1791
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christmas.

Town and Country Magazine 23 (October 1791) 475.

Anonymous


A descriptive ode in octosyllabic couplets. In this unintentionally funny imitation of Milton's L'Allegro the poet falls victim to a hobby-horsical association of ideas as Christmas, booted and spurred, bounds over the silvery green in pursuit of pheasant and moor-hen: "With the deeply-thund'ring hounds, | Whose clangour wild, and joyful sounds, | While echo swells the doubling cry, | Shake the woods with harmony."



Hence, Summer, indolently laid
To sleep beneath the cooling shade!
Panting quick with sultry heat,
Thirst and faint fatigue retreat!

Come, CHRISTMAS, father thou of mirth,
Patron of the festive hearth,
Around whose social ev'ning flame
The jovial song, the winter game,
The chase renew'd in merry tale,
The season's carols never fail.
Who, tho' the Winter chill the skies,
Canst catch the glow of exercise,
Following swift the foot-ball's course;
Or, with unresisted force,
Where frost arrests the harden'd tide,
Shooting 'cross the rapid slide.
Who, e'er the misty morn is grey,
To some high covert hark'st away;
While sport, on lofty courser borne,
In concert winds his echoing horn,
With the deeply-thund'ring hounds,
Whose clangour wild, and joyful sounds,
While echo swells the doubling cry,
Shake the woods with harmony.
How does my eager bosom glow,
To give the well-known tally-ho!
Or shew, with cap inverted, where
Stole away the cautious hare.
Or, if the blast of Winter keen
Spangles o'er the silvery green,
Booted high thou lov'st to tread
Marking, thro' the sedgy mead,
Where the creeping moor-hen lies,
Or snipes with sudden twitt'ring rise.
Or joy'st the early walk to take
Where thro' the pheasant-haunted brake
Oft as the well-aim'd gun resounds,
The eager-dashing spaniel bounds.

For thee of buck my breeches tight,
Clanging whip, and rowels bright,
The hunter's cap my brows to guard,
And suit of sportive green's prepar'd:
For, since these delights are thine,
Christmas, with thy bands I join.

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