At early morn, with simple skill,
Yet imitate the angels' song,
And chant their Christmas ditty still;
And, mid the storm that dies and swells
By fits, in hummings softly steals
The music of the village bells,
Ringing round their merry peals.
When this is past, a merry crew,
Bedeck'd in masks and ribbons gay,
The ‘Morris-dance,’ their sports renew,
And act their winter evening play.
The clown turn'd king, for penny-praise,
Storms with the actor's strut and swell;
And Harlequin, a laugh to raise,
Wears his hunchback and tinkling bell.
And oft for pence and spicy ale,
With winter nosegays pinn'd before,
The wassail-singer tells her tale,
And drawls her Christmas carols o'er.
While prentice boy, with ruddy face,
And rime-bepowder'd, dancing locks,
From door to door with happy pace,
Runs round to claim his ‘Christmas box.’
The block upon the fire is put,
To sanction custom's old desires;
And many a faggot's bands are cut,
For the old farmers' Christmas fires;
Where loud-tongued Gladness joins the throng,
And Winter meets the warmth of May,
Till feeling soon the heat too strong,
He rubs his shins, and draws away.
The Shepherd's Calendar
December (lines 33 - 64)
Posted by Arborfield at 9:00 am