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Where, creaming o'er the pitcher’s rim,

The flowering ale is set to warm.
Mirth full of joy as summer bees

Sits there its pleasures to impart,
And children, 'tween their parents' knees,

Sing scraps of carols off by heart.

And some, to view the winter weathers,

Climb up the window seat with glee,
Likening the snow to falling feathers,

In fancy's infant ecstacy;
Laughing, with superstitious love,

O’er visions wild that youth supplies,
Of people pulling geese above,

And keeping Christmas in the skies.

As though the homestead trees were drest,

In lieu of snow, with dancing leaves,
As though the sun-dried martin's nest,

Instead of ic'cles hung the eaves;
The children hail the happy day-

As if the snow were April's grass,
And pleased, as ’neath the warmth of May,

Sport o'er the water froze to glass.

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Thou day of happy sound and mirth,

That long with childish memory stays,
How blest around the cottage hearth,

I met thee in my younger days,
Harping, with rapture's dreaming joys,

On presents which thy coming found,
The welcome sight of little toys,

The Christmas gift of cousins round.

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Old customs! Oh! I love the sound,

However simple they may be ;
Whate'er with time hath sanction found,

Is welcome, and is dear to me,
Pride grows above simplicity,

And spurns them from her haughty mind;
And soon the poet's song will be

The only refuge they can find.

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THOSE Christmas bells as sweetly chime,

As on the day when first they rung
So merrily in the olden time,

And far and wide their music flung:
Shaking the tall grey ivied tower,
With all their deep melodious power:

They still proclaim to every ear,
Old Christmas comes but once a year.

Then he came singing through the woods,

And plucked the holly bright and green ;
Pulled here and there the ivy buds ;

Was sometimes hidden, sometimes seen-
Half-buried 'neath the mistletoe,
His long beard hung with flakes of snow;

And still he ever carolled clear,
Old Christmas comes but once a year.

He merrily came in days of old,

When roads were few, and ways were foul,
Now staggered,—now some ditty trolled,

Now drank deep from his wassail bowl;
His holly silvered o’er with frost.
Nor never once


he lost,
For reeling here and reeling there,
Old Christmas came but once a year.


The hall was then with holly crowned,

’T was on the wild-deer's antlers placed ; It hemmed the battered armour round,

And every ancient trophy graced.
It decked the boar's head, tusked and grim,
The wassail bowl wreathed to the brim.

A summer-green hung everywhere,
For Christmas came but once a year.

His jaded steed the armed knight


before the abbey gate;
By all assisted to alight,

From humble monk, to abbot great.
They placed his lance behind the door,
His armour on the rush-strewn floor;


And then brought out the best of cheer,
For Christmas came but once a year.

The maiden then, in quaint attire,

Loosed from her head the silken hood, And danced before the yule-clog fire

The crackling monarch of the wood.
Helmet and shield flashed back the blaze,
In lines of light, like summer rays,

While music sounded loud and clear;
For Christmas came but once a year.

What, though upon his hoary head,

Have fallen many a winter's snow, His wreath is still as green and red

As 't was a thousand years ago.
For what has he to do with care?
His wassail bowl and old arm-chair

Are ever standing ready there,
For Christmas comes but once a year.

No marvel Christmas lives so long,

He never knew but merry hours,
His nights were spent with mirth and song,

In happy homes, and princely bowers;
Was greeted both by serf and lord,
And seated at the festal board;

While every voice cried “Welcome here,”
Old Christmas comes but once a year.

But what care we for days of old,

The knights whose arms have turned to rust,

Their grim boars' heads, and pasties cold,

Their castles crumbled into dust?
Never did sweeter faces go,
Blushing beneath the mistletoe,

Than are to-night assembled here,
For Christmas still comes once a year.

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For those old times are dead and gone,

And those who hailed them passed away,
Yet still there lingers many a one,

To welcome in old Christmas Day.
The poor will many a care forget,
The debtor think not of his debt ;

But, as they each enjoy their cheer,
Wish it was Christmas all the year.

And still around these good old times

We hang like friends full loth to part, We listen to the simple rhymes

Which somehow sink into the heart,

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