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Sunday, 5 December 2010

Victorian Poetry for Christmas Part Two: A Christmas Carol (Not that one)

For anyone not feeling the joyous mood of the season yet, here is another poem to spread some more Victorian wintry warmth from the London Society Christmas issue of 1868.
Pull the armchair up to the open fire, pour a little glass of something strong, glance at the cold weather out the window and enjoy today’s Christmassy offering, this time a piece of poetry entitled – somewhat bravely – A Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol
By Astley H. Baldwin

They are ringing, they are ringing,
Our merry Christmas bells,
In the village, in the city,
In the dale-church, o’er the fells.

Be our ways of life so varied,
Be our fortunes poor or bright,
Hand in hand with all our brothers,
We are one at least tonight.

Nor the noble in his mansion,
Nor the sovereign on her throne,
Nor the beggar in his hovel,
Will enjoy themselves alone.

We all seek the kindly greeting
Of some dear, familiar face;
We all know that hermit feeling
For to-night is out of place.

But one night! Why not for ever
Should we bind the golden chain
That shows man his poorest fellow
Was not sent to earth in vain?

That each sorrow hath a purpose,
That each gift hath an alloy,
That ever finely balanced
Are the scales of grief and joy.

Spare a little, then, ye rich ones,
From your laden coffers now;
Bring to poverty a sun-ray,
Bring a smile to sorrow’s brow.

Take it gratefully, ye toilers,
Toilers up earth’s weary hill;
‘Tis a green spot in your desert,
‘Tis a good sprung from your ill.

Yes! Be rich and poor united,
‘Tis most grand in Heaven’s sight,
And a blessing, not earth’s blessing,
Is on all the world to-night!

For anyone still not tickled by the Christmas spirit, one more poem to come

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