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Where consecrated branches spread Their weeping tendrils o'er the dead; While there the elm and sable yew Lend all their ruggedness to view, Nor shield they now with leafy bloom The villager's unsculptured tomb ; As when, with summer foliage crowned, They hid from gaze each little mound. Lo, where a goodly blooming train, The maiden artless, and the swain ; They hear the summons from afar, And gather where the holy are. The aged sire there bends his way, Yo staff his feeble arm to stay, But one whose joy has been to share, As now, thro’ life his pious prayer. They bie their tribute just to pay To Ilim who lengthened has their day ; Within yon deeply shaded pile Where meek Religion's seen to smile, As if the wayward to beguile; While decked with modest evergreen IIer sanctuary may be seen ; A token sure of heavenly grace, Befitting such a holy place. The Squire upon his bended knee, With all his family we see, Gracing the velvet cushioned pew With every mcek observance due. O may each humble heart now share The Church's vencrable prayer, Arid may this day of all the year
The best and holiest appear :
Glad Christmas comes, and every hearth
Makes room to give him welcome now, E’en want will dry its tears in mirth,
And crown him with a holly bough ;
O’er snowy paths and rimy stiles,
To bid him welcome with her smiles.
Each house is swept the day before,
And windows stuck with evergreens, The snow is besomed from the door,
And comfort crowns the cottage scenes. Gilt holly with its thorny pricks,
And yew, and box, with berries small, These deck the unused candlesticks,
And pictures hanging by the wall.
Neighbours resume their annual cheer,
Wishing, with smiles and spirits high, Glad Christmas and a happy year,
To every morning passer-by;
The shepherd now no more afraid,
Since custom doth the chance bestow, Starts up to kiss the giggling maid,
Beneath the branch of mistletoe, That 'neath each cottage beam is seen,
With pearl-like berries shining gay; The shadow still of what hath been,
Which fashion yearly fades away,
The singing waits--a merry throng,
At early morn, with simple skill, Yet imitate the angel's song,
And chaunt their Christmas ditty still ;
And, 'mid the storm that dies and swells
By fits, in hummings softly steals
Ringing around their merry peals.
When this is past, a merry crew,
Bedecked in masks and ribbons gay,
And act their winter evening play.
Storms with the actor's strut and swell,
Wears his hunch-back and tinkling bell.
And oft for pence and spicy ale,
With winter nosegays pinned before,
And drawls her Christmas carols o'er.
And rime-bepowdered dancing locks,
Runs round to claim his “ Christmas-box."
The block upon the fire is put,
To sanction custom's old desires,
For the old farmer's Christmas fires :
And Winter meets the warmth of May,
He rubs his shins and draws away.
While snows the window-panes bedim,
The fire curls up a sunny charm,