ページの画像
PDF
ePub

MARMION.

Introduction to Canto Sirth.

то

TO

RICHARD HEBER, Esq.

Mertoun-House, Christmas. HEAP on more wood !—the wind is chill ; But let it whistle as it will, We'll keep our Christmas merry still. Each age has deemed the new-born year The fittest time for festal cheer: Even heathen yet, the savage Dane At Iol more deep the mead did drain ; High on the beach his galleys drew, And feasted all his pirate crew; Then in his low and pine-built hall, Where shields and axes decked the wall,

They gorged upon the half-dressed steer ; Caroused in seas of sable beer; While round, in brutal jest, were thrown The half-grawed rib, and marrow-bone; Or listened all, in grim delight, While scalds yelled out the joys of fight. Then forth, in frenzy, would they hie, While wildly loose their red locks fly, And dancing round the blazing pile, They make such barbarous mirth the while, As best might to the mind recal The boisterous joys of Odin's hall.

And well our Christian sires of old Loved when the year its course had rolled, And brought blithe Christmas back again, With all his hospitable train. Domestic and religious rite Gave honour to the holy night: On Christmas eve the bells were rung ; On Christmas eve the mass was sung;

That only night, in all the year,
Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen ;
The hall was dressed with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the misletoe... i
Then opened wide the baron's hall
To vassal, tenant, serf, and all ;
Power laid his rod of rule aside,
And Ceremony doffed his pride.
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner chuse;
The lord, underogating, share
The vulgar game of“ post and pair.”
All hailed, with uncontrolled delight,
And general voice, the happy night,
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.

The fire, with well-dried logs supplied, Went roaring up the chimney wide;

« 前へ次へ »