BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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FEELINGS OF THE SEASON.                                89
And her sick head is bound about with clouds, As if she threatened night, ere noon of day ! It does not look as it would have a hail Or health wished in it—as of other morns !"
And the general discomforts of the season are bemoaned by old Sackville, with words that have a wintry sound, in the following passage which we extract from "England's Parnassus."—
" The wrathfull winter, proching on a pace With blustring blast had all ybard the treene, And old Saturnus, with his frosty face, With chilling cold had pearst the tender greene ; The mantle rent wherein inwrapped beene The gladsome groves that now lay over-throwne, The tapers torne, and every tree downe blowne; The soyle, that erst so seemely was to seeme, Was all dispoiled of her beauties hewe, And stole fresh flowers (wherewith the Somer's queene Had clad the earth), now Boreas blast downe blew; And small fowles flocking, in their songs did rew The Winter's wrath, where with each thing defast, In wofull wise bewayl'd the Sommer past: Hawthorne had lost his motley liverie, The naked twigs were shivering all for cold And, dropping down the teares aboundantlie, Each thing, methought, with weeping eye me told The cruell season, bidding me with-hold Myselfe within;"
The feelings excited by this dreary period of transition,—and by the desolate aspect of external things to which it has at length brought us,—would seem, at first view, to be little in harmony with a season of festival, and peculiarly unpropitious to the claims of merriment. And yet it is precisely this joyless condition of the natural world, which drives us to take refuge in our moral resources,—at the same time that it furnishes us with the leisure necessary for their successful development. The spirit of cheer­fulness which, for the blessing of man, is implanted in his nature —deprived of the many issues by which, at other seasons, it walks abroad, and breathes amid the sights and sounds of nature -'—is driven to its own devices for modes of manifestation, and takes up its station by the blazing hearth. In rural districts, the
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