Our American Holidays - Christmas/A Ballade of Old Loves

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Who is it stands on the polished stair,
     A merry, laughing, winsome maid,
From the Christmas rose in her garden hair
     To the high-heeled slippers of spangled suède
A glance, half daring and half afraid,
     Gleams from her roguish eyes downcast;
Already the vision begins to fade—
     ’Tis only a ghost of a Christmas Past.

Who is it sits in that high-backed chair,
     Quaintly in ruff and patch arrayed,
With a mockery gay of a stately air
     As she rustles the folds of her old brocade,—
Merriest heart at the masquerade?
     Ah, but the picture is passing fast
Back to the darkness from which it strayed—
     ’Tis only a ghost of a Christmas Past.

Who is it whirls in a ball-room’s glare,
     Her soft white hand on my shoulder laid,
Like a radiant lily, tall and fair,
     While the violins in the corner played
The wailing strains of the Serenade?
     Oh, lovely vision, too sweet to last—
E’en now my fancy it will evade—
     ’Tis only a ghost of a Christmas Past,