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4 Old Christmas Poems I Like

Updated on December 13, 2016

POETS OF OLD


I love old century poets. The words they used and their expressions have always excited my senses. I've always enjoyed reading their works and just putting myself in that place and time.

Here are selections from the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century poets of old. I hope you enjoy these 4 old Christmas poems I like, as much as I do.

CHRISTMAS CHEER

 

Good husband and housewife, now chiefly be glad,

Things handsome to have, as they ought to be had.

They both do provide, against Christmas do come,

To welcome their neighbors, good cheer to have some.

Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall,

Brawn, pudding, and souse, and good mustard withal.

Beek, mutton and pork, and good pies of the best,

Pig, veal, goose and capon, and turkey well drest,

Cheese, apples and nuts, and good carols to hear,

As then in the country is counted good cheer.

   What cost to good husband, is any of this?

          Good houshold provision only it is:

      Of other the like, I do leave out a many,

     That costeth the husband never a penny.

Thomas Tuesser (1524? - 1580)

CEREMONIES For CHRISTMAS

 

     Come, bring with noise,

     My merry, merry boys,

The Christmas Log to the firing;

     While my good Dame, she

     Bids ye all be free;

And drink to your heart's desiring.

 

     With the last years brand

Light the new block, and

     For good success in his spending,

On your Psaltries play,

     That sweet luck may

Come while the log is a-tinding.

 

     Drink now the strong beer,

     Cut the white loaf here,

The while the meat is a-shredding;

     For the rare mince-pie

     And the plums stand by

To fill the paste that's a-kneading.

                                      Robert Herrick (1591- 1674)

MARMION


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 deem’d the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer:
Even, heathen yet, the savage Dane
At Iol more deep the mead did drain;
High on the beach his galleys drew,
And feasted all his pirate crew;
Then in his low and pine-built hall
Where shields and axes deck’d the wall
They gorged upon the half-dress’d steer;
Caroused in seas of sable beer;
While round, in brutal jest, were thrown
The half-gnaw’d rib, and marrow-bone:
Or listen’d all, in grim delight,
While Scalds yell’d out the joys of fight.
Then forth, in frenzy, would they hie,
While wildly lose their red locks fly,
And dancing round the blazing pile,
They make such barbarous mirth the while,
As best might to the mind recall
The boisterous joys of Odin’s hall.

And well our Christian sires of old
Loved when the year its course had roll’d,
And brought blithe Christmas back again,
With all his hospitable train.
Domestic and religious rite
Gave honour 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 donn’d her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dress’d with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the mistletoe.
Then open’d wide the Baron’s hall
To vassal, tenant, serf and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside
And Ceremony doff’d his pride.
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner choose;
The Lord, underogating, share
The vulgar game of ‘post and pair’.
All hail’d, with uncontroll’d 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,
Scrubb’d till it shone, the day to grace,
Bore then upon its massive board
No mark to part the squire and lord.
Then was brought in the lusty brawn,
By old blue-coated serving-man;
Then the grim boar’s head frown’d on high,
Crested with bays and rosemary.
Well can the green-garb’d ranger tell,
How, when, and where, the monster fell;
What dogs before his death to tore,
And all the baiting of the boar.
The wassel round, in good brown bowls,
Garnish’d with ribbons, blithely trowls.
There the huge sirloin reek'd; hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie;
Nor fail’d old Scotland to produce,
At such high tide, her savoury goose.
Then came the merry makers in,
And carols roar’d with blithesome din;
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong.
Who lists may in their mumming see
Traces of ancient mystery;
White shirts supplied the masquerade,
And smutted cheeks the visors made;
But, O! what maskers, richly dight,
Can boast of bosoms half so light!
England was merry England, when
Old Christmas brought his sports again.
‘Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale;
‘Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year.

Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832)

CHRISTMAS BELLS


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 it's 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!


It was as if an earthquake rent

The heart- stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


And in despair I bowed my head;

"There is no place 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."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807- 1882)


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    • BIGCSSHOP profile imageAUTHOR

      BIGCSSHOP 

      7 years ago

      Hi htodd, I'm glad you found our hub interesting and took the time to share. Have a happy Holiday season!

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 

      7 years ago from United States

      Interesting post...Thanks

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