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Author: Poetry of Robert Herrick Type: Poetry Views: 229

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No news of navies burnt at seas;

No noise of late spawn'd tittyries;

No closet plot or open vent,

That frights men with a Parliament:

No new device or late-found trick,

To read by th' stars the kingdom's sick;

No gin to catch the State, or wring

The free-born nostril of the King,

We send to you; but here a jolly

Verse crown'd with ivy and with holly;

That tells of winter's tales and mirth

That milk-maids make about the hearth;

Of Christmas sports, the wassail-bowl,

That toss'd up, after Fox-i'-th'-hole;

Of Blind-man-buff, and of the care

That young men have to shoe the Mare;

Of twelf-tide cakes, of pease and beans,

Wherewith ye make those merry scenes,

Whenas ye chuse your king and queen,

And cry out, 'Hey for our town green!'--

Of ash-heaps, in the which ye use

Husbands and wives by streaks to chuse;

Of crackling laurel, which fore-sounds

A plenteous harvest to your grounds;

Of these, and such like things, for shift,

We send instead of New-year's gift.

--Read then, and when your faces shine

With buxom meat and cap'ring wine,

Remember us in cups full crown'd,

And let our city-health go round,

Quite through the young maids and the men,

To the ninth number, if not ten;

Until the fired chestnuts leap

For joy to see the fruits ye reap,

From the plump chalice and the cup

That tempts till it be tossed up.--

Then as ye sit about your embers,

Call not to mind those fled Decembers;

But think on these, that are t' appear,

As daughters to the instant year;

Sit crown'd with rose-buds, and carouse,

Till LIBER PATER twirls the house

About your ears, and lay upon

The year, your cares, that's fled and gone:

And let the russet swains the plough

And harrow hang up resting now;

And to the bag-pipe all address,

Till sleep takes place of weariness.

And thus throughout, with Christmas plays,

Frolic the full twelve holy-days.


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