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What dogs before his death he tore,
Wassail! wassail! Ye merry men, hail,
Who brightened the days of old ;
Are sung of our fathers bold.
They revelled in careless glee,
As the notes of their minstrelsy.
Wassail! wassail! At the knight's regale
"T was the signal for deep carouse, Nor there alone, for the joyous tone
Shook many a priestly house ;
Surrounded 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 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 :
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;
A true revival of the light,
For pleasure hath not ceased to wait
On these expected annual rounds;
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.