With trembling fingers did we weave
      The holly round the Chrismas hearth;
      A rainy cloud possess'd the earth,
And sadly fell our Christmas bells-eve.

At our old pastimes in the hall
      We gambol'd, making vain pretence
      Of gladness, with an awful sense
Of one mute Shadow watching all.

We paused: the winds were in the beech
      We heard them sweep the winter land
      And in a circle hand-in-hand
Sat silent, looking each at each.

Then echo-like our voices rang;
      We sung, tho' every eye was dim,
      A merry song we sang with him
Last year: impetuously we sang:

We ceased: a gentler feeling crept
      Upon us: surely rest is meet:
      "They rest," we said, "their sleep is sweet,"
And silence follow'd, and we wept.

Our voices took a higher range;
      Once more we sang: “They do not die
      Nor lose their mortal sympathy,
Nor change to us, although they change;

"Rapt from the fickle and the frail
      With gather'd power, yet the same,
      Pierces the keen seraphic flame
From orb to orb, from veil to veil."

Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn,
      Draw forth the cheerful day from night:
      O Father, touch the east, and light
The light that shone when Hope was born.

Last modified 14 February 2010