Christmas Day

The morn broke bright: the thronging people wore
Their best; but in the general face I saw
No touch of veneration or of awe.
Christ's natal day? 'Twas merely one day more
On which the mart agreed to close its door;
A lounging-time by usage and by law
Sanctioned; nor recked they, beyond this, one straw
Of any meaning which for man it bore!

Fated among Time's fallen leaves to stray,
We breathe an air that savours of the tomb,
Heavy with dissolution and decay;
Waiting till some new world-emotion rise,
And with the might of the unchained simoom
Sweep hence this dying Past that never dies.
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