Imágenes de páginas

When all aloud the wind doth blow,

And coughing drowns the parson's saw, And birds sit brooding in the snow,

And Marian's nose looks red and raw;

[graphic][merged small]


Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes,
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed, and so gracious is the time.



Next came the chill December :

Yet he, through merry feasting which he made And great bonfires, did not the cold remember ;

His Saviour's birth his mind so much did glad :

Upon a shaggy bearded goat he rode,
The same wherewith Dan Jove in tender years,

They say, was nourished by th’ Iæan maid ;
And in his hand a broad deep bowl he bears,
Of which he freely drinks an health to all his peers.

Lastly, came Winter clothed all in frieze,

Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill; Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freeze,

And the dull drops, that from his purpled bill,

As from a limbeck, did adown distil: In his right hand a tipped staff he held,

With which his feeble steps he stayed still; For he was faint with cold, and weak with eld, That scarce his loosèd limbs he able was to wield.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Thou, in the winter, hunt'st the flying hare,

More for thy exercise, than fare ; While all that follow, their glad ears apply

To the full greatness of the cry ;

Or hawking at the river, or the bush,

Or shooting at the greedy thrush,
Thou dost with some delight the day out wear,

Although the coldest of the year!
The whilst the several seasons thou hast seen

Of flow'ry fields, of copses green,
The mowed meadows, with the fleecèd sheep,

And feasts that either shearers keep;
The ripened ears, yet humble in their height,

And furrows laden with their weight; The apple-harvest, that doth longer last ;

The hogs returned home fat from mast ;* The trees cut out in log, and those boughs made

A fire now, that lent a shade!
Thus Pan and Sylvan, having had their rites,

Comus puts in for new delights,
And fills thy open hall with mirth and cheer,

As if in Saturn's reign it were ;
Apollo's harp, and Hermes' lyre resound,

Nor are the Muscs strangers found : The rout of rural folk come thronging in,

(Their rudeness then is thought no sin,) Thy noblest spouse affords them welcome grace ;

And the great heroes of her race Sit mixt with loss of state, or reverence.

Freedom doth with degree dispense. The jolly wassail walks the often round,

And in their cups their cares are drowned.

• The fruit of the oak or beech.


The annexed is the only Carol on bringing in the Boar’s Head that belongs to the era of Elizabeth and her successor James I. It was used before the Christmas Prince at St. John the Baptist's College, Oxford, in 1607. The engraving below is from an ancient carving, which is supposed to have been the veritable sign of the famous Boar's Head tavern in Eastcheap.


HE Boar is dead,
Lo, here is his head :

What man could have done more

Than his head off to strike,
Meleager like,

And bring it as I do before?


r He living spoiled
- Where good men toiled,

Which made kind Ceres sorry;
But now, dead and drawn,
Is very good brawn,

And we have brought it for ye.

Then set down the swineyard,
The foe to the vineyard,

Let Bacchus crown his fall;
Let this boar's head and mustard
Stand for pig, goose, and custard,

And so you are welcome all.

« AnteriorContinuar »