Saturday, December 19, 2009

Scenes From Edward's House At Christmas

Glad Christmas comes, and every hearth
Makes room to give him welcome now,
E'en want will dry its tears in mirth,
And crown him with a holly bough.
Though tramping 'neath a winter sky,
O'er snowy paths and rimy stiles,
The housewife sets her spinning by
To bid him welcome with her smiles.

Each house is swept the day before,
And windows stuck with evergreens,
The snow is besom'd from the door,
And comfort crowns the cottage scenes.
Gilt holly, with its thorny pricks,
And yew and box, with berries small,
These deck the unused candlesticks,
And pictures hanging by the wall.

Around the glowing hearth at night,
The harmless laugh and winter tale
Go round, while parting friends delight
To toast each other o'er their ale.
The cotter oft with quiet zeal
Will musing o'er his Bible lean;
While in the dark the lovers steal
To kiss and toy behind the screen.

While snows the windowpanes bedim,

The fire curls up a sunny charm,
Where, creaming o'er the pitcher's rim,
The flowering ale is set to warm.
Mirth, full of joy as summer bees,
Sits there, its pleasures to impart,
And children, 'tween their parent's knees,
Sing scraps of carols o'er by heart.

Old customs! Oh! I love the sound,
However simple they may be:
Whate'er with time hath sanction found,
Is welcome, and is dear to me.

Verses from the poem, December, by John Clare
Photographs taken 'round the cottage