."
That word was not so soon said, That word in that hall, The capon crew Christus natus est Among the lordes all.
"Riseth up, my tormentors, By two and all by one, And leadeth Stephen out of this town, And stoneth him with stone."
Tooken they Stephen And stoned him in the way, And therefore is his even On Christes own day.
[L] As true.
THE CARNAL AND THE CRANE.
As I pass'd by a riverside, And there as I did reign,[M] In argument I chanced to hear A Carnal[N] and a Crane.
The Carnal said unto the Crane, If all the world should turn, Before we had the Father, But now we have the Son!
From whence does the Son come? From where and from what place? He said, In a manger, Between an ox and ass!
I pray thee, said the Carnal, Tell me before thou go, Was not the mother of Jesus Conceived by the Holy Ghost?
She was the purest Virgin, And the cleanest from sin; She was the handmaid of our Lord, And mother of our King.
Where is the golden cradle That Christ was rocked in? Where are the silken sheets That Jesus was wrapt in?
A manger was the cradle That Christ was rocked in; The provender the asses left So sweetly He slept on.
There was a star in the West-land, So bright did it appear Into King Herod's chamber, And where King Herod were.
The Wise Men soon espied it, And told the king on high, A princely babe was born that night No king could e'er destroy.
If this be true, King Herod said, As thou tellest unto me, This roasted cock that lies in the dish Shall crow full fences[O] three.
The cock soon freshly feathered was By the work of God's own hand, And then three fences crowed he In the dish where he did stand.
Rise up, rise up, you merry men all, See that you ready be, All children under two years old Now slain they all shall be.
Then Jesus, ah! and Joseph, And Mary that was so pure, They travelled into Egypt, As you shall find it sure.
And when they came to Egypt's land, Amongst those fierce wild beasts, Mary, she being weary, Must needs sit down to rest.
Come sit thee down, says Jesus, Come sit thee down by me, And thou shalt see how these wild beasts Do come and worship me.
First came the lovely lion, Which Jesu's grace did spring, And of the wild beasts in the field, The lion shall be the king.
We'll choose our virtuous princes, Of birth and high degree, In every sundry nation, Where'er we come and see.
Then Jesus, ah! and Joseph, And Mary, that was unknown, They travelled by a husbandman, Just while his seed was sown.
God speed thee, man! said Jesus, Go fetch thy ox and wain, And carry home thy corn again Which thou this day hast sown.
The husbandman fell on his knees, Even before his face; Long time hast Thou been looked for, But now Thou art come at last.
And I myself do now believe Thy name is Jesus called; Redeemer of mankind Thou art, Though undeserving all.
The truth, man, thou hast spoken, Of it thou may'st be sure, For I must lose my precious blood For thee and thousands more.
If any one should come this way, And inquire for me alone, Tell them that Jesus passed by, As thou thy seed did sow.
After that there came King Herod, With his train so furiously, Inquiring of the husbandman, Whether Jesus passed by.
Why, the truth it must be spoke, And the truth it must be known, For Jesus passed by this way When my seed was sown.
But now I have it reapen, And some laid on my wain, Ready to fetch and carry Into my barn again.
Turn back, says the captain, Your labor and mine's in vain, It's full three-quarters of a year Since he his seed sown.
So Herod was deceived By the work of God's own hand, And further he proceeded Into the Holy Land.
There's thousands of children young, Which for His sake did die; Do not forbid those little ones, And do not them deny.
The truth now I have spoken, And the truth now I have shown, Even the blessed Virgin, She's now brought forth a Son.
THE HOLY WELL.
As it fell out one May morning, And upon one bright holiday, Sweet Jesus asked of His dear mother, If He might go to play.
To play, to play, sweet Jesus shall go, And to play pray get you gone; And let me hear of no complaint At night when you come home.
Sweet Jesus went down to yonder town As far as the Holy Well, And there did see as fine children As any tongue can tell.
He said, God bless you every one, And your bodies Christ save and see: Little children, shall I play with you, And you shall play with me?
But they made answer to Him, No: They were lords' and ladies' sons; And He, the meanest of them all, Was but a maiden's child, born in an ox's stall.
Sweet Jesus turned Him around, And He neither laughed nor smiled, But the tears came trickling from His eyes Like water from the skies.
Sweet Jesus turned Him about, To His mother's dear home went He, And said, I have been in yonder town, As far as you can see.
I have been down in yonder town As far as the Holy Well, There did I meet as fine children As any tongue can tell.
I bid God bless them every one, And their bodies Christ save and see: Little children, shall I play with you, And you shall play with me?
But they made answer to me, No: They were lords' and ladies' sons; And I, the meanest of them all, Was but a maiden's child, born in an ox's stall.
Though you are but a maiden's child, Born in an ox's stall, Thou art the Christ, the King of heaven, And the Saviour of them all.
Sweet Jesus, go down to yonder town As far as the Holy Well, And take away those sinful souls, And dip them deep in hell.
Nay, nay, sweet Jesus said, Nay, nay, that may not be; For there are too many sinful souls Crying out for the help of me.
THE HOLLY AND THE IVY.
The Holly and the Ivy, Now both are full well grown; Of all the trees that spring in wood, The holly bears the crown. The holly bears a blossom As white as a lily flow'r; And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ To be our sweet Saviour.
The holly bears a berry As red as any blood, And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ To do poor sinners good. The holly bears a prickle As sharp as any thorn, And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ On Christmas Day in the morn.
The holly bears a bark As bitter as any gall, And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ For to redeem us all. The holly and the ivy Now are both well grown; Of all the trees that are in the wood, The holly bears the crown.
THE CONTEST OF THE VINES.
Nay, ivy, nay, It shall not be, I wis; Let holly have the mastery, As the manner is.
Holly stand in the hall, Fair to behold; Ivy stand without the door, She is full sore a-cold. Nay, ivy, nay, etc.
Holly and his merry men They dancen and they sing; Ivy and her maidens They weepen and they wring. Nay, ivy, nay, etc.
Ivy hath a kybe,[P] She caught it with the cold; So mot they all have ae,[Q] That with ivy hold. Nay, ivy, nay, etc.
Holly hath berries As red as any rose, The forester and the hunters Keep them from the does. Nay, ivy, nay, etc.
Ivy hath berries As black as any sloe; There come the owl And eat him as she go. Nay, ivy, nay, etc.
Holly hath birdes A full fair flock, The nightingale, the popinjay, The gentle laverock. Nay, ivy, nay, etc.
Good ivy, What birdes hast thou? None but the howlet That krey[R] "How, how."
Nay, ivy, nay, It shall not be, I wis; Let holly have the mastery, As the manner is.
[P] Chapped skin.
[Q] So may all have.
ANE SANG OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
A SCOTCH CAROL.
I come from hevin to tell The best nowellis that ever befell; To you this tythinges trew I bring, And I will of them say and sing:
This day to yow is borne ane childe Of Marie meike and Virgine mylde, That blessit barne, bining and kynde, Sall yow rejoyce baith heart and mynd.
My saull and lyfe, stand up and see Quha lyes in ane cribe of tree, Quhat babe is that, so gude and faire? It is Christ, God's sonne and aire.
O God, that made all creature, How art Thow becum so pure, That on the hay and stray will lye Amang the asses, oxin, and kye!
O my deir hert, young Jesus sweit, Prepare Thy creddill in my spreit, And I sall rocke Thee in my hert, And never mair from Thee depart.
But I sall praise Thee evermoir With sangs sweit unto Thy gloir, The knees of my hert sall I bow, And sing that right Balululow.
The minstrels played their Christmas tune To-night beneath my cottage eaves; While smitten by a lofty moon, The encircling laurels thick with leaves, Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen, That overpowered their natural green.
Through hill and valley every breeze Had sunk to rest with folded wings: Keen was the air, but could not freeze Nor check the music of the strings; So stout and hardy were the band That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.
And who but listened?—till was paid Respect to every inmate's claim, The greeting given, the music played In honor of each household name, Duly pronounced with lusty call, And a merry Christmas wished to all.
O Brother! I revere the choice That took thee from thy native hills; And it is given thee to rejoice: Though public care full often tills (Heaven only witness of the toil) A barren and ungrateful soil.
Yet would that thou, with me and mine, Hadst heard this never-failing rite; And seen on other faces shine A true revival of the light Which nature, and these rustic powers, In simple childhood, spread through ours!
For pleasure hath not ceased to wait On these expected annual rounds, Whether the rich man's sumptuous gate Call forth the unelaborate sounds, Or they are offered at the door That guard the lowliest of the poor.
How touching, when at midnight sweep Snow-muffled winds, and all is dark, To hear—and sink again in sleep! Or at an earlier call, to mark, By blazing fire, the still suspense Of self-complacent innocence;
The mutual nod—the grave disguise Of hearts with gladness brimming o'er, And some unhidden tears that rise For names once heard, and heard no more; Tears brightened by the serenade For infant in the cradle laid!
Ah! not for emerald fields alone, With ambient streams more pure and bright Than fabled Cytherea's zone Glittering before the Thunderer's sight, Is to my heart of hearts endeared, The ground where we were born and reared!
Hail, ancient manners! sure defence, Where they survive, of wholesome laws: Remnants of love whose modest sense Thus into narrow room withdraws; Hail, usages of pristine mould, And ye that guard them, Mountains old!
Bear with me, Brother! quench the thought That slights this passion or condemns; If thee fond fancy ever brought From the proud margin of the Thames, And Lambeth's venerable towers, To humble streams and greener bowers.
Yes, they can make, who fail to find Short leisure even in busiest days, Moments to cast a look behind, And profit by those kindly rays That through the clouds do sometimes steal, And all the far-off past reveal.
Hence, while the imperial city's din Beats frequent on thy satiate ear, A pleased attention I may win To agitations less severe, That neither overwhelm nor cloy, But fill the hollow vale with joy!
THE OLD, OLD STORY.
Listen, Lordings, unto me, a tale I will you tell, Which, as on this night of glee, in David's town befell. Joseph came from Nazareth, with Mary that sweet maid; Weary were they, nigh to death; and for a lodging pray'd. Sing high, sing high, sing low, sing low, Sing high, sing low, sing to and fro, Go tell it out with speed, Cry out and shout all round about, That Christ is born indeed.
In the inn they found no room; a scanty bed they made: Soon a Babe from Mary's womb was in the manger laid. Forth He came as light through glass: He came to save us all, In the stable ox and ass before their Maker fall. Sing high, sing low, etc.
Shepherds lay afield that night, to keep the silly sheep, Hosts of angels in their sight came down from heaven's high steep. Tidings! tidings! unto you: to you a Child is born, Purer than the drops of dew, and brighter than the morn. Sing high, sing low, etc.
Onward then the angels sped, the shepherds onward went, God was in His manger bed, in worship low they bent. In the morning see ye mind, my masters one and all, At the altar Him to find who lay within the stall. Sing high, sing low, etc.
H. R. Bramley.
A CHRISTMAS BALLAD.
Outlanders, whence come ye last? The snow in the street and the wind on the door. Through what green sea and great have ye past? Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
From far away, O masters mine, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. We come to bear you goodly wine: Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
From far away we come to you, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. To tell of great tidings strange and true: Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
News, news of the Trinity, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. And Mary and Joseph from over the sea: Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
For as we wandered far and wide, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. What hope do ye deem there should us betide? Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
Under a bent when the night was deep, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. There lay three shepherds tending their sheep: Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
"O ye shepherds, what have ye seen, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. To slay your sorrow and heal your teen?" Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
"In an ox-stall this night we saw, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. A Babe and a maid without a flaw. Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
"There was an old man there beside, The snow in the street and the wind, on the door. His hair was white, and his hood was wide. Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
"And as we gazed this thing upon, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. Those twain knelt down to the Little One. Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
"And a marvellous song we straight did hear, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. That slew our sorrow and healed our care." Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
News of a fair and a marvellous thing, The snow in the street and the wind on the door. Nowell, nowell, nowell, we sing! Minstrels and maids, stand forth on the floor.
A FRENCH NOEL.
(TRANSLATED FROM GUI BAROZAI.)
I hear along our street Pass the minstrel throngs; Hark! they play so sweet, On their hautboys, Christmas songs! Let us by the fire Ever higher Sing them till the night expire!
In December ring Every day the chimes; Loud the gleemen sing In the streets their merry rhymes. Let us by the fire, etc.
Shepherds at the grange, Where the Babe was born, Sang, with many a change, Christmas carols until morn. Let us by the fire, etc.
These good people sang Songs devout and sweet; While the rafters rang There they stood with freezing feet. Let us by the fire, etc.
Nuns in frigid cells At this holy tide For want of something else Christmas songs at times have tried. Let us by the fire, etc.
Washerwomen old, To the sound they beat, Sing by rivers cold With uncovered heads and feet. Let us by the fire, etc.
Who by the fireside stands Stamps his feet and sings; But he who blows his hands Not so gay a carol brings. Let us by the fire, etc.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
MASTERS, IN THIS HALL.
"To Bethl'em did they go, the shepherds three; To Bethl'em did they go to see whe'r it were so or no, Whether Christ were born or no To set men free."
Masters, in this hall, Hear ye news to-day Brought over sea, And ever I you pray. Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Sing we clear! Holpen are all folk on earth, Born is God's Son so dear.
Going over the hills, Through the milk-white snow, Heard I ewes bleat While the winds did blow. Nowell, etc.
Shepherds many an one Sat among the sheep; No man spake more word Than they had been asleep. Nowell, etc.
Quoth I, "Fellows mine, Why this guise sit ye? Making but dull cheer, Shepherds though ye be? Nowell, etc.
"Shepherds should of right Leap, and dance, and sing; Thus to see you sit Is a right strange thing." Nowell, etc.
Quoth these fellows three, "To Bethl'em town we go, To see a Mighty Lord Lie in manger low." Nowell, etc.
"How name ye this Lord, Shepherds?" then said I. "Very God," they said, "Come from Heaven high." Nowell, etc.
Then to Bethl'em town We went two and two, And in a sorry place Heard the oxen low. Nowell, etc.
Therein did we see A sweet and goodly May, And a fair old man; Upon the straw she lay. Nowell, etc.
And a little Child On her arm had she; "Wot ye who is this?" Said the hinds to me. Nowell, etc.
Ox and ass Him know, Kneeling on their knee: Wondrous joy had I This little Babe to see. Nowell, etc.
This is Christ the Lord: Masters, be ye glad! Christmas is come in, And no folk should be sad. Nowell, etc.
The Worship Of The Babe.
"Rejoice, our Saviour He was born On Christmas day in the morning."
TO HIS SAVIOUR, A CHILD; A PRESENT, BY A CHILD.
Go, pretty child, and bear this flower Unto thy little Saviour; And tell Him by that bud now blown, He is a Rose of Sharon known. When thou hast said so, stick it there Upon His bib or stomacher; And tell Him, for good handsel too, That thou hast brought a whistle new, Made of a clean, strait oaten reed To charm His cries at time of need. Tell Him for coral thou hast none, But if thou had'st He should have one; But poor thou art, and known to be Even as moneyless as He. Lastly, if thou can'st win a kiss From those mellifluous lips of His, Then never take a second on To spoil the first impression.
HONOR TO THE KING.
Yet if his majesty our sovereign lord Should of his own accord Friendly himself invite, And say, "I'll be your guest to-morrow night," How should we stir ourselves, call and command All hands to work: "Let no man idle stand. Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall, See they be fitted all; Let there be room to eat, And order taken that there want no meat. See every sconce and candlestick made bright, That without tapers they may give a light. Look to the presence; are the carpets spread, The dais o'er the head, The cushions in the chairs, And all the candles lighted on the stairs? Perfume the chambers, and in any case Let each man give attendance in his place." Thus if the king were coming would we do, And 'twere good reason too; For 'tis a duteous thing To show all honor to an earthly king, And after all our travail and our cost, So he be pleased, to think no labor lost. But at the coming of the King of Heaven, All's set at six and seven: We wallow in our sin, Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn. We entertain Him always like a stranger, And, as at first, still lodge Him in the manger.
Christ Church, Oxford, MS.
NEW PRINCE, NEW POMP.
Behold a silly, tender Babe, In freezing winter night, In homely manger trembling lies; Alas! a piteous sight.
The inns are full, no man will yield This little pilgrim bed; But forced He is with silly beasts In crib to shroud His head.
Despise Him not for lying there, First what He is inquire; An orient pearl is often found In depth of dirty mire.
Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish, Nor beast that by Him feed; Weigh not His mother's poor attire, Nor Joseph's simple weed.
This stable is a prince's court, This crib His chair of state; The beasts are parcel of His pomp, The wooden dish His plate.
The persons in that poor attire His royal liveries wear; The Prince himself is come from heaven, This pomp is praised there.
With joy approach, O Christian wight! Do homage to thy King; And highly praise this humble pomp Which He from heaven doth bring.
OF THE EPIPHANY.
Fair eastern star, that art ordained to run Before the sages, to the rising sun, Here cease thy course, and wonder that the cloud Of this poor stable can thy Maker shroud: Ye heavenly bodies glory to be bright, And are esteemed as ye are rich in light; But here on earth is taught a different way, Since under this low roof the Highest lay. Jerusalem erects her stately towers, Displays her windows and adorns her bowers; Yet there thou must not cast a trembling spark, Let Herod's palace still continue dark; Each school and synagogue thy force repels, There pride enthroned in misty error dwells; The temple, where the priests maintain their quire, Shall taste no beam of thy celestial fire, While this weak cottage all thy splendor takes: A joyful gate of every chink it makes. Here shines no golden roof, no ivory stair, No king exalted in a stately chair, Girt with attendants, or by heralds styled, But straw and hay enwrap a speechless child. Yet Sabae's lords before this babe unfold Their treasures, offering incense, myrrh, and gold. The crib becomes an altar; therefore dies No ox nor sheep; for in their fodder lies The Prince of Peace, who, thankful for His bed, Destroys those rites in which their blood was shed: The quintessence of earth He takes, and fees, And precious gums distilled from weeping trees; Rich metals and sweet odors now declare The glorious blessings which His laws prepare, To clear us from the base and loathsome flood Of sense and make us fit for angel's food, Who lift to God for us the holy smoke Of fervent prayers with which we Him invoke, And try our actions in the searching fire By which the seraphims our lips inspire: No muddy dross pure minerals shall infect, We shall exhale our vapors up direct: No storm shall cross, nor glittering lights deface Perpetual sighs which seek a happy place.
Sir John Beaumont.
A HYMN FOR THE EPIPHANY.
SUNG AS BY THE THREE KINGS.
1 King. Bright Babe! whose awful beauties make The morn incur a sweet mistake; 2 King. For whom the officious heavens devise To disinherit the sun's rise; 3 King. Delicately to displace The day, and plant it fairer in Thy face; 1 King. O Thou born King of loves! 2 King. Of lights! 3 King. Of joys!
Chorus. Look up, sweet Babe, look up and see! For love of Thee, Thus far from home The East is come To seek herself in Thy sweet eyes.
1 King. We who strangely went astray, Lost in a bright Meridian night; 2 King. A darkness made of too much day; 3 King. Beckoned from far By Thy fair star, Lo, at last have found our way.
Chorus. To Thee, Thou Day of Night! Thou East of West! Lo, we at last have found the way To Thee, the world's great universal East, The general and indifferent day.
1 King. All-circling point! all-centring sphere! The world's one round eternal year: 2 King. Whose full and all-unwrinkled face Nor sinks nor swells with time or place; 3 King. But everywhere and every while Is one consistent solid smile, 1 King. Not vexed and tost, 2 King. 'Twixt spring and frost; 3 King. Nor by alternate shreds of light; Sordidly shifting hands with shades and night.
Chorus. O little All, in Thy embrace, The world lies warm and likes his place; Nor does his full globe fail to be Kissed on both his cheeks by Thee; Time is too narrow for Thy year, Nor makes the whole world Thy half-sphere.
A HYMN ON THE NATIVITY OF MY SAVIOUR.
I sing the birth was born to-night, The author both of life and light; The angels so did sound it. And like the ravished shepherds said, Who saw the light, and were afraid, Yet searched, and true they found it.
The Son of God th' eternal king, That did us all salvation bring, And freed the soul from danger; He whom the whole world could not take, The Word, which heaven and earth did make, Was now laid in a manger.
The Father's wisdom willed it so, The Son's obedience knew no No, Both wills were in one stature; And as that wisdom had decreed, The Word was now made flesh indeed, And took on Him our nature.
What comfort by Him do we win, Who made himself the price of sin, To make us heirs of glory! To see this babe all innocence; A martyr born in our defence; Can man forget the story?
All after pleasures as I rid one day, My horse and I both tried, body and mind, With full cry of affections quite astray, I took up in the next inn I could find.
There, when I came, whom found I but my dear— My dearest Lord; expecting till the grief Of pleasures brought me to Him; ready there To be all passengers' most sweet relief?
O Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted light, Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger; Since my dark soul and brutish is Thy right, To man, of all beasts, be not Thou a stranger;
Furnish and deck my soul, that Thou may'st have A better lodging than a rock or grave.
The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be? My God, no hymn for Thee? My soul's a shepherd too; a flock it feeds Of thoughts and words and deeds; The pasture is Thy word, the stream Thy grace, Enriching every place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers Outsing the daylight hours. Then we will chide the sun for letting night Take up his place and right: We sing one common Lord; wherefore He should Himself the candle hold.
I will go searching till I find a sun Shall stay till we have done; A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly As frost-nipt suns look sadly, Then we will sing and shine all our own day, And one another pay.
His beams shall cheer my breast; and both so twine, Till ev'n his beams sing and my music shine.
NEW HEAVEN, NEW WAR.
Come to your heaven, you heavenly quires! Earth hath the heaven of your desires; Remove your dwelling to your God, A stall is now His blest abode; Sith men their homage do deny, Come, angels, all their fault supply.
This little Babe, so few days old, Is come to rifle Satan's fold; All hell doth at His presence quake, Though He himself for cold do shake; For in this weak, unarmed wise The gates of hell He will surprise.
My soul, with Christ join thou in fight; Stick to the tents that He hath pight; Within His crib is surest ward, This little Babe will be thy guard; If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy, Then flit not from this heavenly Boy.
FOR CHRISTMAS DAY.
Rejoice, rejoice, with heart and voice! In Christe's birth this day rejoice! From Virgin's womb this day did spring The precious seed that only saved man; This day let man rejoice and sweetly sing, Since on this day salvation first began. This day did Christ man's soul from death remove, With glorious saints to dwell in heaven above.
This day to man came pledge of perfect peace, This day to man came perfect unity, This day man's grief began for to surcease, This day did man receive a remedy For each offence and every deadly sin, With guilty heart that erst he wandered in.
In Christe's flock let love be surely placed, From Christe's flock let concord hate expel, Of Christe's flock let love be so embraced As we in Christ and Christ in us may dwell; Christ is the author of all unity, From whence proceedeth all felicity.
O sing unto this glittering, glorious king, O praise His name let every living thing; Let heart and voice, like bells of silver, ring The comfort that this day doth bring; Let lute, let shawm, with sound of sweet delight, The joy of Christe's birth this day recite.
Francis Kinwelmersh, A.D. 1576.
SUNG TO THE KING IN THE PRESENCE AT WHITEHALL.
Chor.—What sweeter music can we bring, Than a carol for to sing The birth of this our heavenly King? Awake the voice! awake the string! Heart, ear, and eye, and everything Awake! the while the active finger Runs divisions with the singer.
From the flourish they come to the song.
Dark and dull night, fly hence away, And give the honor to this day, That sees December turn'd to May.
If we may ask the reason, say The why and wherefore all things here Seem like the spring-time of the year? Why does the chilling winter's morn Smile like a field beset with corn? Or smell like to a mead new-shorn, Thus on the sudden? Come and see The cause why things thus fragrant be: 'Tis He is born whose quickening birth Gives life and lustre public mirth To heaven and the under-earth.
Chor.—We see Him come, and know Him ours, Who with His sunshine and His showers Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
The darling of the world is come, And fit it is we find a room To welcome Him. The nobler part Of all the house here is the heart.
Chor.—Which we will give Him; and bequeath This holly and this ivy wreath, To do Him honor, who's our King, And Lord of all this revelling.
AND THEY LAID HIM IN A MANGER.
Happy crib, that wert alone To my God, bed, cradle, throne! Whilst thy glorious vileness I View with divine fancy's eye, Sordid filth seems all the cost, State, and splendor, crowns do boast.
See heaven's sacred majesty Humbled beneath poverty; Swaddled up in homely rags On a bed of straw and flags! He whose hands the heavens displayed, And the world's foundation laid, From the world's almost exiled, Of all ornaments despoiled. Perfumes bathe Him not, new-born, Persian mantles not adorn; Nor do the rich roofs look bright With the jasper's orient light. Where, O royal Infant, be Th' ensigns of Thy majesty; Thy Sire's equalizing state; And Thy sceptre that rules fate? Where's Thy angel-guarded throne, Whence Thy laws Thou didst make known, Laws which heaven, earth, hell, obeyed? These, ah! these aside He laid; Would the emblem be—of pride By humility outvied?
Sir Edward Sherburne.
THE BURNING BABE.
As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow, Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow; And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near, A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear, Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed, As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed. Alas! quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry, Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I. My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns: Love is the fire and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns: The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals; The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defiled souls; For which, as now on fire I am, to work them to their good, So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood. With that he vanish'd out of sight and swiftly shrunk away. And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas Day.
Awake, glad heart! get up and sing! It is the birthday of thy King. Awake! awake! The sun doth shake Light from his locks, and, all the way Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.
Awake! awake! hark how th' wood rings, Winds whisper, and the busy springs A concert make! Awake! awake! Man is their high-priest, and should rise To offer up the sacrifice.
I would I were some bird or star Fluttering in woods, or lifted far Above this inn, And road of sin! Then either star or bird should be Shining or singing still to Thee.
I would I had in my best part Fit rooms for Thee! or that my heart Were so clean as Thy manger was! But I am all filth, and obscene; Yet, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make clean.
Sweet Jesu! will then. Let no more This leper haunt and soil Thy door! Cure him, ease him, O release him! And let once more, by mystic birth, The Lord of life be born in earth.
AN ODE ON THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOUR.
In numbers, and but these few, I sing Thy birth, O Jesu! Thou pretty baby, born here With sup'rabundant scorn here: Who, for Thy princely port here, Hadst for Thy place Of birth a base Out-stable for Thy court here.
Instead of neat enclosures Of interwoven osiers, Instead of fragrant posies Of daffodils and roses, Thy cradle, kingly stranger, As gospel tells, Was nothing else But here a homely manger.
But we with silks not crewels, With sundry precious jewels, And lily work will dress Thee; And, as we dispossess Thee Of clouts, we'll make a chamber, Sweet babe, for Thee Of ivory And plaster'd round with amber.
The Jews they did disdain Thee, But we will entertain Thee With glories to await here Upon Thy princely state here; And, more for love than pity, From year to year We'll make Thee here A free-born of our city.
WHO CAN FORGET?
Who can forget—never to be forgot— The time, that all the world in slumber lies, When, like the stars, the singing angels shot To earth, and heaven awaked all his eyes To see another sun at midnight rise On earth? Was never sight of pareil fame For God before, man like himself did frame, But God himself now like a mortal man became.
A child He was, and had not learnt to speak, That with His word the world before did make; His mother's arms Him bore, He was so weak, That with one hand the vaults of heaven could shake; See how small room my infant Lord doth take, Whom all the world is not enough to hold! Who of His years or of His age hath told? Never such age so young, never a child so old.
And yet but newly He was infanted, And yet already He was sought to die; Yet scarcely born, already banished; Not able yet to go, and forced to fly: But scarcely fled away, when by and by The tyrant's sword with blood is all defiled, And Rachel, for her sons, with fury wild, Cries, "O thou cruel king, and O my sweetest Child!"
Egypt His nurse became, where Nilus springs, Who, straight to entertain the rising sun, The hasty harvest in his bosom brings; But now for drought the fields were all undone, And now with waters all is overrun: So fast the Cynthian mountains pour'd their snow, When once they felt the sun so near them glow, That Nilus Egypt lost, and to a sea did grow.
The angels carolled loud their song of peace; The cursed oracles were strucken dumb; To see their Shepherd the poor shepherds press; To see their King, the kingly sophies[S] come; And them to guide unto his Master's home, A star comes dancing up the orient, That springs for joy over the strawy tent, Where gold, to make their prince a crown, they all present.
[S] Wise men.
THE CHILD JESUS.
A CORNISH CAROL.
Welcome that star in Judah's sky, That voice o'er Bethlehem's palmy glen! The lamp far sages hailed on high, The tones that thrilled the shepherd men: Glory to God in loftiest heaven! Thus angels smote the echoing chord; Glad tidings unto man forgiven, Peace from the presence of the Lord.
The Shepherds sought that birth divine, The Wise Men traced their guided way; There, by strange light and mystic sign, The God they came to worship lay. A human Babe in beauty smiled, Where lowing oxen round Him trod: A maiden clasped her awful Child, Pure offspring of the breath of God.
Those voices from on high are mute, The star the Wise Men saw is dim; But hope still guides the wanderer's foot, And faith renews the angel hymn: Glory to God in loftiest heaven! Touch with glad hand the ancient chord; Good tidings unto man forgiven, Peace from the presence of the Lord.
Robert Stephen Hawker.
In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter Long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, Nor earth sustain; Heaven and earth shall flee away When He comes to reign: In the bleak mid-winter A stable-place sufficed The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him whom cherubim Worship night and day, A breastful of milk And a mangerful of hay; Enough for Him whom angels Fall down before, The ox and ass and camel Which adore.
Angels and archangels May have gathered there, Cherubim and seraphim Thronged the air; But only His mother, In her maiden bliss, Worshipped the Beloved With a kiss.
What can I give Him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a wise man, I would do my part: Yet what I can I give Him, Give my heart.
Christina G. Rossetti.
STAR OF BETHLEHEM.
When marshalled on the nightly plain The glitt'ring host bestud the sky, One star alone of all the train Can fix the sinner's wandering eye. Hark! hark! to God the chorus breaks From ev'ry host, from ev'ry gem; But one alone the Saviour speaks,— It is the Star of Bethlehem!
Once on the raging seas I rode; The storm was loud, the night was dark; The ocean yawned, and rudely blew The wind that tossed my found'ring bark. Deep horror then my vitals froze; Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stem, When suddenly a star arose,— It was the Star of Bethlehem!
It was my guide, my light, my all; It bade my dark forebodings cease; And through the storm and danger's thrall, It led me to the port of peace. Now safely moored, my perils o'er, I'll sing first in night's diadem, Forever and forever more,— The Star, the Star of Bethlehem!
Henry Kirke White.
Foot-sore and weary, Mary tried Some rest to seek, but was denied. "There is no room," the blind ones cried.
Meekly the Virgin turned away, No voice entreating her to stay; There was no room for God that day.
No room for her, round whose tired feet Angels are bowed in transport sweet The mother of their God to greet.
No room for Him in whose small hand The troubled sea and mighty land Lie cradled like a grain of sand;
No room, O Babe Divine! for Thee That Christmas night; and even we Dare shut our hearts and turn the key.
In vain Thy pleading baby cry Strikes our deaf souls; we pass Thee by, Unsheltered 'neath the wintry sky.
No room for God! O Christ, that we Should bar our doors, nor ever see Our Saviour waiting patiently.
Fling wide the doors! Dear Christ, turn back! The ashes on my hearth lie black— Of light and warmth a total lack.
How can I bid Thee enter here Amid the desolation drear Of lukewarm love and craven fear?
What bleaker shelter can there be Than my cold heart's tepidity— Chilled, wind-tossed, as the winter sea?
Dear Lord, I shrink from Thy pure eye, No home to offer Thee have I; Yet in Thy mercy pass not by.
ON CHRISTMAS DAY.
Assist me, Muse divine! to Sing the Morn On which the Saviour of Mankind was born; But oh! what Numbers to the Theme can rise? Unless kind Angels aid me from the Skies! Methinks I see the tunefull Host descend, And with officious Joy the Scene attend! Hark, by their Hymns directed on the Road, The Gladsome Shepherds find the nascent God! And view the Infant conscious of his Birth, Smiling bespeak Salvation to the Earth! For when th' important AEra first drew near In which the great Messiah should appear; And to accomplish his redeeming Love; Beneath our Form should every Woe sustain, And by triumphant Suffering fix his Reign, Should for lost Man in Tortures yield his Breath Dying to save us from eternal Death! Oh mystick union!—salutary Grace! Incarnate God our Nature should embrace! That Deity should stoop to our Disguise! That man recover'd should regain the Skies! Dejected Adam! from thy grave ascend, And view the Serpent's Deadly Malice end, Adorning bless th' Almighty's boundless Grace That gave his son a Ransome for thy Race! Oh never let my Soul this Day forget, But pay in gratefull praise the annual Debt.
From a manuscript volume, written by George Washington.
THE HEAVENLY CHOIR.
What sudden blaze of song Spreads o'er th' expanse of heaven? In waves of light it thrills along, Th' angelic signal given— "Glory to God!" from yonder central fire Flows out the echoing lay beyond the starry quire;
Like circles widening round Upon a clear blue river, Orb after orb, the wondrous sound Is echoed on forever; "Glory to God on high, on earth be peace, And love toward men of love—salvation and release."
Yet stay, before thou dare To join that festal throng; Listen and mark what gentle air First stirred the tide of song; 'Tis not, "the Saviour born in David's home, To whom for power and health obedient worlds should come:"
'Tis not "the Christ the Lord:"— With fix'd adoring look The choir of angels caught the word, Nor yet their silence broke; But when they heard the sign, where Christ should be, In sudden light they shone and heavenly harmony.
Wrapped in His swaddling-bands, And in His manger laid, The hope and glory of all lands Is come to the world's aid: No peaceful home upon His cradle smiled, Guests rudely went and came where slept the royal Child.
But where Thou dwellest, Lord, No other thought should be; Once duly welcomed and adored, How should I part with Thee? Bethlehem must lose Thee soon, but Thou wilt grace The single heart to be Thy pure abiding-place.
Thee, on the bosom laid Of a pure virgin mind, In quiet ever, and in shade, Shepherd and sage may find; They who have bow'd untaught to nature's sway, And they who follow truth along her star-paved way.
The pastoral spirits first Approach Thee, Babe divine, For they in lowly thoughts are nursed, Meet for Thy lowly shrine: Sooner than they should miss where Thou dost dwell, Angels from heaven will stoop to guide them to Thy cell.
Still, as the day comes round For Thee to be revealed, By wakeful shepherds Thou art found, Abiding in the field. All through the wintry heaven and chill night air, In music and in light Thou dawnest on their prayer.
O faint not ye for fear— What though your wandering sheep, Reckless of what they see and hear, Lie lost in wilful sleep? High heaven in mercy to your sad annoy Still greets you with glad tidings of immortal joy.
Think on th' eternal home The Saviour left for you; Think on the Lord most holy, come To dwell with hearts untrue: So shall ye tread untired His pastoral ways, And in the darkness sing your carol of high praise.
"Wassail, wassail, all over the town; Our toast it is white, our ale it is brown, Our bowl it is made of the mapling tree; With the wassailing bowl we will drink to thee."
Give way, give way, ye gates, and win An easy blessing to your bin And basket, by our entering in.
May both with manchet[T] stand replete, Your larders, too, so hung with meat, That though a thousand thousand eat,
Yet ere twelve moons shall whirl about Their silvery spheres, there's none may doubt But more's sent in than was served out.
Next, may your dairies prosper so As that your pans no ebb may know; But if they do, the more to flow,
Like to a solemn, sober stream, Banked all with lilies, and the cream Of sweetest cowslips filling them.
Then may your plants be pressed with fruit, Nor bee or hive you have be mute, But sweetly sounding like a lute.
Last, may your harrows, shares, and ploughs, Your stacks, your stocks, your sweetest mows, All prosper by your virgin vows.
Alas! we bless, but see none here, That brings us either ale or beer; In a dry house all things are near.
Let's leave a longer time to wait, Where rust and cobwebs bind the gate; And all live here with needy fate;
Where chimneys do forever weep For want of warmth, and stomachs keep With noise the servants' eyes from sleep.
It is in vain to sing or stay Our free feet here, but we'll away; Yet to the Lares this we'll say:
The time will come when you'll be sad, And reckon this for fortune bad, T' have lost the good ye might have had.
[T] White bread.
INVITATION A FAIRE NOEL.
(FROM THE FRENCH OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY.)
Hail, good Masters, let us bide, Hither come from travel wide, This Christmas-tide. Hearken, give us bed and cheer, We are weary, life is dear This day o' the year! God send ye joy and peace on earth, Who broach good cheer for Christe's birth.
Masters, an ye make no feast: Spiced ale and meat of beast, Nor laugh the least: If ye fill not pantries high With bread, and fish, and mammoth pie, And sweets, pardie!— God ordains no peace on earth To ye who fast at Christe's birth.
Masters, it is writ of old Who fill the fire for Christmas cold And wassail hold, Shall have of food a double store And ruddy-blazing ingle roar Forevermore. God sends the peace of heaven and earth To men who carol Christe's birth.
O Masters! let nor hate nor spite Mar the tongue of any wight 'Twixt night and night. Botun, batun—belabor well Churls who sleep through matin bell And no soothe tell. God will forfeit peace on earth If men fall out at Christe's birth.
Christmas tipples every wine, English, French, and Gascon fine And Angevine; Clinks with neighbor and with guest, Empties casks with gibe and jest— The year's for rest! God sends to men the joy of earth Who broach good cheer for Christe's birth.
But hearken, Masters, ere ye drink While yet the bubbles boil and wink At the brink; Ere ye lift the pot aloft, Merrily wave it, laughing oft, With hood well doft. And if I cry ye, sad, "Wesseyl!" Woe's him who answers not "Drinchayl!"
Translated by H. S. M.
Lord, I confess too, when I dine, The pulse is Thine, And all those other bits that be There placed by Thee; The worts, the purslane, and the mess Of water-cress, Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent; And my content Makes those and my beloved beet To be more sweet. 'Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth With guiltless mirth, And giv'st me wassail-bowls to drink Spiced to the brink.
AROUND THE WASSAIL-BOWL.
A jolly wassail-bowl, A wassail of good ale; Well fare the butler's soul That setteth this to sale; Our jolly wassail.
Good dame, here at your door Our wassail we begin, We are all maidens poor, We pray now let us in With our wassail.
Our wassail we do fill With apples and with spice, Then grant us your good-will To taste here once or twice Of our good wassail.
If any maidens be Here dwelling in this house, They kindly will agree To take a full carouse Of our wassail.
But here they let us stand All freezing in the cold: Good master, give command To enter and be bold, With our wassail.
Much joy into this hall With us is entered in, Our master first of all We hope will now begin Of our wassail.
And after, his good wife Our spiced bowl will try; The Lord prolong your life! Good fortune we espy For our wassail.
Some bounty from your hands Our wassail to maintain; We'll buy no house nor lands With that which we do gain With our wassail.
This is our merry night Of choosing king and queen; Then be it your delight That something may be seen In our wassail.
It is a noble part To bear a liberal mind; God bless our master's heart! For here we comfort find With our wassail.
And now we must be gone To seek out more good cheer, Where bounty will be shown As we have found it here With our wassail.
Much joy betide them all, Our prayer shall be still, We hope and ever shall For this your great good-will To our wassail.
FROM DOOR TO DOOR.
Here we come a wassailing Among the leaves so green, Here we come a wand'ring, So fair to be seen. Love and joy come to you, And to you your wassail too, And God bless you and send you a happy New Year.
Our wassail-cup is made Of the rosemary tree, And so is your beer Of the best barley. Love and joy, etc.
We are not daily beggars That beg from door to door, But we are neighbors' children Whom you have seen before. Love and joy, etc.
Good master and good mistress, As you sit by the fire, Pray think of us poor children As wand'ring in the mire. Love and joy, etc.
We have a little purse Made of ratching leather skin; We want some of your small change To line it well within. Love and joy, etc.
Call up the butler of this house, Put on his golden ring; Let him bring us a glass of beer, And the better we shall sing. Love and joy, etc.
Bring us out a table, And spread it with a cloth; Bring us out a mouldy cheese, And some of your Christmas loaf. Love and joy, etc.
God bless the master of this house, Likewise the mistress too And all the little children That round the table go. Love and joy, etc.
We wish you merry Christmas, also a glad New Year; We come to bring you tidings to all mankind so dear: We come to tell that Jesus was born in Bethl'em town, And now He's gone to glory and pityingly looks down On us poor wassailers, As wassailing we go; With footsteps sore From door to door We trudge through sleet and snow.
A manger was His cradle, the straw it was His bed, The oxen were around Him within that lowly shed; No servants waited on Him with lords and ladies gay; But now He's gone to glory and unto Him we pray. Us poor wassailers, etc.
His mother loved and tended Him and nursed Him at her breast, And good old Joseph watched them both the while they took their rest; And wicked Herod vainly sought to rob them of their child, By slaughtering the Innocents in Bethlehem undefiled. But us poor wassailers, etc.
Now, all good Christian people, with great concern we sing These tidings of your Jesus, the Saviour, Lord and King; In poverty He passed His days that riches we might share, And of your wealth He bids you give and of your portion spare To us poor wassailers, etc.
Your wife shall be a fruitful vine, a hus'sif good and able; Your children like the olive branches round about your table; Your barns shall burst with plenty and your crops shall be secure, If you will give your charity to us who are so poor, Us poor wassailers, etc.
And now no more we'll sing to you because the hour is late, And we must trudge and sing our song at many another gate; And so we'll wish you once again a merry Christmas time, And pray God bless you while you give good silver for our rhyme. Us poor wassailers, etc.
A CAROL AT THE GATES.
Here we come a-whistling through the fields so green; Here we come a-singing, so fair to be seen. God send you happy, God send you happy, Pray God send you a happy New Year!
The roads are very dirty, my boots are very thin, I have a little pocket to put a penny in. God send you happy, etc.
Bring out your little table and spread it with a cloth, Bring out some of your old ale, likewise your Christmas loaf. God send you happy, etc.
God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress, too, And all the little children that round the table strew. God send you happy, etc.
The cock sat up in the yew-tree, the hen came chuckling by, I wish you a merry Christmas, and a good fat pig in the sty. God send you happy, etc.
Wassail, wassail, all over the town, Our bread it is white, and our ale it is brown; Our bowl it is made of the maplin tree, So here, my good fellow, I'll drink it to thee.
The wassailing bowl, with a toast within, Come, fill it up unto the brim; Come fill it up that we may all see; With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.
Come, butler, come bring us a bowl of your best, And we hope your soul in heaven shall rest; But if you do bring us a bowl of your small, Then down shall go butler, the bowl, and all.
O butler, O butler, now don't you be worst, But pull out your knife and cut us a toast; And cut us a toast, one that we may all see; With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.
Here's to Dobbin and to his right eye! God send our mistress a good Christmas-pie! A good Christmas-pie as e'er we did see; With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.
Here's to Broad May and his broad horn, God send our master a good crop of corn, A good crop of corn as we all may see; With the wassailing bowl I'll drink to thee.
Here's to Colly and to her long tail, We hope our master and mistress heart will ne'er fail; But bring us a bowl of your good strong beer, And then we shall taste of your happy New Year.
Be there here any pretty maids? we hope there be some; Don't let the jolly wassailers stand on the cold stone, But open the door and pull out the pin, That we jolly wassailers may all sail in.
Chappell's Ancient English Melodies.
BRING US IN GOOD ALE.
Bring us in good ale, and bring us in good ale; For our blessed Lady's sake, bring us in good ale.
Bring us in no brown bread, for that is made of bran, Nor bring us in no white bread, for therein is no game, But bring us in good ale.
Bring us in no beef, for there are many bones, But bring us in good ale, for that goeth down at once; And bring us in good ale.
Bring us in no bacon, for that is passing fat, But bring us in good ale, and give us enough of that; And bring us in good ale.
Bring us in no mutton, for that is often lean, Nor bring us in no tripes, for they be seldom clean; But bring us in good ale.
Bring us in no eggs, for there are many shells, But bring us in good ale, and give us nothing else; And bring us in good ale.
Bring us in no butter, for therein are many hairs, Nor bring us in no pig's flesh, for that will make us boars; But bring us in good ale.
Bring us in no puddings, for therein is all God's good, Nor bring us in no venison, for that is not for our blood; But bring us in good ale.
Bring us in no capon's flesh, for that is often dear, Nor bring us in no duck's flesh, for they slobber in the mere; But bring us in good ale.
Wright's Songs and Carols.
ABOUT THE BOARD.
Come bravely on, my masters, For here we shall be tasters Of curious dishes that are brave and fine, Where they that do such cheer afford, I'll lay my knife upon the board, My master and my dame they do not pine.
Who is't will not be merry And sing down, down, aderry? For now it is a time of joy and mirth; 'Tis said 'tis merry in the hall When as beards they do wag all; God's plenty's here, it doth not show a dearth.
Let him take all lives longest, Come fill us of the strongest, And I will drink a health to honest John; Come, pray thee, butler, fill the bowl, And let it round the table troll, When that is up, I'll tell you more anon.
New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1642.
BEFORE THE FEAST.
All you that are good fellows, Come hearken to my song; I know you do not hate good cheer Nor liquor that is strong. I hope there is none here But soon will take my part, Seeing my master and my dame Say welcome with their heart.
This is a time of joyfulness And merry time of year, Whereas the rich with plenty stored Doth make the poor good cheer; Plum-porridge, roast-beef, and minced-pies Stand smoking on the board, With other brave varieties Our master doth afford.
Our mistress and her cleanly maids Have neatly played the cooks; Methinks these dishes eagerly At my sharp stomach looks, As though they were afraid To see me draw my blade; But I revenged on them will be Until my stomach's stayed.
Come fill us of the strongest, Small drink is out of date; Methinks I shall fare like a prince And sit in gallant state: This is no miser's feast, Although that things be dear; God grant the founder of this feast Each Christmas keep good cheer.
This day for Christ we celebrate, Who was born at this time; For which all Christians should rejoice, And I do sing in rhyme. When you have given God thanks, Unto your dainties fall: Heaven bless my master and my dame, Lord bless me and you all.
New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1642.
A BILL OF CHRISTMAS FARE.
Come, mad boys, be glad, boys, for Christmas is here, And we shall be feasted with jolly good cheer; Then let us be merry, 'tis Saint Stephen's day, Let's eat and drink freely, here's nothing to pay.
My master bids welcome, and so doth my dame, And 'tis yonder smoking dish doth me inflame; Anon I'll be with you, though you me outface, For now I do tell you I have time and place.
I'll troll the bowl to you, then let it go round, My heels are so light they can stand on no ground; My tongue it doth chatter, and goes pitter patter, Here's good beer and strong beer, for I will not flatter.
And now for remembrance of blessed Saint Stephen, Let's joy at morning, at noon, and at even; Then leave off your mincing, and fall to mince-pies, I pray take my counsel, be ruled by the wise.
New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1642.
Christmas is here: Winds whistle shrill, Icy and chill, Little care we: Little we fear Weather without Sheltered about The Mahogany-Tree.
Once on the boughs Birds of rare plume Sang, in its bloom; Night-birds are we: Here we carouse, Singing like them, Perched round the stem Of the jolly old tree.
Here let us sport, Boys, as we sit; Laughter and wit Flashing so free, Life is but short— When we are gone, Let them sing on Round the old tree.
Evenings we knew, Happy as this; Faces we miss, Pleasant to see, Kind hearts and true, Gentle and just, Peace to your dust, We sing round the tree.
Care, like a dun, Lurks at the gate: Let the dog wait; Happy we'll be! Drink, every one; Pile up the coals, Fill the red bowls, Round the old tree!
Drain we the cup— Friend, art afraid? Spirits are laid In the Red Sea. Mantle it up; Empty it yet; Let us forget, Round the old tree.
Sorrow, begone! Life and its ills, Duns and their bills, Bid we to flee. Come with the dawn, Blue-devil sprite, Leave us to-night Round the old tree.
William Makepeace Thackeray.
A CHRISTMAS CEREMONY.
Wassail the trees, that they may bear You many a plum and many a pear; For more or less fruits they will bring As you do give them wassailing.
WITH CAKES AND ALE.
With cakes and ale, and antic ring Well tiptoed to the tabor string, And many a buss below the holly, And flout at sable melancholy— So, with a rouse, went Christmassing!
What! are no latter waits to sing? No clog to blaze? No wit to wing? Are catches gone, and dimpled Dolly, With cakes and ale?
Nay, an you will, behold the thing: The spiced meat, the minstreling! Undo Misrule, and many a volley Of losel snatches born of folly— Bring back the cheer, be Christmas-king, With cakes and ale!
H. S. M.
THE MASQUE OF CHRISTMAS.
(AS IT WAS PRESENTED AT COURT, 1616.)
The Court being seated,
Enter CHRISTMAS, with two or three of the guard, attired in round hose, long stockings, a close doublet, a high-crowned hat, with a brooch, a long, thin beard, a truncheon, little ruffs, white shoes, his scarfs and garters tied cross, and his drum beaten before him.
Why, gentlemen, do you know what you do? ha! would you have kept me out? Christmas, old Christmas, Christmas of London, and Captain Christmas? Pray you, let me be brought before my lord chamberlain, I'll not be answered else: 'Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all: I have seen the time you have wish'd for me for a merry Christmas; and now you have me, they would not let me in: I must come another time! a good jest, as if I could come more than once a year! Why, I am no dangerous person, and so I told my friends of the guard. I am old Gregory Christmas still, and though I come out of Pope's-head alley, as good a Protestant as any in my parish. The truth is, I have brought a Masque here, out o' the city, of my own making, and do present it by a set of my sons, that come out of the lanes of London, good dancing boys all. It was intended, I confess, for Curriers Hall; but because the weather has been open, and the Livery were not at leisure to see it till a frost came, that they cannot work, I thought it convenient, with some little alterations, and the groom of the revels' hand to 't, to fit it for a higher place; which I have done, and though I say it, another manner of device than your New-Year's-night. Bones o' bread, the king! (seeing King James.) Son Rowland! Son Clem! be ready there in a trice: quick, boys!
Enter his Sons and Daughters, (ten in number,) led in, in a string, by Cupid, who is attired in a flat cap, and a prentice's coat, with wings at his shoulders.
MISRULE, in a velvet cap, with a sprig, a short cloak, great yellow ruff, like a reveller, his torch-bearer bearing a rope, a cheese, and a basket.
CAROL, a long tawny coat, with a red cap, and a flute at his girdle, his torch-bearer carrying a song-book open.
MINCED-PIE, like a fine cook's wife, drest neat; her man carrying a pie, dish, and spoons.
GAMBOL, like a tumbler, with a hoop and bells; his torch-bearer armed with a colt-staff, and a binding cloth.
POST AND PAIR, with a pair-royal of aces in his hat; his garment all done over with pairs and purs; his squire carrying a box, cards, and counters.
NEW-YEAR'S-GIFT, in a blue coat, serving-man like, with an orange, and a sprig of rosemary gilt on his head, his hat full of brooches, with a collar of ginger-bread, his torch-bearer carrying a march-pane with a bottle of wine on either arm.
MUMMING, in a masquing pied suit, with a vizard, his torch-bearer carrying the box, and ringing it.
WASSEL, like a neat sempster and songster; her page bearing a brown bowl, drest with ribands, and rosemary before her.
OFFERING, in a short gown, with a porter's staff in his hand, a wyth born before him, and a bason, by his torch-bearer.
BABY-CAKE, drest like a boy, in a fine long coat, biggin-bib, muckender, and a little dagger; his usher bearing a great cake, with a bean and a pease.
They enter singing.
Now God preserve, as you do well deserve, Your majesties all, two there; Your highness small, with my good lords all, And ladies, how do you do there?
Give me leave to ask, for I bring you a masque From little, little, little London; Which say the king likes, I have passed the pikes, If not, old Christmas is undone.
Chris. Ho, peace! what's the matter there?
Gam. Here's one o' Friday-street would come in.
Chris. By no means, nor out of neither of the Fish-streets, admit not a man; they are not Christmas creatures: fish and fasting days, foh! Sons, said I well? look to it.
Gam. No body out o' Friday-street, nor the two Fish-streets there, do you hear?
Car. Shall John Butter o' Milk-street come in? Ask him.
Gam. Yes, he may slip in for a torch-bearer, so he melt not too fast, that he will last till the masque be done.
Chris. Right, son.
Our dance's freight is a matter of eight; And two, the which are wenches: In all they be ten, four cocks to a hen, And will swim to the tune like tenches.
Each hath his knight for to carry his light, Which some would say are torches To bring them here, and to lead them there, And home again to their own porches.
Now their intent,—
Enter VENUS, a deaf tire-woman.
Ven. Now, all the lords bless me! where am I, trow? where is Cupid? "Serve the king!" they may serve the cobbler well enough, some of 'em, for any courtesy they have, I wisse; they have need o' mending: unrude people they are, your courtiers; here was thrust upon thrust indeed: was it ever so hard to get in before, trow?
Chris. How now? what's the matter?
Ven. A place, forsooth, I do want a place: I would have a good place, to see my child act in before the king and queen's majesties, God bless 'em! to-night.
Chris. Why, here is no place for you.
Ven. Right, forsooth, I am Cupid's mother, Cupid's own mother, forsooth; yes, forsooth: I dwell in Pudding-lane: ay, forsooth, he is prentice in Love-lane, with a bugle maker, that makes of your bobs, and bird-bolts for ladies.
Chris. Good lady Venus of Pudding-lane, you must go out for all this.
Ven. Yes, forsooth, I can sit anywhere, so I may see Cupid act: he is a pretty child, though I say it, that perhaps should not, you will say. I had him by my first husband; he was a smith, forsooth, we dwelt in Do-little-lane then: he came a month before his time, and that may make him somewhat imperfect; but I was a fishmonger's daughter.
Chris. No matter for your pedigree, your house: good Venus, will you depart?
Ven. Ay, forsooth, he'll say his part, I warrant him, as well as e'er a play-boy of 'em all: I could have had money enough for him, an I would have been tempted, and have let him out by the week to the king's players. Master Burbage has been about and about with me, and so has old master Hemings, too, they have need of him; where is he, trow, ha! I would fain see him—pray God they have given him some drink since he came.
Chris. Are you ready, boys? Strike up! nothing will drown this noise but a drum: a'peace, yet! I have not done. Sing,—
Now their intent is above to present—
Car. Why, here be half of the properties forgotten, father.
Offer. Post and Pair wants his pur-chops and his pur-dogs.
Car. Have you ne'er a son at the groom porter's, to beg or borrow a pair of cards quickly?
Gam. It shall not need; here's your son Cheater without, has cards in his pocket.
Offer. Ods so! speak to the guards to let him in, under the name of a property.
Gam. And here's New-Year's-Gift has an orange and rosemary, but not a clove to stick in't.
New-Year. Why, let one go to the spicery.
Chris. Fy, fy, fy! it's naught, it's naught, boys.
Ven. Why, I have cloves, if it be cloves you want. I have cloves in my purse: I never go without one in my mouth.
Car. And Mumming has not his vizard, neither.
Chris. No matter! his own face shall serve, for a punishment, and 'tis bad enough; has Wassel her bowl, and Minced-pie her spoons?
Offer. Ay, ay: but Misrule doth not like his suit: he says the players have sent him one too little, on purpose to disgrace him.
Chris. Let him hold his peace, and his disgrace will be the less: what! shall we proclaim where we were furnish'd? Mum! mum! a'peace! be ready, good boys.
Now their intent is above to present, With all the appurtenances, A right Christmas, as of old it was, To be gathered out of the dances.
Which they do bring, and afore the king, The queen, and prince, as it were now Drawn here by love; who over and above, Doth draw himself in the geer too.
Here the drum and fife sound, and they march about once. In the second coming up, CHRISTMAS proceeds in his song:
Hum drum, sauce for a coney; No more of your martial music; Even for the sake o' the next new stake, For there I do mean to use it.
And now to ye, who in place are to see With roll and farthingale hooped: I pray you know, though he want his bow, By the wings, that this is Cupid.
He might go back for to cry, What you lack? But that were not so witty: His cap and coat are enough to note That he is the love o' the city.
And he leads on, though he now be gone, For that was only his-rule: But now comes in, Tom of Bosoms-inn, And he presenteth Mis-rule.
Which you may know, by the very show, Albeit you never ask it: For there you may see what his ensigns be, The rope, the cheese, and the basket.
This Carol plays, and has been in his days A chirping boy, and a kill-pot: Kit Cobler it is, I'm a father of his, And he dwells in a lane called Fill-pot.
But who is this? O, my daughter Cis, Minced-pie; with her do not dally On pain o' your life: she's an honest cook's wife, And comes out of Scalding-alley.
Next in the trace, comes Gambol in place; And, to make my tale the shorter, My son Hercules, tane out of Distaff-lane, But an active man, and a porter.
Now Post and Pair, old Christmas's heir, Doth make and a gingling sally; And wot you who, 'tis one of my two Sons, card-makers in Pur-alley.
Next in a trice, with his box and his dice, Mac-pipin my son, but younger, Brings Mumming in; and the knave will win, For he is a costermonger.
But New-Year's-Gift, of himself makes shift, To tell you what his name is: With orange on head, and his ginger-bread, Clem Waspe of Honey-lane 'tis.
This, I tell you, is our jolly Wassel, And for Twelfth-night more meet too: She works by the ell, and her name is Nell, And she dwells in Threadneedle-street too.
Then Offering, he, with his dish and his tree, That in every great house keepeth, Is by my son, young Little-worth, done, And in Penny-rich street he sleepeth.
Last, Baby-cake that an end doth make Of Christmas, merry, merry vein-a, Is child Rowlan, and a straight young man, Though he come out of Crooked-lane-a.
There should have been, and a dozen I ween, But I could find but one more Child of Christmas, and a Log it was, When I them all had gone o'er.
I prayed him, in a time so trim, That he would make one to prance it; And I myself would have been the twelfth O' but Log he was too heavy to dance it.
Now, Cupid, come you on.
Cup. You worthy wights, king, lords, and knights, Or queen and ladies bright: Cupid invites you to the sights He shall present to-night.
Ven. 'Tis a good child, speak out; hold up your head, Love.
Cup. And which Cupid—and which Cupid—
Ven. Do not shake so, Robin; if thou be'st a-cold, I have some warm waters for thee here.
Chris. Come, you put Robin Cupid out with your water's and your fisling; will you be gone?
Ven. Ay, forsooth, he's a child, you must conceive, and must be used tenderly; he was never in such an assembly before, forsooth, but once at the Warmoll Quest, forsooth, where he said grace as prettily as any of the sheriff's hinch-boys, forsooth.
Chris. Will you peace, forsooth?
Cup. And which Cupid—and which Cupid—
Ven. Ay, that's a good boy, speak plain, Robin; how does his majesty like him, I pray? will he give eight-pence a day, think you? Speak out, Robin.
Chris. Nay, he is out enough. You may take him away, and begin your dance; this it is to have speeches.
Ven. You wrong the child, you do wrong the infant; I 'peal to his majesty.
Here they dance.
Chris. Well done, boys, my fine boys, my bully boys!
Sings. Nor do you think that their legs is all The commendation of my sons, For at the Artillery garden they shall As well forsooth use their guns,
And march as fine as the Muses nine, Along the streets of London; And in their brave tires, to give their false fires, Especially Tom my son.
Now if the lanes and the allies afford Such an ac-ativity as this; At Christmas next, if they keep their word, Can the children of Cheapside miss?
Though, put the case, when they come in place, They should not dance, but hop: Their very gold lace, with their silk, would 'em grace, Having so many knights o' the shop.
But were I so wise, I might seem to advise So great a potentate as yourself; They should, sir, I tell ye, spare't out of their belly, And this way spend some of their pelf.
Ay, and come to the court, for to make you some sport, At the least once every year, As Christmas hath done, with his seventh or eighth son, And his couple of daughters dear.
And thus it ended.
"His back, or rather burden showed As if it stooped with its own load. To poise this, equally he bore A paunch of the same bulk before, Which still he had a special care To keep well crammed with thrifty fare."
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash; The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of day to the objects below; When what to my wondering eyes should appear But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver so lively and quick I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came, And he whistled and shouted and called them by name: "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! now, Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixen! To the top of the stoop, to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas too; And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound; He was dressed all in furs from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back; And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. His eyes, how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face, and a little round belly That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle; But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Clement C. Moore.
THE HARD TIMES IN ELFLAND.
Strange that the termagant winds should scold The Christmas Eve so bitterly! But Wife, and Harry, the four-year old, Big Charley, Nimblewits, and I,
Blithe as the wind was bitter, drew More frontward of the mighty fire, Where wise Newfoundland Fan foreknew The heaven that Christian dogs desire—
Stretched o'er the rug, serene and grave, Huge nose on heavy paws reclined, With never a drowning boy to save, And warmth of body and peace of mind.
And as our happy circle sat, The fire well capp'd the company: In grave debate or careless chat, A right good fellow, mingled he:
He seemed as one of us to sit, And talked of things above, below, With flames more winsome than our wit, And coals that burned like love aglow.
While thus our rippling discourse rolled Smooth down the channel of the night, We spoke of Time: thereat, one told A parable of the seasons' flight.
Those seasons out, we talked of these: And I, with inward purpose sly, To shield my purse from Christmas-trees, And stockings, and wild robbery
When Hal and Nimblewits invade My cash in Santa Claus's name,— In full the hard, hard times surveyed, Denounced all waste as crime and shame;
Hinted that "waste" might be a term Including skates, velocipedes, Kites, marbles, soldiers, towers infirm, Bows, arrows, cannon, Indian reeds,
Cap-pistols, drums, mechanic toys, And all th' infernal host of horns Whereby to strenuous hells of noise Are turned the blessed Christmas morns;
Thus, roused—those horns! to sacred rage, I rose, forefinger high in air, When Harry cried, some war to wage, "Papa is hard times ev'ywhere?
"Maybe in Santa Claus's land It isn't hard times none at all!" Now, blessed vision! to my hand Most pat, a marvel strange did fall.
Scarce had my Harry ceased, when "Look!" He cried, leapt up in wild alarm, Ran to my Comrade, shelter took Beneath the startled mother's arm,
And so was still: what time we saw A foot hang down the fireplace! Then, With painful scrambling, scratched and raw, Two hands that seemed like hands of men,
Eased down two legs and a body through The blazing fire, and forth there came Before our wide and wondering view A figure shrinking half with shame,
And half with weakness. "Sir," I said, —But with a mien of dignity The seedy stranger raised his head: "My friends, I'm Santa Claus," said he.
But oh, how changed! That rotund face The new moon rivall'd, pale and thin; Where once was cheek, now empty space; Whate'er stood out, did now stand in.
His piteous legs scarce propped him up; His arms mere sickles seemed to be: But most o'erflowed our sorrow's cup When that we saw—or did not see—
His belly: we remembered how It shook like a bowl of jelly fine: An earthquake could not shake it now; He had no belly—not a sign.
"Yes, yes, old friends, you well may stare: I have seen better days," he said: "But now with shrinkage, loss, and care, Your Santa Claus scarce owns his head.
"We've had such hard, hard times this year For goblins! Never knew the like. All Elfland's mortgaged! And we fear That gnomes are just about to strike.
"I once was rich, and round, and hale, The whole world called me jolly brick; But listen to a piteous tale, Young Harry,—Santa Claus is sick!
"'Twas thus: a smooth-tongued railroad man Comes to my house and talks to me: 'I've got,' says he, 'a little plan That suits this nineteenth century.
"'Instead of driving as you do, Six reindeer slow from house to house, Let's build a Grand Trunk Railway through From here to earth's last terminus.
"'We'll touch at every chimney-top An Elevated Track, of course, Then, as we whisk you by, you'll drop Each package down: just think the force
"'You'll save, the time! Besides, we'll make Our millions: look you, soon we will Compete for freight—and then we'll take Dame Fortune's bales of good and ill—
"'Why, she's the biggest shipper, sir, That e'er did business in this world! Then Death, that ceaseless traveller, Shall on his rounds by us be whirled.
"'When ghosts return to walk with men, We'll bring 'em cheap by steam, and fast: We'll run a branch to heaven! and then We'll riot, man; for then, at last,
"'We'll make with heaven a contract fair To call each hour, from town to town, And carry the dead folks' souls up there, And bring the unborn babies down!'
"The plan seemed fair: I gave him cash, Nay every penny I could raise. My wife e'er cried, ''Tis rash, 'tis rash:' How could I know the stock-thief's ways?
"But soon I learned full well, poor fool! My woes began that wretched day. The President plied me like a tool, In lawyer's fees, and rights of way,
"Injunctions, leases, charters, I Was meshed as in a mighty maze; The stock ran low, the talk ran high, Then quickly flamed the final blaze.
"With never an inch of track—'tis true! The debts were large ... the oft-told tale. The President rolled in splendor new, —He bought my silver at the sale.
"Yes, sold me out: we've moved away. I've had to give up everything; My reindeer, even, whom I ... pray, Excuse me" ... here, o'er-sorrowing,
Poor Santa Claus burst into tears, Then calmed again: "My reindeer fleet, I gave them up: on foot, my dears, I now must plod through snow and sleet.
"Retrenchment rules in Elfland, now; Yes, every luxury is cut off, —Which, by the way, reminds me how I caught this dreadful hacking cough:
"I cut off the tail of my Ulster furred To make young Kris a coat of state That very night the storm occurred! Thus we become the sport of Fate.
"For I was out till after one, Surveying chimney-tops and roofs, And planning how it could be done Without any reindeers' bouncing hoofs.
"'My dear,' says Mrs. Claus, that night, A most superior woman she! 'It never, never can be right That you, deep sunk in poverty,
"'This year should leave your poor old bed, And trot about, bent down with toys; There's Kris a-crying now for bread— To give to other people's boys!
"'Since you've been out, the news arrives The Elfs' Insurance Company's gone. Ah, Claus, those premiums! Now, our lives Depend on yours: thus griefs go on.
"'And even while you're thus harassed, I do believe, if out you went, You'd go, in spite of all that's passed, To the children of that President!'
"Oh, Charley, Harry, Nimblewits, These eyes that night ne'er slept a wink; My path seemed honeycombed with pits, Naught could I do but think and think.
"But, with the day, my courage rose. Ne'er shall my boys, my boys, I cried, When Christmas morns their eyes unclose, Find empty stockings gaping wide!
"Then hewed, and whacked, and whittled I; The wife, the girls, and Kris took fire; They spun, sewed, cut,—till by and by We made, at home, my pack entire!"
He handed me a bundle here. "Now, hoist me up: there, gently: quick! Dear boys, don't look for much this year: Remember, Santa Claus is sick!"
Now he who knows Old Christmas, He knows a wight of worth, For he's as good a fellow As any on the earth; He comes warm-cloaked and coated, And buttoned to the chin; And ere he is a-nigh the door, We ope to let him in.
He comes with voice most cordial, It does one good to hear; For all the little children He asks each passing year: His heart is warm and gladsome, Not like your griping elves, Who, with their wealth in plenty, Think only of themselves.
He tells us witty stories, He sings with might and main; We ne'er forget his visit Till he comes back again. With laurel green and holly We make the house look gay; We know that it will please him, It was his ancient way.
Oh, he's a rare old fellow; What gifts he gives away! There's not a lord in England Could equal him to-day! Good luck unto Old Christmas, Long life now let us sing; He is more kind unto the poor Than any crowned king.
MRS. SANTA CLAUS.
The moon was like a frosted cake, The stars like flashing beads That round a brimming punch-bowl break 'Mid spice and almond seeds; And here and there a silver beam Made bright some curling cloud Uprising like the wassail's stream, Blown off by laughter loud.
It was the night of Christmas Eve, And good old Santa Claus His door was just about to leave, When something made him pause: "I haven't kissed my wife," quoth he, "I haven't said good-by." So back he went and lovingly He kissed her cap awry.
Now Mrs. Claus is just a bit— The least bit—of a shrew. What wonder? Only think of it— She has so much to do. Imagine all the stocking-legs, Of every size and shape, That hang upon their Christmas pegs With greedy mouths agape.
These she must fill, and when you see The northern skies aflame With quivering light, 'tis only she— This very quaint old dame— Striking a match against the Pole Her whale-oil lamp to light, That she may see to work, poor soul, At making toys all night.
"Odd he should kiss me," this she said Before the sleigh had gone; "'Tis many a year since we were wed; I'll follow him anon. For faithless husbands, one and all, Ere on their loves they wait, Their wives' suspicion to forestall Seem most affectionate."
So, pulling on her seal-skin sacque, Into her husband's sleigh She slipped, and hid behind his pack Just as he drove away. "Great Bears!" growled Santa in his beard, "A goodly freight have I; Were't fouler weather, I had feared The glacier path to try."
Yet none the less they safely sped Across the realms of snow— The glittering planets overhead, The sparkling frost below— Until the reindeer stopped before A mansion tall and fair, Up to whose wide and lofty door Inclined a marble stair.
So soundly all its inmates slept, They heard no stroke of hoof; No fall of foot as Santa leapt From pavement unto roof. So, down the chimney like a sweep He crept, and after him Went Mrs. Claus to have a peep At chambers warm and dim.
As luck would have it, there was hung A stocking by the fire To wear which no one over-young Could fittingly aspire: Long, slender, graceful—it was just The thing to fill the heart Of Mrs. C. with deep distrust; And—well—it played its part.
Scowling, she watched her husband fill The silken foot and leg With bonbons, fruit, and toys until It almost broke its peg. "My!" whispered Santa, "here's a crop. This little boy is wise; He knows I fill 'em to the top, No matter what the size."