A New Year's Gift,Sent To Sir Simeon Steward

No news of navies burnt at seas;
No noise of late spawn'd tittyries;
No closet plot or open vent,
That frights men with a Parliament:
No new device or late-found trick,
To read by th' stars the kingdom's sick;
No gin to catch the State, or wring
The free-born nostril of the King,
We send to you; but here a jolly
Verse crown'd with ivy and with holly;
That tells of winter's tales and mirth
That milk-maids make about the hearth;
Of Christmas sports, the wassail-bowl,
That toss'd up, after Fox-i'-th'-hole;
Of Blind-man-buff, and of the care
That young men have to shoe the Mare;
Of twelf-tide cakes, of pease and beans,
Wherewith ye make those merry scenes,
Whenas ye chuse your king and queen,
And cry out, 'Hey for our town green!'--
Of ash-heaps, in the which ye use
Husbands and wives by streaks to chuse;
Of crackling laurel, which fore-sounds
A plenteous harvest to your grounds;
Of these, and such like things, for shift,
We send instead of New-year's gift.
--Read then, and when your faces shine
With buxom meat and cap'ring wine,
Remember us in cups full crown'd,
And let our city-health go round,
Quite through the young maids and the men,
To the ninth number, if not ten;
Until the fired chestnuts leap
For joy to see the fruits ye reap,
From the plump chalice and the cup
That tempts till it be tossed up.--
Then as ye sit about your embers,
Call not to mind those fled Decembers;
But think on these, that are t' appear,
As daughters to the instant year;
Sit crown'd with rose-buds, and carouse,
Till LIBER PATER twirls the house
About your ears, and lay upon
The year, your cares, that's fled and gone:
And let the russet swains the plough
And harrow hang up resting now;
And to the bag-pipe all address,
Till sleep takes place of weariness.
And thus throughout, with Christmas plays,
Frolic the full twelve holy-days.

by Robert Herrick

Comments (4)

Actually, no matter how hard the passing year has been, there are those who have much to celebrate that came through the very same year. Herrick gives a plump face to the giving of thanks for the days of Christmas and the goodness of the closing days of the year. I enjoyed this poem very much!
A frolicky and festive lyric stirring a somewhat anarchistic freeedom in an earlier day. I found this a very fine choice for the 6th day of Christmas. Robert was a man of longevity and tenacity. God bless him-
you can't beat a good moan, so it's Christmas?
Tityre Tus Tityre Tus == Dissolute young scape, graces, whose delight was to worry the watchmen, upset sedans, wrench knockers off doors, and be rude to pretty women, at the close of the seventeenth century. The name comes from the first line of Virgil's first Eclogue