Christmas Poems » Christmas Omnipresent

Christmas comes! He comes, he comes,
Ushered with a rain of plums;
Hollies in the windows greet him;
Schools come driving post to meet him;
Gifts precede him, bells proclaim him,
Every mouth delights to name him;
Wet, and cold, and wind, and dark
Make him but the warmer mark;
And yet he comes not one-embodied,
Universal's the blithe godhead,
And in every festal house
Presence hath ubiquitous.
Curtains, those snug room-enfolders,
Hang upon his million shoulders,
And he has a million eyes
Of fire, and eats a million pies,
And is very merry and wise;
Very wise and very merry,
And loves a kiss beneath the berry.
Then full many a shape hath he,
All in said ubiquity:
Now is he a green array,
And now an "eve," and now a "day;"
Now he's town gone _out_ of town,
And now a feast in civic gown,
And now the pantomime and clown
With a crack upon the crown,
And all sorts of tumbles down;
And then he's music in the night,
And the money gotten by't:
He's a man that can't write verses,
Bringing some to ope your purses:
He's a turkey, he's a goose,
He's oranges unfit for use;
He's a kiss that loves to grow
Underneath the mistletoe;
And he's forfeits, cards, and wassails,
And a king and queen with vassals,
All the "quizzes" of the time
Drawn and quarter'd with a rhyme;
And then, for their revival's sake,
Lo! he's an enormous cake,
With a sugar on the top,
Seen before in many a shop,
Where the boys could gaze forever,
They think the cake so very clever.
Then, some morning, in the lurch
Leaving romps, he goes to church,
Looking very grave and thankful,
After which he's just as prankful.
Now a saint, and now a sinner,
But, above all, he's a dinner;
He's a dinner, where you see
Everybody's family;
Beef, and pudding, and mince-pies,
And little boys with laughing eyes,
Whom their seniors ask arch questions,
Feigning fears of indigestions
As if they, forsooth, the old ones,
Hadn't, privately, tenfold ones:
He's a dinner and a fire,
Heap'd beyond your heart's desire,--
Heap'd with log, and bak'd with coals,
Till it roasts your very souls,
And your cheek the fire outstares,
And you all push back your chairs,
And the mirth becomes too great,
And you all sit up too late,
Nodding all with too much head,
And so go off to too much bed.

O plethora of beef and bliss!
Monkish feaster, sly of kiss!
Southern soul in body Dutch!
Glorious time of great Too-Much!
Too much heat and too much noise,
Too much babblement of boys;
Too much eating, too much drinking,
Too much ev'rything but thinking;
Solely bent to laugh and stuff,
And trample upon base Enough.
Oh, right is thy instructive praise
Of the wealth of Nature's ways!
Right thy most unthrifty glee,
And pious thy mince-piety!
For, behold! great Nature's self
Builds her no abstemious shelf,
But provides (her love is such
For all) her own great, good Too-Much,--
Too much grass, and too much tree,
Too much air, and land, and sea,
Too much seed of fruit and flower,
And fish, an unimagin'd dower!
(In whose single roe shall be
Life enough to stock the sea,--
Endless ichthyophagy!)
Ev'ry instant through the day
Worlds of life are thrown away;
Worlds of life, and worlds of pleasure,
Not for lavishment of treasure,
But because she's so immensely
Rich, and loves us so intensely.
She would have us, once for all,
Wake at her benignant call,
And all grow wise, and all lay down
Strife, and jealousy, and frown,
And, like the sons of one great mother,
Share, and be blest, with one another.

- Leigh Hunt


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