Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

This is a repeat of my 2011 Christmas post, but the sentiment is unchanged.

A Christmas Carol
by George Wither (1588-1667)

So now is come our joyful feast,
Let every man be jolly;
Each room with ivy leaves is dressed,
And every post with holly.
Though some churls at our mirth repine,
Round your foreheads garlands twine,
Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
And let us all be merry.

Now all our neighbors’ chimnies smoke,
And Christmas blocks are burning;
Their ovens they with baked meats choke,
And all their spits are turning.
Without the door let sorrow lie,
And if for cold it hap to die,
We’ll bury it in a Christmas pie,
And evermore be merry.

Now every lad is wondrous trim,
And no man minds his labor;
Our lasses have provided them
A bagpipe and a tabor.
Young men and maids, and girls and boys,
Give life to one another’s joys;
And you anon shall by their noise
Perceive that they are merry.

Rank misers now do sparing shun,
Their hall of music soundeth;
And dogs thence with whole shoulders run,
So all things aboundeth.
The country-folk themselves advance,
For crowdy-mutton’s come out of France;
And Jack shall pipe and Jill shall dance,
And all the town be merry.

Ned Swatch hath fetched his bands from pawn,
And all his best apparel;
Brisk Nell hath bought a ruff of lawn
With droppings of the barrel.
And those that hardly all the year
Had bread to eat or rags to wear,
Will have both clothes and dainty fare,
And all the day be merry.

Now poor men to the justices
With capons make their errands;
And if they hap to fail of these,
They plague them with their warrants.
But now they feed them with good cheer,
And what they want they take in beer,
For Christmas comes but once a year,
And then they shall be merry.

Good farmers in the country nurse
The poor, that else were undone;
Some landlords spend their money worse,
On lust and pride at London.
There the roisters they do play,
Drab and dice their land away,
Which may be ours another day;
And therefore let’s be merry.

The client now his suit forbears,
The prisoner’s heart is eased;
The debtor drinks away his cares,
And for the time is pleased.
Though others’ purses be more fat,
Why should we pine or grieve at that;
Hang sorrow, care will kill a cat,
And therefore let’s be merry.

Hark how the wags abroad do call
Each other forth to rambling;
Anon you’ll see them in the hall,
For nuts and apples scrambling;
Hark how the roofs with laughters sound,
Anon they’ll think the house goes round;
For they the cellar’s depths have found,
And there they will be merry.

The wenches with their wassail-bowls
About the streets are singing;
The boys are come to catch the owls,
The wild mare in is bringing.
Our kitchen boy hath broke his box,
And to the dealing of the ox
Our honest neighbors come by flocks,
And here they will be merry.

Now kings and queens poor sheep-cotes have,
And mate with everybody;
The honest now may play the knave,
And wise men play at noddy.
Some youths will now a mumming go,
Some others play at rowland-hoe,
And twenty other gameboys moe;
Because they will be merry.

Then wherefore in these merry days
Should we, I pray, be duller?
No, let us sing some roundelays
To make our mirth the fuller.
And whilst we thus inspired sing,
Let all the streets with echoes ring;
Woods, and hills, and everything
Bear witness we are merry.

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45 responses to “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!”

  1. That is an amazing poem for Christmas, Jimmy. That is what Ludwig meant to say but didn’t have time enough.

    Thank you for all your gifts to us all year round! You keep Christmas in your heart.

  2. Good morning, Villagers! Whatever Holiday you celebrate, may it be merry and blessed, and may the new year bring you peace and happiness!

    Jimmy, thank you for being Mayor of our little Village, and giving us such a lovely place to live.

  3. Thank you, very much, Jimmy! A gift daily from my favorite period. I especially enjoy the dripping orange juice(?) off the counter to add the realism element of a very happy family, more interested in each other than to worry about a small spill.

    What you put out into the world is amazing. My wish to you is that you feel the return warmth of all your fans. Merry Christmas, Jimmy Johnson and all who are celebrating with you today.

  4. Pardon, router troubles this morning had me resetting things, I did not notice I had become anon. Message still sincere.

    That poem takes a few readings to digest. Thank you for that too.

    Merry Christmas.

  5. I have tried, looking at it many ways. It is not quiche, nor waffle. I think Janis is enjoying…

    Chocolate Frosted Cake for Breakfast.

    Well it is a holiday. Quick energy to cope with a young Gene.

  6. After reading these I agree, it looks like cake to me. I had thought maybe a pastry? That is a very complex and well designed feasting scene, a grouping of still life vignettes in each panel, yet one integral composition that stands as a group or each panel alone.

    Impressive use of dark and light too.

  7. The meal looks like a combination of last night’s Christmas dinner and this morning’s breakfast. And Gene is busy shoveling it in while mom and dad talk.

  8. After son’s Sun. service at Cascade UMC this morning, attendance maybe 16 [there were 82 at last evening’s CE service, twice what they expected], we drove 6 or so miles to St. Joseph’s RC Church in Crosby, which does an annual Christmas feed just as Cascade does an annual TG feed. In the classic church basement, so didn’t see the sanctuary. Clunky bldg on the outside. Quite good meal, + excellent group of carolers, moving from 4-5 different tables in the DR. Smaller crowd than usual, likely / lousy driving throughout N. MN. Expect son # 2 and frau tomorrow, if weather allows. Since M is a holiday, M going home traffic may be heavy, and weather is supposed to back off, plan on driving home T. Peace,

  9. Slept until after 1 today but have done very little other than clean kitchen a little so less likelihood of being poisoned. I.must be feeling better, I have been awake and up for almost five hours.

    Kitchen bothered me enough that I actually put dirty dishes in dish washer and tried to tidy up kitchen.

    Yesterday was second anniversary of my husband’s death. I do not know why hospital would think Christmas Eve was better than Christmas Day and less painful? It isn’t. But I got through it.

    Maybe feeling ill was helpful, it distracted me. There orange cat insistently rubbing all over me right now showing how much he loves me and wanting to be played with

  10. I have a request in to Friday Favorites, MPR, 88.5 in Bemidji, for a piece, probably in the 6 pm hour, Fri. 30 Jan. FF airs 3-7pm on MPR Classical stations. It may also air on some APR stations, perhaps with the same hrs., but may differ in time zones other than CST.


  11. Yes, I did. That was part of a lot of minutia that Jimmy used in the very detailed scene. A Minnie Pearl joke, but I do that a lot myself. Wear the tags.

  12. A good comic is both art and story. Our favorite is the best [IMO] example. I had not noticed the price tag, but it’s neat.

    ‘Expect son # 2 and frau tomorrow [= today, now], if weather allows.’ Weather disallowed; they just called to cancel. Will likely see them in ‘spring’ in Mpls. when I go to see GSVLOC do ‘The Gondoliers,’ probably with them and perhaps one other.


  13. Lud is about to help himself to some bacon. It’s Christmas. Go for it! Our four have loved laying under the tree this year and playing with some extra potent catnip. Maybe the second had something to do with the first. Now that I think about it they didn’t join in the gift unwrapping with their usual gusto.

  14. What fun to see the verse! For nearly 30 years, I’ve sung with a group back in the Royal Oak Mich. area which sings Christmastime gigs in Renaissance costume. The first part of the verse is set to music. We performed it a few years back.

    I found this Youtube video of a group of young people performing “And All the Town Be Merry”:

    Our group memorizes its music, and the song is wordier than most we sing.

    I now live 2 ½ hours from the Royal Oak area and I’ll be 80 next summer. It would be hard to give up this group, this extra family. But the drive is getting a little arduous, even with a new spouse to accompany me.

    And memorizing a lot of words isn’t as easy as it used to be.

  15. Bob, I love to sing, but not in Renaissance costumes. We have often gone to see A Christmas Carol at the Meadowbrook in Rochester where the singers are dressed in 19th century garb and I would not mine doing that. Keep up with the singing, it is good for the brain… and the soul.

  16. I found this on Wikipedia:

    Wither had served as captain of horse in 1639 in the expedition of Charles I against the Scottish Covenanters, and his religious rather than his political convictions must be accepted as the explanation of the fact that, three years after the Scottish expedition, at the outbreak of the English Civil War, he is found definitely siding with the Parliament. He sold his estate to raise a troop of horse, and was placed by a parliamentary committee in command of Farnham Castle. After a few days occupation he left the place undefended, and marched to London. His own house near Farnham was plundered, and he himself was captured by a troop of Royalist horse, owing his life to the intervention of Sir John Denham, on the ground that so long as Wither lived he himself could not be accounted the worst poet in England.

    Now, I could not have written a poem nearly as good as this one, so I figure that I would have survived the English civil war as easily as did Mr Wither.

  17. Good afternoon, all! I’m up but not quite awake. We had a wonderful day yesterday with family and almost-family, but now I’m tired, so today is a lazy day. There is coffee and red velvet cake, so I’m good.

    Hi Ghost Sweetie!

  18. Boxing Day! Share some excess joy with those who help you all year long. Bus driver, pizza dude, that guy who happily listens to your sister-in-law drone on and on. OK, I made up the last one. But I would reward him.

    Enjoy a thoughtful Kwanzaa.

    emb, you did not include the name of your FF request, so I could not learn more. But in my daily perusal, I found Wikipedia notes the anniversary of G&S first effort Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old. It kicked off the Christmas theatre season at the Gaiety Theatre in 1871. Reproducible media has been lost for the original full score. But sense tells us it must have been grand, or they would not have rejoined latter.

  19. Got dressed for first time since started feeling bad. Not sure how I look but I am in clothes, an improvement probably. Getting my hair styled but had someone drive me here..

    Big goal is putting away clothes and coordinating the rest of clothes I was planning for visit.

  20. Glad you’re out, Jackie. You are either getting better already, or self-motivating right through it anyway. Get a whole day of no fever/no dizziness before embarking on travels, please.

  21. Got on the road about 10:30 this morning. Weather forecast was for rain, freezing rain, ice pellets and snow. And we got all of that. Our 5 1/2 hour drive took over 8 hours but we made it home without incident. I can’t say the same for the mangled trucks and cars we passed going the other way. We saw a trailer without the front part laying in the ditch. A few hundred yards down the road we saw the cab and it still had the missing trailer panel attached. There were dozens of accidents like that.

  22. Glad you made it, Gary. 2½ hours and safe beats untold hours waiting in the snow, sleet, hail, and worst of all wind and darkness. Well done.

    Still waiting to hear success from three traveling parties, here.

  23. Yep. The trip down was time sensitive since the family was meeting up (roads were clear with only one minor accident to slow things down). The trip back could take as long as needed since there was no-one waiting for us.

  24. I might have been strong there. I *know* they are safe. They are grown, independent, and trained. Aside from middle-aged angst, I also came of age in a time when it is drilled into you, the host is responsible until the guest is home. An attitude I think is wrong in the way it supersedes personal responsibility; but hard to shake all the same.

  25. Best listen for the tune’s title.

    Pascal? Since we’ve wandered into the non-secular realm again, here’s an online article that specified wandering led me to:

    It also led to an Amazon ad for a book that provides evidence [pro-, not anti-] re the man orthodox Western and Eastern Christians claim as the second person of the Trinity. Another book you should know about is ‘How Jesus became God’ by the Rev. Bart Ehrman. I’ve read it and listened to his lectures on the topic, and our adult forum at BUMC is now watching the corresponding videos. I recommend it/them.

    Ehrman graciously allowed a group of evangelical theologs [I think all Protestant] to read the proofs, so they could simultaneously publish an anthology of their essays in a thinner book, ‘How God became Jesus.’ Es gibt ein crucial difference between them. Ehrman’s book has a thorough index, allowing the reader to look up whatever she wants, compare with other sources, etc. The anthology has no index. It is impossible for me to look up Ehrman’s subjects in their book.

    It used to take a lot of tedious time and effort to prepare an index. I know, I did one by hand in the late ’70s. No longer. There are computer programs that prepare you one, omitting function words and such [of, and, the, she, as, not, etc.] and allowing you to skip other words. Expect I could do an index to a word-processed book in a week. Why would they not have taken that trouble to aid the reader?


  26. Janis, I resemble that remark! I still use that “old-man ringtone” because when I tried the modern types I couldn’t tell the difference between my phone ringing and any other electronic sound effect from other devices!

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