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Where, creaming o'er the pitcher's rim,
The flowering ale is set to warm.
Sits there its pleasures to impart,
Sing scraps of carols off by heart.
And some, to view the winter weathers,
Climb up the window seat with glee,
In fancy's infant ecstacy;
O’er visions wild that youth supplies,
And keeping Christmas in the skies.
As though the homestead trees were drest,
In lieu of snow, with dancing leaves,
Instead of ic'cles hung the eaves;
As if the snow were April's grass,
Sport o'er the water froze to glass.
Thou day of happy sound and mirth,
That long with childish memory stars,
I met thee in my younger days,
On presents which thy coming found,
The Christmas gift of cousins round.
Old customs ! Oh! I love the sound,
However simple they may be;
Is welcome, and is dear to me,
And spurns them from her haughty mind;
The only refuge they can find.
Those Christmas bells as sweetly chime,
As on the day when first they rung
And far and wide their music flung:
They still proclaim to every ear,
Then he came singing through the woods,
And plucked the holly bright and green ;
Was sometimes hidden, sometimes seen-
And still he ever carolled clear,
He merrily came in days of old,
When roads were few, and ways were foul,
Now drank deep from his wassail bowl;
For reeling here and reeling there,
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.
A summer-green hung everywhere,
His jaded steed the armed knight
Reined up before the abbey gate;
From humble monk, to abbot great.
CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR.
And then brought out the best of cheer,
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.
While music sounded loud and clear;
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.
Are ever standing ready there,
No marvel Christmas lives so long,
He never knew but merry hours,
In happy homes, and princely bowers;
While every voice cried “Welcome here,”
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?
Than are to-night assembled here,
For those old times are dead and gone,
And those who hailed them passed away,
To welcome in old Christmas Day.
But, as they each enjoy their cheer,
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,