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It deck'd the boar's head, tusk'd and grim,
The wassail bowl wreath'd to the brim:
A summer green hung every where,
For Christmas came but once a year.

His jaded steed the armed knight
Rein'd up before the abbey gate;
By all assisted to alight,

From humble monk to abbot great. They placed his lance behind the door, His armour on the rush-strewn floor; And then brought out the best of cheer, For Christmas came but once a year.

The maiden then, in quaint attire,

Loosed from her head the silken hood, And danced before the yule-clog fire

The crackling monarch of the wood. Helmet and shield flash'd back the blaze, In lines of light, like summer rays, While music sounded loud and clear; For Christmas came but once a year.

What though upon his hoary head
Have fallen many a winter's snow?
His wreath is still as green and red

As 'twas a thousand years ago.
For what has he to do with care?
His wassail-bowl and old arm-chair
Are ever standing ready there,

For Christmas comes but once a year..



No marvel Christmas lives so long,
He never knew but merry hours,

His nights were spent with mirth and song,
In happy homes and princely bowers;
Was greeted both by serf and lord,
And seated at the festal board;
While every voice cried "Welcome here,
Old Christmas comes but once a year."

For those old times are dead and gone,
And those who hail'd them pass'd away,
Yet still there lingers many a one
To welcome in old Christmas Day.
The poor will many a care forget,
The debtor think not of his debt;
But as they each enjoy their cheer,
Wish it was Christmas all the year.

And still around these good old times
We hang like friends full loth to part;
We listen to the simple rhymes

Which somehow sink into the heart,
"Half musical, half melancholy,"
Like childish tears that still are holy,
A masquer's face dimm'd with a tear,
For Christmas comes but once a year.

At early day the youthful voice,

Heard singing on from door to door,
Makes the responding heart rejoice,
To know the children of the poor



For once are happy all day long;

We smile and listen to their song,
The burthen still remote or near,
"Old Christmas comes but once a year."

Upon a gayer, happier scene
Never did holly berries peer,
Or ivy throw its trailing green

On brighter forms than there are here,
Nor Christmas, in his old arm-chair,
Smile upon lips and brows more fair:
Then let us sing amid our cheer,
"Old Christmas comes but once a year."

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