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This is our merry night

Of choosing King and Queen, Then be it your delight That something may be seen

In our Wassail.

It is a noble part

To bear a liberal mind; God bless our master's heart! For here we comfort find,

With our Wassail.

And now we must be

gone, To seek out more good cheer; Where bounty will be shown, As we have found it here,

With our Wassail.

Much joy betide them all,

Our prayers shall be still, , We hope, and ever shall, For this your great good will

To our Wassail.



Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh, ho! sing heigh, ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly ;

Then, heigh ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.


Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
Thou dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.
Heigh, ho! sing heigh, ho! unto the green holly :
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly :

Then, heigh ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.




MONG all our English poets, the one, who has left us by far the most complete contemporary picture of the Christmas season, was a country clergyman of the reign of Charles I., who held a small living in a remote part of Devonshire. Robert Herrick, for it is of him we speak, was born in London, and received his early education, it is supposed at Westminster School, from whence he removed to Cambridge, and after taking his degree, spent some few years in London, in familiar intercourse with the chief wits, and writers of the age. Herrick had for his early intimates Ben Jonson, Selden, William Lawes the eminent composer, and Endymion Porter, groom of

the chamber to the King, besides many others of equal note, and it was with regret that he resigned the enjoyment of their society, to enter upon the duties connected with the living of Dean-Prior's, to which he was presented in 1629. For near twenty years, until he was ejected from his cure on account of his Royalist opinions, by the committee appointed by the Long Parliament, he led the retired life of a country priest; and, during this period, it would appear that most of his poems were written descriptive of the ceremonies, superstitions, and festivities of the Christmas season. On leaving Dean-Prior's, deeply regretted by his parishioners, who styled him their “ ancient and famous poet,”—and Herrick was then fifty-seven years of age,-he removed to London, where he settled down at his “beloved Westminster." The hand of death, during his twenty years absence, had been laid upon most of his old companions. Jonson had died, just as the troubles, with which the reign of Charles was so thickly beset, had commenced in earnest. Lawes had fallen at the siege of Chester, mourned for by his King. Endymion Porter had died abroad. Selden alone survived in the enjoyment of a green old age. Herrick, however, found new friends in Charles Cotton, and Sir John Denham, the bard of Cooper's Hill, but deprived of his income he lived a life of penury, and dependence, until the restoration of Charles II., when he was again inducted to the living from which he had been expelled, and died in 1674, at the advanced age of eighty-three.

The Christmas poems of Herrick form quite a series of themselves, and for this reason they are comprised in a distinct section of this work, instead of being mixed up with contemporary productions by other hands. The first poem is descriptive of the ceremony attending the bringing in the Christmas or Yule log, a custom of very ancient date ; yet, nevertheless, this is the first occasion that we find allusion to it in the writings of our carlier poets.

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