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.                             93
And noiselessly, across the heaven, a grey and vapory shred Is wandering, fed by phantom clouds that, one by one, are led Out of the wide north, where they grow within the aged sea, And in their coils the yellow moon is laboring lazily !
She throws them from her mystic urn, as they were beckoned back By some enchantress, working out her spells upon their track ; Or gathers up their fleecy folds, and shapes them as they go, To hang around her beautiful form a tracery of snow.
Lo! Winter cometh '.—and his hoar is heavy on the hill, And curiously the frostwork forms below the rimy rill; The birth of morn is a gift of pearl to the heath and willow-tree, And the green rush hangs o'er its water-bed, shining and silvery.
From the calm of the lake, a vapor steals its restless wreath away, And leaves not a crisp on the quiet tarn, but the wake of the swan at play ; The deer holds up the glistening heath, where his hoof is lightly heard, And the dew-lark circleth to his song,—sun-lost and lonely bird !"
But the season hath other striking aspects of its own. Plea­sant, says Southey,—
" To the sobered soul, The silence of the wintry scene, When nature shrouds her in her trance,
In deep tranquillity.
Not undelightful now to roam
The wild-heath sparkling on the sight;
Not undelightful now to pace
The forest's ample rounds,—
And see the spangled branches shine, And snatch the moss of many a hue, That varies the old tree's brown bark,
Or o'er the grey-stone spreads."
Mr. Southey might have mentioned, too, as belonging to the same class of effects with those produced by the mosses "of many a hue," that " vary the old tree's brown bark,"—those members of the forest which retain their dead and many-tinted
I leaves till the ensuing spring, hanging occasional wreaths o" strange and fantastic beauty in the white tresses of winter: to­gether with the rich contrast presented by the red twigs of the
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