Each year since I published a paper on the six poems by Anne Cecil de Vere, Countess of Oxford (daughter of Burghley -- to identify her fully) in English Literary Renaissance, I've received a Christmas card from Arthur Kinney, its chief editor. They've each time included a poem about Christmas or related to the winter solstice holiday, one not well-known, sometimes unusually touching, individual somehow.
This year was no different and when I read George Herbert's Christmas, and realized one of his themes is people are one, under the same sun, and that this thought cheers him, I would put the poem on line::
All after pleasures as I rid one day,
My horse and I, both tir'd, bodie and minde,
With full crie of affections, quite astray;
I took up the next inne I could finde.
There when I came, whom found I but my deare,
My dearest Lord, expecting till the grief
Of pleasures brought me to him, ready there
To be all passengers most sweet relief?
Oh Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted light
Wrapt in nights mantle, stole into a manger;
Since my dark soul and brutish is thy right,
To Man of all beasts be not thou a stranger:
Furnish & deck my soul, that thou mayst have
. A better lodging, then a rack, or grave.
The shepherds sing; and shall I be silent?
My God, no hymne for thee?
My soul's a shepherd too; a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is thy word; the streams, thy grace
Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Out-sing the day-light houres.
Then we will chide the sunne for letting night
Take up his place and right:
We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold. -
I will go searching, till I finde a sunne
Shall stay, till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
. As frost-nipt sunnes look sadly.
Then we will sing, and shine all our own day,
And one another pay: .
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine;
Till ev'n his beams sing, and my musick shine.
--- George Herbert, from The Temple
A photo of Yvette and my tree out on our lawn, taken by Caroline
P.S. I looked for the lyrics of some of the Celtic songs from Christmas Revels but could not find one, only ads for albums or ads for going to the show -- for I would have liked to include some of these celtic lyrics. And the livejournal software does not allow me to repeat the line indentations (nor does it permit me to make all the founts alike if I type in some and scan others), but I did manage to separate accurately the stanzas.