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Wassail! wassail! Ye merry men, hail,
Who brightened the days of old; What brave conceits, and humoursome feats, Are sung
our fathers bold.
They revelled in careless glee,
As the notes of their minstrelsy.
Wassail! wassail! At the knight's regale
"Twas the signal for deep carouse, Nor there alone, for the joyous tone
Shook many a priestly house ;
Swrounded by goodly cheer,
To the utter contempt of care.
Wassail! wassail! cried the yeoman hale,
As he shouldered his quarter-staff,
Awaiting his hearty quaff ;
Of a frank good-hearted mirth,
Was the happiest place on earth!
ADDRESSED TO THE REV. DR. WORDSWORTH.
HE Minstrels played their Christinas 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
IIad 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 :
In honour of each household name,
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,
How touching, when, at midnight, sweep
Snow-muffled winds and all is dark, To hear—and sink again to 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 unbidden 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,
Ilail, ancient Manners ! sure defence,
Where they survive, of wholesome laws;
Thus into narrow room withdraws;
Bear with me, Brother! quench the thought
That slights this passion, or condemns ;
From the proud margin of the Thames,
Yes, they can make, who fail to find,
Short leisure even in busiest days;
And profit by those kindly rays
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
Hence, while the imperial City's din
Beats frequent on thy satiate ear,
To agitations less severe,
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
(SAMUEL T. COLERIDGE.)
The shepherds went their hasty way,
And found the lowly stable shed
And now they checked their eager tread,
They told her how a glorious light,
Streaming from a heavenly throng,
While, sweeter than a mother's song,
She listened to the tale divine,
And closer still the babe she pressed : And while she cried, the babe is mine!
The milk rushed faster to her breast :