A Dutch Christmas Up the Hudson in the Time of Patroons

Over the ruddy hearth, lo, the green bough!
In house of the sickle and home of the plough,
Arbored I sit and toast apples now!

Hi, there in barn! have done with the flail.
Worry not the wheat, nor winnow in the gale:
'Tis Christmas and holiday, turkey too and ale!

Creeping round the wainscot of old oak red,
The ground-pine, see — smell the sweet balsam shed!

Leave off, Katrina, to tarry there and scan:
The cream will take its time, girl, to rise in the pan.
Meanwhile here's a knocking, and the caller it is Van —
Tuenis Van der Blumacher, your merry Christmas man.

Leafless the grove now where birds billed the kiss:
To-night when the fidler wipes his forehead, I wis,
And panting from the dance come our Hans and Cousin Chris,
Yon bush in the window will never be amiss!

But oats have ye heaped, men, for horses in stall?
And for each heifer young and the old mother-cow
Have ye raked down the hay from the aftermath-mow?
The Christmas let come to the creatures one and all!
Tho' the pedlar, peering in, doubtless deemed it but folly,
The yoke-cattle's horns did I twine with green holly.
Good to breathe their sweet breath this blest Christmas morn,
Mindful of the ox, ass, and Babe new-born.

The snow drifts and drifts, and the frost it benumbs:
Elsie, pet, scatter to the snow-birds your crumbs.

Sleigh-bells a' jingle! 'Tis Santa Claus: hail!
Villageward he goes thro' the spooming of the snows;
Yea, hurrying to round his many errands to a close,
A mince-pie he's taking to the one man in jail. —
What! drove right out between the gate-posts here?
Well, well, little Sharp-Eyes, blurred panes we must clear!

Our Santa Claus a clever way has and a free:
Gifts from him some will take who would never take from me.
For poor hereabouts there are none: — none so poor
But that pudding for an alms they would spurn from the door.

All the same to all in the world's wide ways — mm
Happy harvest of the conscience on many Christmas Days.
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