Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Christmas Carol / Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol

I care not for spring; on his fickle wing
Let the blossoms and buds be borne:
He wooes them amain with his treacherous rain.
And he scatters them ere the morn.
An inconstant elf, he knows not himself
Nor his own changing mind an hoar.
He'll smile in your face, and, with wry grimace,
He'll wither your youngest flower.

Let the summer sun to his bright home run,
He shall never be sought by me;
When he's dimmed by a cloud I can laugh aloud,
And care not how sulky he be!
For his darling child is the madness wild
That sports in fierce fever's train;
And when love is too strong, it don't last long.
As many have found to their pain.

A mild harvest night, by the tranquil light
Of the modest and gentle moon,
Has a far sweeter sheen, for me, I ween,
Than the broad and onblushing noon.
But every leaf awakens my grief,
As it lieth beneath the tree;
So let autumn air be never so fair.
It by no means agrees with me.

But my song I troll out, for Christmas stout,
The hearty, the true, and the bold;
A thumper I drain, and with might and main
Give three cheers for this Christmas old!
We'll usher him in with a merry din
That shall gladden his joyous heart,
And we'll keep him up, while there's bite or sup.
And in fellowship good we'll part.

In his fine, honest pride, he scorns to hide
One jot of his hard-weather scars;
They're no disgrace, for there's m«ch the same trace
On the cheeks of our bravest tars.
Then again I sing, till the roof doth ring.
And it echoes from wall to wall —
To the stout old wight, fair welcome to-night,
As the King of the Seasons all!

Charles Dickens (1812-1870), 1837
from The Poems and Verses of Charles Dickens, 1903

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Charles Dickens biography

1 comment:

  1. preface to the poem, from Poems and Verses, 1903:

    "The five stanzas bearing the above title will be found in the twenty-eighth chapter of Pickwick, where they are introduced as the song which that hospitable old soul, Mr. Wardle, sung appropriately, 'in a good, round, sturdy voice,' before the Pickwickians and others assembled on Christmas Eve at Manor Farm.

    "The 'Carol,' shortly after its appearance in Pickwick, was set to music to the air of "Old King Cole," and published in The Book of British Song (new edition), with an illustration drawn by 'Alfred Crowquill' — i.e., A. H. Forrester."