Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/176

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148
CHRISTMAS

Bright on the holly and mistletoe bough
  The English firelight falls,
And bright are the wreathed evergreens now
  That gladden our own home walls!
    And hark! the first sweet note that tells,
    The welcome of the Christmas Bells!

The owl that sits in the ivy's shade,
  Remote from the ruined tower,
Shall start from his drowsy watch afraid
  When the clock shall strike the hour;
And over the fields in their frosty rhyme
  The cheery sounds shall go,
And chime shall answer unto chime
  Across the moonlit snow!
    How sweet the lingering music dwells, —
    The music of the Christmas Bells.

It fell not thus in the East afar
  Where the Babe in the manger lay;
The wise men followed their guiding star
  To the dawn of a milder day;
And the fig and the sycamore gathered green,
  And the palm-tree of Deborah rose;
'T was the strange first Christmas the world had seen —
  And it came not in storm and snows.
    Not yet on Nazareth's hills and dells
    Had floated the sound of Christmas Bells.

The cedars of Lebanon shook in the blast
  Of their own cold mountain air;