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AO Christmas Poems AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline Christmas Poems

(AO suggested stories, poems, Thanksgiving hymns, and Christmas music for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.)

Doug Anderson and Richard Jordan's * Christmas Poetry, Prose and Recordings website offers a clearinghouse of public domain poems and prose for Christmas. Besides poets that are scheduled with AO for school (and additional poems by those poets than our Christmas collection includes), they have poems by Edward Thring, George Wither, Louisa May Alcott, Andrew Lang, Robert Frost, John Kleble... Theirs is a very nice collection for those who want more Christmas poems than what AO has here. Their FAQ says, "The purpose of this site is to preserve the rich history of carols and hymns which might otherwise be lost."

Poems are loosely arranged by date.



01 - Good News From Heaven The Angels Sing A Christmas Carol For Children by Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Good news from heaven the angels bring,
Glad tidings to the earth they sing:
To us this day a child is given,
To crown us with the joy of heaven.

This is the Christ, our God and Lord,
Who in all need shall aid afford:
He will Himself our Saviour be,
From sin and sorrow set us free.

To us that blessedness He brings,
Which from the Father's bounty springs:
That in the heavenly realm we may
With Him enjoy eternal day.

All hail, Thou noble Guest, this morn,
Whose love did not the sinner scorn!
In my distress Thou cam'st to me:
What thanks shall I return to Thee?

Were earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.

Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child!
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

Praise God upon His heavenly throne,
Who gave to us His only Son:
For this His hosts, on joyful wing,
A blest New Year of mercy sing.




02 - Of Christ Cometh Christmas by Thomas Tusser (1524-1580)

Of Christ cometh Christmas, the name with the feast,
A time full of joy, to the greatest and least;
At Christmas was Christ, our Saviour, born,--
The world through sin altogether forlorn.

At Christmas the days do begin to take length,
Of Christ doth religion, chiefly take strength:
As Christmas is only a figure or trope,
So only in Christ is the strength of our hope.

At Christmas we banquet, the rich with the poor,
Who then, but the miser, but openeth his door?
At Christmas, of Christ many carols we sing,
And give many gifts, in the joy of that king.

At Christmas, in Christ we rejoice, and be glad,
As only of whom our comfort is had:
At Christmas, we joy altogether with mirth,
For his sake, that joyed us all with his birth.




03 - New Prince, New Pomp by Robert Southwell (1561-1595)

Behold a silly tender Babe
        In freezing winter night;
In homely manger trembling lies,
        Alas a piteous sight:
The inns are full, no man will yield
        This little Pilgrim bed,
But forced He is with silly beasts,
        In crib to shroud His head.
Despise Him not for lying there,
        First what He is enquire:
An orient pearl is often found,
        In depth of dirty mire;
Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,
        Nor beasts that by Him feed:
Weigh not His mother's poor attire,
        Nor Joseph's simple weed.
This stable is a Prince's court,
        The crib His chair of state:
The beasts are parcel of His pomp,
        The wooden dish His plate.
The persons in that poor attire,
        His royal liveries wear,
The Prince Himself is come from heaven,
        This pomp is prized there.
With joy approach, O Christian wight,
        Do homage to thy King,
And highly prize this humble pomp,
        Which He from heaven doth bring.




04 - Song of the Holly by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
Then heigh ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly!
(From As You Like It)




05 - by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

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 dare 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.
(From Hamlet)




06 - Nativity by John Donne (1572-1631)

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov'd imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod's jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith's eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.




07 - A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior by Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

I sing the birth was born tonight,
The Author both of life and light;
      The angels so did sound it,
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
      Yet searched, and true they found it.

The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
      And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heav'n and earth did make,
      Was now laid in a manger.

The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no "No,"
      Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
      And took on Him our nature.

What comfort by Him do we win?
Who made Himself the Prince of sin,
      To make us heirs of glory?
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A Martyr born in our defense,
      Can man forget this story?




08 - An Ode of the Birth of our Savior by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

In numbers, and but these few,
I sing Thy birth, Oh, Jesu!
Thou pretty Baby, born here,
With sup'rabundant scorn here:
      Who for Thy princely port here,
            Hadst for Thy place
            Of birth, a base
      Out-stable for Thy court here.

Instead of neat inclosures
Of interwoven osiers,
Instead of fragrant posies,
Of daffodils and roses,
      Thy cradle, kingly Stranger,
            As Gospel tells,
            Was nothing else,
      But, here, a homely manger.

But we with silks (not cruels),
With sundry precious jewels,
And lily-work will dress Thee
      Of clouts; we'll make a chamber,
            Sweet Babe, for Thee,
            Of ivory,
      And plastered round with amber.

The Jews they did disdain Thee,
But we will entertain Thee
With glories to await here
Upon Thy princely state here,
      And more for love, than pity.
            From year to year
            We'll make Thee, here,
      A free-born of our city.




09 - from A Christmas Carol, Sung to the King in the Presence at White-Hall by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!
Heart, ear, and eye, and everything.
Awake! the while the active finger
Runs division with the singer.

   Come and see
   The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
   'Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
   Gives life and luster, public mirth,
   To heaven, and the under-earth.

   The darling of the world is come,
   And fit it is, we find a room
   To welcome Him.




10 - Christmas (II) by George Herbert (1593-1633)

All after pleasures as I rode one day,
      My horse and I both tired, body and mind,
      With full cry of affections, quite astray,
I took up in the next inn I could find.

There, when I came, whom found I but my dear--
      My dearest Lord; expecting till the grief
      Of pleasures brought me to Him, ready there
To be all passengers' most sweet relief?

O Thou, whose glorious yet contracted light
      Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger;
      Since my dark soul and brutish is Thy right,
To man, of all beasts, be not Thou a stranger;

      Furnish and deck my soul, that Thou mayst have
      A better lodging than a rack or grave.

The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
      My God, no hymn for Thee?
My soul's a shepherd too; a flock it feeds
      Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is Thy word, the streams Thy grace,
      Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
      Outsing the daylight hours.
Then we will chide the sun for letting night
      Take up his place and right:
We sing one common Lord; wherefore He should
      Himself the candle hold.
I will go searching till I find a sun
      Shall stay, till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly
      As frost-nipt suns look sadly.
Then we will sing and shine all our own day,
      And one another pay.
His beams shall cheer my heart, and both so twine,
Till e'en his beams sing and my music shine.




11 - from On the Morning of Christ's Nativity by John Milton (1608-1674)

This is the month, and this the happy morn
      Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
      Our great redemption from above did bring;
      For so the holy sages once did sing,
            That he our deadly forfeit should release,
            And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
      And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty,
Wherwith he wont at Heaven's high council-table,
      To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
      He laid aside; and here with us to be,
            Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
            And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
      Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
      To welcome him to this his new abode,
      Now while the heaven, by the Sun's team untrod,
            Hath took no print of the approching light,
            And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?

See how from far upon the Eastern rode
      The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
      And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
      Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
            And join thy voice unto the angel choir,
            From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.




12 - from On the Morning of Christ's Nativity by John Milton (1608-1674)

It was the winter wild,
While the Heav'n-born child,
            All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in awe to him
Had doffed her gaudy trim,
            With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour.

No war or battle's sound
Was heard the world around;
            The idle spear and shield were high uphung;
The hooked chariot stood
Unstained with hostile blood;
            The trumpet spake not to the armed throng;
And kings sate still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sov'reign Lord was by.

But peaceful was the night
Wherein the Prince of Light
            His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kissed,
            Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.

The Stars with deep amaze
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,
            Bending one way their precious influence;
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,
            Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence,
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

The shepherds on the lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,
            Sate simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they than
That the mighty Pan
            Was kindly come to live with them below:
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep;

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
            As never was by mortal finger strook,
Divinely warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,
            As all their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heav'nly close.

Ring out ye crystal spheres!
Once bless our human ears
            (If ye have power to touch our senses so)
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,
            And let the bass of Heav'n's deep organ blow;
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to th'angelic symphony.

Yea, Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men,
            Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between,
Thron'd in celestial sheen,
            With radiant feet the tissu'd clouds down steering;
And Heav'n, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.

But see, the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest:
            Time is our tedious song should here have ending.
Heav'n's youngest-teemed star,
Hath fixed her polished car,
            Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;
And all about the courtly stable,
Bright-harness'd Angels sit in order serviceable.




13 - from Christ's Nativity by Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

Awake, glad heart! Get up and sing,
It is the birthday of thy King,
      Awake! Awake!
      The sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.

I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for Thee! Or that my heart
      Were so clean as
      Thy manger was!
But I am all filth, and obscene,
Yet if Thou wilt, Thou canst make clean.

Sweet Jesu! will then; Let no more
This leper haunt, and soil Thy door,
      Cure him, ease him
      O release him!
And let once more by mystic birth
The Lord of life be born in earth.




14 - from A Cradle Hymn by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Hush! my dear, lie still and slumber,
      Holy Angels guard thy bed;
Heavenly blessings without number
      Gently falling on thy head.

How much better thou'rt attended
      Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven He descended,
      And became a child like thee!

Soft and easy is thy cradle:
      Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When His birthplace was a stable,
      And His softest bed was hay.

See the kinder shepherds round Him,
      Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought Him, there they found Him
      With His Virgin-Mother by.

Lo, He slumbers in His manger,
      Where the horned oxen fed;
--Peace, my darling, here's no danger;
      Here's no ox a-near thy bed!

May'st thou live to know and fear Him,
      Trust and love Him all thy days;
Then go dwell forever near Him,
      See His face and sing His praise!




15 - from An Old Time Christmas from Marmion by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Heap on more wood!--the wind is chill;
But, let it whistle as it will,
We'll keep our Christmas merry still.
Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer:

And well our Christian sires of old
Loved when the year its course had rolled
And brought blithe Christmas back again
With all his hospitable train.
Domestic and religious rite
Gave honor to the holy night:
On Christmas eve the bells were rung;
On Christmas eve the mass was sung;
That only night, in all the year,
Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dressed with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the mistletoe.

All hailed, with uncontrolled delight,
And general voice, the happy night
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.

The fire, with well-dried logs supplied,
Went roaring up the chimney wide;
The huge hall-table's oaken face,
Scrubbed till it shone, the day to grace,
Bore then upon its massive board
No mark to part the squire and lord.

The wassail round, in good brown bowls,
Garnished with ribbons, blithely trowls,
There the huge sirloin reeked; hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie;
Nor failed old Scotland to produce,
At such high tide, her savory goose.
Then came the merry maskers in,
And carols roared with blithesome din;
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong.

England was merry England, when
Old Christmas brought his sports again.
'Twas Christmas broached the mightiest ale;
'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year.




16 - A Christmas Carol by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

The shepherds went their hasty way,
      And found the lowly stable-shed
Where the Virgin-Mother lay:
      And now they checked their eager tread,
            For to the Babe that at her bosom clung,
            A Mother's song the Virgin-Mother sung.

They told her how a glorious light,
      Streaming from a heavenly throng.
Around them shone, suspending night!
      While sweeter than a mother's song,
            Blest Angels heralded the Savior's birth,
            Glory to God on high! and Peace on Earth!

She listened to the tale divine,
      And closer still the Babe she pressed:
And while she cried, the Babe is mine!
      The milk rushed faster to her breast:
            Joy rose within her, like a summer's morn;
            Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born!

Thou Mother of the Prince of Peace,
      Poor, simple, and of a low estate!
That strife should vanish, battle cease,
      O why should this thy soul elate?
            Sweet Music's loudest note, the Poet's story,--
            Didst thou ne'er love to hear of fame and glory?

"Then wisely is my soul elate,
      That strife should vanish, battle cease:
I'm poor and of low estate,
      The Mother of the Prince of Peace.
            Joy rises in me, like a summer's morn:
            Peace, Peace on Earth! The Prince of Peace is born!"




17 - Christmas Day by Samuel Rickards (1796-1865)

Though rude winds usher thee, sweet day,
      Though clouds thy face deform,
Though nature's grace is swept away
      Before thy sleety storm;
            E'en in thy sombrest wintry vest,
            Of blessed days thou art most blest.

Nor frigid air nor gloomy morn
      Shall check our jubilee;
Bright is the day when Christ was born,
      No sun need shine but He;
            Let roughest storms their coldest blow,
            With love of Him our hearts shall glow.

Inspired with high and holy thought,
      Fancy is on the wing;
It seems as to mine ear it brought
      Those voices carolling,
            Voices through heaven and earth that ran,
            Glory to God, good-will to man.

I see the shepherds gazing wild
      At those fair spirits of light;
I see them bending o'er the child
      With that untold delight,
            Which marks the face of those who view
            Things but too happy to be true.

There, in the lowly manger laid,
      Incarnate God they see,
He stoops to take, through spotless maid,
      Our frail humanity;
            Son of high God, creations Heir,
            He leaves His heaven to raise us there.

Through Him, Lord, we are born anew,
      Thy children once again,
Oh, day by day our hearts renew,
      That Thine we may remain;
            And angel-like, may all agree,
            One sweet and holy family.

Oft as this joyous morn doth come
      To speak our Saviour's love,
Oh, may it bear our spirits home
      Where He now reigns above;
            That day which brought Him from the skies
            So man restores to Paradise.




18 - from The Three Kings by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Three Kings came riding from far away,
      Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;
Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
      For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

The star was so beautiful, large and clear,
      That all the other stars of the sky
Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this they knew that the coming was near
      Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

"Of the child that is born," said Baltasar,
      "Good people, I pray you, tell us the news;
For we in the East have seen his star,
And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
      To find and worship the King of the Jews."

And the people answered, "You ask in vain;
      We know of no King but Herod the Great!"
They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plain,
      Like riders in haste, who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem,
      Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
And said, "Go down unto Bethlehem,
      And bring me tidings of this new king."

So they rode away; and the star stood still,
      The only one in the grey of morn;
Yes, it stopped --it stood still of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
      The city of David, where Christ was born.

And cradled there in the scented hay,
      In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,
The child, that would be king one day
      Of a kingdom not human, but divine.

They laid their offerings at his feet:
      The gold was their tribute to a King,
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,
      The myrrh for the body's burying.

Then the Kings rode out of the city gate,
      With a clatter of hoofs in proud array;
But they went not back to Herod the Great,
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
      And returned to their homes by another way.




19 - Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
      And wild and sweet
      The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
      Had rolled along
      The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
      A voice, a chime,
      A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
      And with the sound
      The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
'There is no peace on earth,' I said;
      'For hate is strong,
      And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!'

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
      The Wrong shall fail,
      The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!'




2o - The Joy of Giving by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Somehow, not only for Christmas,
      But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
      Is the joy that comes back to you.

And the more you spend in blessing
      The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing
      Returns to make you glad.




21 - The Christmas of 1888 by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Low in the east, against a white, cold dawn,
The black-lined silhouette of the woods was drawn,
     And on a wintry waste
Of frosted streams and hillsides bare and brown,
Through thin cloud-films a pallid ghost looked down,
     The waning moon half-faced.

In that pale sky and sere, snow-waiting earth,
What sign was there of the immortal birth?
     What herald of the One?
Lo! swift as thought the heavenly radiance came,
A rose-red splendor swept the sky like flame,
     Up rolled the round, bright sun!

And all was changed. From a transfigured world
The moon's ghost fled, the smoke of home-hearths curled
     Up to the still air unblown.
In Orient warmth and brightness, did that morn
O'er Nain and Nazereth, when the Christ was born,
     Break fairer than our own?

The morning's promise noon and eve fulfilled
In warm, soft sky and landscape hazy-filled
     And sunset fair as they;
A sweet reminder of His holiest time,
A summer-miracle in our winter clime,
     God gave a perfect day.

The near was blended with the old and far,
And Bethlehem's hillside and the Magi's star
     Seemed here, as there and then, --
Our homestead pine-tree was the Syrian palm,
Our heart's desire the angels' midnight psalm,
     Peace, and good-will to men!




22 - End of the Play by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

One wish ere yet the long year ends;
      Let's close it with a parting rhyme,
A pledge, a hand, to all our friends
      As fits the merry Christmas time.

On life's wide scene you, too, have parts,
      That Fate ere long shall bid you play;
Good-night: with honest, gentle hearts,
      A kindly greeting go alway.




23 - from The Mahogany Tree by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

Christmas is here;
      Winds whistle shrill,
      Icy and chill,
Little care we;
Little we fear
      Weather without,
      Shelter'd about
The Mahogany Tree.

Once on the boughs
      Birds of rare plume
      Sang, in its bloom;
Night birds are we;
Here we carouse,
      Singing, like them,
      Perch'd round the stem
Of the jolly old tree.

Evenings we knew,
      Happy as this;
      Faces we miss,
Pleasant to see.
Kind hearts and true,
      Gentle and just,
      Peace to your dust!
We sing round the tree.




24 - The Eve Of Christmas, excerpt from In Memoriam A.H.H. XXVII by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

The time draws near the birth of Christ:
      The moon is hid; the night is still,
      The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
      From far and near, on mead and moor,
      Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
      That now dilate, and now decrease,
      Peace and good will, good will and peace,
Peace and good will, to all mankind.




25 - A Christmas Carol by James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

"What means this glory round our feet,"
The Magi mused, "more bright than morn?"
And voices chanted clear and sweet,
"To-day the Prince of Peace is born!"

"What means that star," the Shepherds said,
"That brightens through the rocky glen?"
And angels, answering overhead,
Sang, "Peace on earth, good-will to men!"

'Tis eighteen hundred years and more
Since those sweet oracles were dumb;
We wait for Him, like them of yore;
Alas, He seems so slow to come!

But it was said, in words of gold,
No time or sorrow e'er shall dim,
That little children might be bold
In perfect trust to come to Him.

All round about our feet shall shine
A light like that the wise men saw,
If we our loving wills incline
To that sweet Life which is the Law.

So shall we learn to understand
The simple faith of shepherds then,
And, clasping kindly hand in hand,
Sing, "Peace on earth, good-will to men!"

But they who do their souls no wrong,
But keep at eve the faith of morn,
Shall daily hear the angel-song,
"To-day the Prince of Peace is born!"




26 - from Christmas by Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)

This happy day, whose risen sun
      Shall set not through eternity,
This holy day when Christ the Lord,
      Took on him our humanity,

For little children everywhere
      A joyous season still we make,
We bring our precious gifts to them,
      Even for the dear child Jesus' sake.

The blessed Babe of Bethlehem!
      Whose life we love, whose name we laud;
Thou Brother, through whose poverty,
      We have become the heirs of God;

O holy Child, about whose bed
      The virgin mother softly trod
Dead once, yet living evermore
      O Son of Mary, and of God!




27 - Music on Christmas Morning by Anne Bronte (1820-1849)

Music I love--but never strain
Could kindle raptures so divine,
So grief assuage, so conquer pain,
And rouse this pensive heart of mine--
As that we hear on Christmas morn,
Upon the wintry breezes borne.

Though Darkness still her empire keep,
And hours must pass, ere morning break;
From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,
That music kindly bids us wake:
It calls us, with an angel's voice,
To wake, and worship, and rejoice;

To greet with joy the glorious morn,
Which angels welcomed long ago,
When our redeeming Lord was born,
To bring the light of Heaven below;
The Powers of Darkness to dispel,
And rescue Earth from Death and Hell.

While listening to that sacred strain,
My raptured spirit soars on high;
I seem to hear those songs again
Resounding through the open sky,
That kindled such divine delight,
In those who watched their flocks by night.

With them, I celebrate His birth--
Glory to God, in highest Heaven,
Good-will to men, and peace on Earth,
To us a Saviour-king is given;
Our God is come to claim His own,
And Satan's power is overthrown!

A sinless God, for sinful men,
Descends to suffer and to bleed;
Hell must renounce its empire then;
The price is paid, the world is freed,
And Satan's self must now confess,
That Christ has earned a Right to bless:

Now holy Peace may smile from heaven,
And heavenly Truth from earth shall spring:
The captive's galling bonds are riven,
For our Redeemer is our king;
And He that gave his blood for men
Will lead us home to God again.




28 - Christmas Carol by Edwin Waugh (1817-1890)

Long time ago, in Palestine,
      Upon a wintry morn.
All in a lowly cattle shed,
      The Prince of Peace was born.

The clouds fled from the gloomy sky;
      The winds in silence lay;
And the stars shone bright, with strange delight,
      To welcome in that day.

His parents they were simple folk,
      And simple lives they led;
And in the ways of righteousness
      This little Child was bred.

In gentle thought, and gentle deed,
      His early days went by;
And the light His youthful steps did lead
      Came down from heaven on high.

He was the friend of all the poor
      That wander here below;
It was His only joy on earth
      To ease them of their woe.

In vain He trod His holy path,
      By sorrow sorely tried;
It was for all mankind He lived,
      And for mankind He died.

Like Him, let us be just and pure,
      Like Him, be true alway;
That we may find the peace of mind
      That never fades away.




29 - This is Christmas Morning by Edwin Waugh (1817-1890)

Come all you weary wanderers,
Beneath the wintry sky;
This day forget your worldly cares,
And lay your sorrows by;
      Awake, and sing;
      The church bells ring;
For this is Christmas morning!

With grateful hearts salute the morn,
And swell the streams of song,
That laden with great joy are borne,
The willing air along;
      The tidings thrill
      With right good will;
For this is Christmas morning!

We'll twine the fresh green holly wreath,
And make the yule-log glow;
And gather gaily underneath
The winking mistletoe;
      All blithe and bright
      By the glad fire-light:
For this is Christmas morning!

Come, sing the carols old and true,
That mind us of good cheer,
And, like a heavenly fall of dew,
Revive the drooping year;
      And fill us up
      A wassail-cup;
For this is Christmas morning!

To all poor souls we'll strew the feast,
With kindly heart and free;
One Father owns us, and, at least,
To-day we'll brothers be;
      Away with pride,
      This holy tide;
For it is Christmas morning!

So now, God bless us, one and all
With hearts and hearthstones warm;
And may He prosper great and small,
And keep us out of harm;
      And teach us still,
      His sweet good-will,
This merry Christmas morning!




30 - Everywhere, Everywhere, Christmas Tonight! by Phillips Brooks 1835-1893

Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine,
Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine,
Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,
Christmas where cornfields stand sunny and bright.
      Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

Christmas where children are hopeful and gay,
Christmas where old men are patient and gray,
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight,
Broods o're brave men in the thick of the fight;
      Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all;
No palace too great--no cottage too small.
The angels who welcome Him sing from the height,
"In the city of David a King in His might;"
      Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

Then let every heart keep its Christmas within--
Christ's pity for sorrow, Christ's hatred of sin.
Christ's care for the weakest, Christ's courage for right,
Christ's dread of the drakness, Christ's love of the light:
      Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

So the stars of the midnight which compass us round
Shall see a strange glory and hear a sweet sound,
And cry, "Look! The earth is aflame with delight:
O sons of the morning, rejoice at the sight!"
      Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!




31 - from Yule-Tide by Alfred Gurney (1843-1898)

The Royal Birthday dawns again,
      A stricken world to bless;
And sufferers forget their pain,
      And mourners their distress.

A Birthday-song my heart would sing
      Its rapture to express;
My Father's son must be a king,
      And share His consciousness.

Of God's Self-knowledge comes the Word
      That utters all His Thought;
That Word made Flesh by all is heard
      Who seek as they are sought.

His seeking and His finding make
      Our search an easy thing;
He sows good seed, and bids us take
      The joys of harvesting.

So keeping festival to-day,
      With children's laughter near,
It is not hard to sing and pray,
      'Tis hard to doubt or fear.

Father, my heart to Thee I bring,
      To Thee my song address;
From Winter pain and toil of Spring
      Grows Summer happiness.




32 - Bells Across The Snows by Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)

O Christmas, merry Christmas!
      Is it really come again,
With its memories and greetings,
      With its joy and with its pain?
There's a minor in the carol,
      And a shadow in the light,
And a spray of cypress twining
      With the holly wreath to-night.
And the hush is never broken
      By laughter light and low,
As we listen in the starlight
      To the Bells across the Snow.

O Christmas, merry Christmas!
      'Tis not so very long
Since other voices blended
      With the carol and the song!
If we could but hear them singing
      As they are singing now,
If we could but see the radiance
      Of the crown on each dear brow;
There would be no sigh to smother,
      No hidden tear to flow,
As we listen in the starlight
      To the Bells across the Snow.

O Christmas, merry Christmas!
      This never more can be;
We cannot bring again the days
      Of our unshadowed glee.
But Christmas, happy Christmas,
      Sweet herald of good-will,
With holy songs of glory
      Brings holy gladness still.
For peace and hope may brighten,
      And patient love may glow,
As we listen in the starlight
      To the Bells across the Snow.




33 - Counsellor by Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)

Mist and cloud and darkness
      Veil the wintry hour,
But the sun dispels them
      With his rising power.

Mist and cloud and darkness
      Often dim thy day,
But a Christmas glory
      Shines upon thy way.

May the Lord of Christmas,
      Counsellor and Friend,
Light thy desert pathway
      Even to the end.




34 - Christmas Hymn by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

            Sing, Christmas bells!
Say to the earth this is the morn
Whereon our Savior-King is born;
      Sing to all men,--the bond, the free,
The rich, the poor, the high, the low,
      The little child that sports in glee,
The aged folk that tottering go,--
            Proclaim the morn
            That Christ is born,
That saveth them and saveth me!

            Sing, angel host!
Sing of the star that God has placed
Above the manger in the East;
      Sing of the glories of the night,
The virgin's sweet humility,
      The Babe with kingly robes bedight,--
Sing to all men where'er they be
            This Christmas morn;
            For Christ is born,
That saveth them and saveth me!

            Sing, sons of earth!
O ransomed seed of Adam, sing!
God liveth, and we have a king!
      The curse is gone, the bond are free--
By Bethlehem's star that brightly beamed,
      By all the heavenly signs that be,
We know that Israel is redeemed;
            That on this morn
            The Christ is born
That saveth you and saveth me!

            Sing, O my heart!
Sing thou in rapture this dear morn
Whereon the blessed Prince is born!
            And as thy songs shall be of love,
So let my deeds be charity
      By the dear Lord that reigns above,
By Him that died upon the tree,
            By this fair morn
            Whereon is born
The Christ that saveth all and me!




35 - Star of the East by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Star of the East, that long ago
      Brought wise men on their way
Where, angels singing to and fro,
      The Child of Bethlehem lay--
Above that Syrian hill afar
Thou shinest out to-night, O Star!

Star of the East, the night were drear
      But for the tender grace
That with thy glory comes to cheer
      Earth's loneliest, darkest place;
For by that charity we see
Where there is hope for all and me.

Star of the East! show us the way
      In wisdom undefiled
To seek that manger out and lay
      Our gifts before the child--
To bring our hearts and offer them
Unto our King in Bethlehem!




36 - Christmas Carol by James S. Park (1903)

So crowded was the little town
      On the first Christmas day,
Tired Mary Mother laid her down
      To rest upon the hay.
(Ah, would my door might have been thrown
      Wide open on her way!)

But when the Holy Babe was born
      In the deep hush of night,
It seemed as if a Sabbath morn
      Had come with sacred light.
Child Jesus made the place forlorn
      With his own beauty bright.

The manger rough was all his rest;
      The cattle, having fed,
Stood silent by, or closer pressed,
      And gravely wonderéd.
(Ah, Lord, if only that my breast
      Had cradled Thee instead!)




37 - A Christmas Carol by Aubrey De Vere (1814-1902)

They leave the land of gems and gold,
      The shining portals of the East;
For Him, the woman's Seed foretold,
      They leave the revel and the feast.

To earth their sceptres they have cast,
      And crowns by kings ancestral worn;
They track the lonely Syrian waste;
      They kneel before the Babe new born.

O happy eyes that saw Him first;
      O happy lips that kissed His feet:
Earth slakes at last her ancient thirst;
      With Eden's joy her pulses beat.

True kings are those who thus forsake
      Their kingdoms for the Eternal King;
Serpent, her foot is on thy neck;
      Herod, thou writhest, but canst not sting.

He, He is King, and He alone
      Who lifts that infant hand to bless;
Who makes His mother's knee His throne,
      Yet rules the starry wilderness.




38 - His Mother's Joy by John White Chadwick (1840-1904)

Little, I ween, did Mary guess,
      As on her arm her baby lay,
What tides of joy would swell and beat,
      Through ages long, on Christmas day.

And what if she had known it all,--
      The awful splendor of his fame?
The inmost heart of all her joy
      Would still, methinks, have been the same:

The joy that every mother knows
      Who feels her babe against her breast:
The voyage long is overpast,
      And now is calm and peace and rest.

"Art thou the Christ?" The wonder came
      As easy as her infant's breath:
But answer none. Enough for her,
      That love had triumphed over death.




39 - A Christmas Hymn by Richard Watson Gilder (1844-1909)

Tell me what is this innumerable throng
Singing in the heavens a loud angelic song?
      These are they who come with swift and shining feet
      From round about the throne of God the Lord of Light to greet.

Oh, who are these that hasten beneath the starry sky,
As if with joyful tidings that through the world shall fly?
      The faithful shepherds these, who greatly were afeared
      When, as they watched their flocks by night, the heavenly host appeared.

Who are these that follow across the hills of night
A star that westward hurries along the fields of light?
      Three wise men from the east who myrrh and treasure bring
      To lay them at the feet of him their Lord and Christ and King.

What babe new-born is this that in a manger cries?
Near on her lowly bed his happy mother lies.
      Oh, see the air is shaken with white and heavenly wings--
      This is the Lord of all the earth, this is the King of kings.




40 - Christmas Carol by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

     Ring out, ye bells!
     All Nature swells
With gladness at the wondrous story,--
     The world was lorn,
     But Christ is born
To change our sadness into glory.

     Sing, earthlings, sing!
     To-night a King
Hath come from heaven's high throne to bless us.
     The outstretched hand
     O'er all the land
Is raised in pity to caress us.

     Come at His call;
     Be joyful all;
Away with mourning and with sadness!
     The heavenly choir
     With holy fire
Their voices raise in songs of gladness.

     The darkness breaks
     And Dawn awakes,
Her cheeks suffused with youthful blushes.
     The rocks and stones
     In holy tones
Are singing sweeter than the thrushes.

     Then why should we
     In silence be,
When Nature lends her voice to praises;
     When heaven and earth
     Proclaim the truth
Of Him for whom that lone star blazes?

     No, be not still,
     But with a will
Strike all your harps and set them ringing;
     On hill and heath
     Let every breath
Throw all its power into singing!




41 - Christmas in the Heart by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

The snow lies deep upon the ground,
And winter's brightness all around
Decks bravely out the forest sere,
With jewels of the brave old year.
The coasting crowd upon the hill
With some new spirit seems to thrill;
And all the temple bells a-chime.
Ring out the glee of Christmas time.

In happy homes the brown oak-bough
Vies with the red-gemmed holly now;
And here and there, like pearls, there show
The berries of the mistletoe.
A sprig upon the chandelier
Says to the maidens, "Come not here!"
Even the pauper of the earth
Some kindly gift has cheered to mirth!

Within his chamber, dim and cold,
There sits a grasping miser old.
He has no thought save one of gain,--
To grind and gather and grasp and drain.
A peal of bells, a merry shout
Assail his ear: he gazes out
Upon a world to him all gray,
And snarls, "Why, this is Christmas Day!"

No, man of ice,--for shame, for shame!
For "Christmas Day" is no mere name.
No, not for you this ringing cheer,
This festal season of the year.
And not for you the chime of bells
From holy temple rolls and swells.
In day and deed he has no part--
Who holds not Christmas in his heart!




42 - Carol by William Canton (1845-1926)

When the herds were watching
     In the midnight chill,
Came a spotless lambkin
     From the heavenly hill.

Snow was on the mountains,
     And the wind was cold,
When from God's own garden
     Dropped a rose of gold.

When 'twas bitter winter,
     Houseless and forlorn
In a star-lit stable
     Christ the Babe was born.

Welcome, heavenly lambkin;
     Welcome, golden rose;
Alleluia, Baby,
     In the swaddling clothes!




43 - When Snow Lies Deep by William Canton (1845-1926) from W.V. Her Book

When frost has burned the hedges black,
     And children cannot sleep for cold;
When snow lies deep on the withered leaves,
And roofs are white from ridge to eaves;
When bread is dear, and work is slack,
     Take pity on the poor and old!

The faggot and the loaf of bread
     You could not miss would be their store.
Upon how little the old can live!
Give like the poor -- who freely give.
Remember, when the fire burns red
     The wolf leaves sniffing at the door.

And you whose lives are left forlorn,
     Whose sons, whose hopes, whose fires have died,
Oh, you pitiful people old,
Remember this and be consoled --
That Christ the Comforter was born,
     And still is born, in wintertide.




44 - The Waits by Margaret Deland (1857-1945)

At the break of Christmas Day,
      Through the frosty starlight ringing,
Faint and sweet and far away,
      Comes the sound of children, singing,
Chanting, singing,
            "Cease to mourn,
                For Christ is born,
                      Peace and joy to all men bringing!"

Careless that the chill winds blow,
      Growing stronger, sweeter, clearer,
Noiseless footfalls in the snow
      Bring the happy voices nearer;
Hear them singing,
            "Winter's drear,
                But Christ is here,
                      Mirth and gladness with Him bringing!"

"Merry Christmas!" hear them say,
      As the East is growing lighter;
"May the joy of Christmas Day
      Make your whole year gladder, brighter!"
Join their singing,
            "To each home
                Our Christ has come,
                      All Love's treasures with Him bringing!"




45 - A Christmas Carol by G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
      His hair was like a light.
O weary, weary were the world,
      But here is all aright.

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
      His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
      But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
      His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
      But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
      His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
      And all the stars looked down.




46 - A Child's Song Of Christmas by Marjorie L. C. Pickthall (1883-1922)

My counterpane is soft as silk,
My blankets white as creamy milk.
      The hay was soft to Him, I know,
      Our little Lord of long ago.

Above the roofs the pigeons fly
In silver wheels across the sky.
      The stable-doves they cooed to them,
      Mary and Christ in Bethlehem.

Bright shines the sun across the drifts,
And bright upon my Christmas gifts.
      They brought Him incense, myrrh, and gold,
      Our little Lord who lived of old.

Oh, soft and clear our mother sings
Of Christmas joys and Christmas things.
      God's holy angels sang to them,
      Mary and Christ in Bethlehem.

Our hearts they hold all Christmas dear,
And earth seems sweet and heaven seems near,
      Oh, heaven was in His sight, I know,
      That little Child of long ago.




47 - When The Stars Of Morning Sang by Anne P. L. Field (1874-1948)

When the stars of morning sang
      Long ago,
Sweet the air with music rang
      Through the snow,
There beside the mother mild
Slept the blessed Christmas child,--
Slumber holy, undefiled--
      Here below.

When the wise men traveled far
      Through the night,
Following the guiding star
      Pure and bright,
Lo! it stood above the place
Sanctified by Heaven's grace,
And upon the Christ-Child's face
      Shed its light.

When the world lay hushed and still
      Christmas morn,
Suddenly were skies athrill--
      "Christ is born!"
Angel voices, high and clear,
Chanted tidings of good cheer,
"See, the Infant King is here,
      Christ is born!"




48 - Christmas Carol by Sara Teasdale 1884-1933

The kings they came from out the south,
      All dressed in ermine fine,
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
      And gifts of precious wine.

The shepherds came from out the north,
      Their coats were brown and old,
They brought Him little new-born lambs--
      They had not any gold.

The wise-men came from out the east,
      And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
      Did glorify the night.

The angels came from heaven high,
      And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
      The host of heaven sings.

The kings they knocked upon the door,
      The wise-men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
      To hear the song begin.

And Mary held the little child
      And sat upon the ground;
She looked up, she looked down,
      She looked all around.

The angels sang thro' all the night
      Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
      Before the song was done.




49 - At Christmas by Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season is here;
Then he's thinking more of others than he's thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.

When it's Christmas, man is bigger and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow seem to vanish for awhile
And the true reward he's seeking is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling, and somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost what God wanted him to be.

If I had to paint a picture of a man, I think I'd wait
Till he'd fought his selfish battles and had put aside his hate.
I'd not catch him at his labors when his thoughts are all of self,
On the long days and the dreary when he's striving for himself.
I'd not take him when he's sneering, when he's scornful or depressed,
But I'd look for him at Christmas when he's shining at his best.

Man is ever in a struggle and he's oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that's in him is the master of the good,
But at Christmas, kindness rules him and he puts himself aside,
And his petty hates are vanquished and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don't know how to say it, but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost what God sent him here to be.




50 - Dust of Snow by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.




Additionally:
-- Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Christmas at Sea," 1888 ("A Christmas Prayer" may be erroneously attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson)
-- Another Sea Christmas poem: A Christmas Song by William Cox Bennett
-- King John's Christmas by A.A. Milne is included in Now We Are Six, 1927
-- Christina Rossetti's complete collection of Christmastide Poems includes "What can I give Him, poor as I am, if I were a shepherd, I'd give Him a lamb . . ."
-- Walter De La Mare's poem "Snow" ("'No breath of wind, No gleam of sun..." from Peacock Pie, 1913) has been published as a picture book illustrated by Carolina Rabei. ($) He also wrote "A Ballad of Christmas," 1924.
-- Arthurian poems: Christmas At The Round Table by John Hookham Frere
     King Arthur's Waes-hael by Robert Stephen Hawker, 1804-1875
-- Christmas Poetry, Prose and Recordings is a comprehensive collection of very good Christmas poems, many that are not included here.





NEW YEARS

01 - A Serenade for New Year's Eve by Frances Jane Crosby (1820-1915)

'Tis midnight, and nature is sunk to repose,
And the moon from her lattice a pale lustre throws,
The wild winds have carolled their requien o'er,
And the foam crested billows lie still by the shore
      Then wake from your slumbers, our serenade hear,--
      We wish you a happy -- a happy New Year!

The old year departed, how swiftly it flew,
'Tis gone, and with rapture we welcome the new;--
We trust a bright morning will dawn on your eyes,--
And sunbeams unclouded illumine the skies.
      Then wake from your slumbers, our serenade hear,--
      We wish you a happy -- a happy New Year!

O! calm and serene as the blue arch of night,
When stars are diffusing their soft mellow light,--
May each fleeting moment in happiness glide,
Your path o'er life's ocean hope's beacon still guide.
      Then wake from your slumbers, our serenade hear,--
      We wish you a happy -- a happy New Year!




02 - The New-year's Gift by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Let others look for pearl and gold,
Tissues, or tabbies manifold:
One only lock of that sweet hay
Whereon the blessed Baby lay,
Or one poor swaddling-clout, shall be
The richest New-year's gift to me.




03 - The Death of the Old Year by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1883)

Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,
And tread softly and speak low,
For the old year lies a-dying.
      Old year, you must not die;
      You came to us so readily,
      You lived with us so steadily,
      Old year, you shall not die.

He lieth still: he doth not move:
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend and a true truelove
And the New-year will take 'em away.
      Old year, you must not go;
      So long you have been with us,
      Such joy as you have seen with us,
      Old year, you shall not go.

He froth'd his bumpers to the brim;
A jollier year we shall not see.
But tho' his eyes are waxing dim,
And tho' his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.
      Old year, you shall not die;
      We did so laugh and cry with you,
      I've half a mind to die with you,
      Old year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,
But all his merry quips are o'er.
To see him die across the waste
His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
But he'll be dead before.
      Every one for his own.
      The night is starry and cold, my friend,
      And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,
      Comes up to take his own.

How hard he breathes! over the snow
I heard just now the crowing cock.
The shadows flicker to and fro:
The cricket chirps: the light burns low:
'Tis nearly twelve o'clock.
      Shake hands, before you die.
      Old year, we'll dearly rue for you:
      What is it we can do for you?
      Speak out before you die.

His face is growing sharp and thin.
Alack! our friend is gone,
Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:
Step from the corpse, and let him in
That standeth there alone,
      And waiteth at the door.
      There's a new foot on the floor, my friend,
      And a new face at the door, my friend,
      A new face at the door.




04 - Ring Out, Wild Bells by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1883)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
      The flying cloud, the frosty light;
      The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
      Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
      The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
      For those that here we see no more,
      Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
      And ancient forms of party strife;
      Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
      The faithless coldness of the times;
      Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
      The civic slander and the spite;
      Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
      Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
      Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
      The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
      Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.




05 - New Year's Morning by Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

Only a night from old to new!
      Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year's heart all weary grew,
      But said: "The New Year rest has brought."

The Old Year's hopes its heart laid down,
      As in a grave; but trusting, said:
"The blossoms of the New Year's crown
      Bloom from the ashes of the dead."

The Old Year's heart was full of greed;
      With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: "I have not half I need.
      My thirst is bitter and unslaked.

But to the New Year's generous hand
      All gifts in plenty shall return;
True loving it shall understand;
      By all my failures it shall learn.

I have been reckless; it shall be
      Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
      And find sweet pace where I leave strife."

Only a night from old to new!
      Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
      No New Year miracles are wrought.

Always a night from old to new!
      Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year's morn come true,
      Morn of a festival to keep.

All nights are sacred nights to make
      Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
      New gladness in the sunny air.

Only a night from old to new;
      Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
      Each sunrise sees a new year born.




06 - from The Shepherd's New Year Carol, 17th Century Tune: Humming of the Drone

The New Year is begun,
      Good-morrow, my masters all!
The cheerful rising sun
      Now shining in this hall,
            Brings mirth and joy
            To man and boy.
With all that here doth dwell;
            Whom Jesus bless
            With love's increase,
So all things shall prosper well.

A New Year's gift I bring
      Unto my master here,
Which is a welcome thing
      Of mirth and merry cheer.
            A New Year's lamb
            Come from thy dam
An hour before daybreak,
            Your noted ewe
            Doth this bestow,
Good master, for your sake.

And to my dame so kind
      This New Year's gift I bring;
I'll bear an honest mind
      Unto her whilst I live.
            Your white-woolled sheep
            I'll safely keep
From harm of bush or briar,
            That garments gay
            For your array
May clothe you the next New Year.

And to your children all,
      These New Year's gifts I bring;
And though the price be small,
      They're fit for queen or king:
            Fair pippins red
            Kept in my bed
A-mellowing since last year,
            Whose beauty bright
            So clear of sight
Their hearts will glad and cheer.




07 - New Year's Eve by Alfred Gurney (1843-1898)

God grant through coming years and days
      Our beating hearts may be
The harps that celebrate His praise
      Who loves eternally!

No ache can be without relief
      When Love Himself draws near;
No cup can empty stand, no grief
      Embitter God's New Year.

Time's footsteps quickly die away,
      Soon emptied is his glass;
We wait for an oncoming Day
      Which nevermore shall pass.

Old hopes revive, new hopes are born,
      The coming months to cheer;
And phantom-fears and griefs outworn
      Die with the dying year.

Oh, all the years and all the days
      Our waiting hearts shall be
Harps tremulous with His dear praise
      Whose is Eternity!