Christmas In The Heart

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Christmas In The Heart
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In the 1913 collection of his work, The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar

       CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART

  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 achime.
  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!

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.