The Christmas Tree.

The Christmas Tree ! the Christmas Tree !1
Rich are the fruits that hang on thee !2
Fair are the flowers that on thee blow,3
The fadeless blooms of the wreaths of snow ;4
More prized than summer’s wreaths, more fair5
Than the smile old Autumn’s trophies wear,6
When he heaps the bright spoil of the tribute year7
The first glad flower, the flower of Spring8
We would leave for these, a withering !9
Hail to the fir ! hail to the fir !10
Where is the tree may vie with her !11
She shot up strong in a single night12
With fairy flowers, and gleaming fruits.13
But yester-morn her bows were white,14
Snow on the branches, deep snow round the roots,15
Snow, snow ! her arms spread wide16
In the misty air like a spirit-bride ;17
Green, green! now, they wave so green,18
The glowing orange set between ;19
And the blushing rose her home hath made20
Amid the gloom of their dusky shade ;21
Where was the charm that framed the spell22
That wrought the radiant miracle !23
That brought such brilliant buds to blow,24
That ripened fruitage ’mid the snow25
It was something warm, so very warm,26
That cold may never work it harm ;27
A kindly dew that will not freeze,28
That fell to raise such blooms as these ;29
Something strong as the fir-tree and deep as its hue,30
Found fadeless and firm, when the keen storm-
winds blew ;
It was Love ! kind Love ! that raised thee here,32
Love for the friends that are near and dear !33
It is thought for the absent that shines in thee,34
Hail ! all hail, to the Christmas Tree !35
When Summer comes, the elm lifts high36
Her leafy towers to the deep blue sky,37
The aspen shakes in the pale moon-beam,38
And the willow-bough kisses the glancing stream ;39
The larch is fringed with its softest green,40
And the birch waves light with a lady’s mien ;41
While the oak grows green, and broad, and high,42
As if knowing its lofty destiny,43
A family gathers around a small Christmas tree being decorated by a woman. A boy holds a candle up to the tree and a small dog watches below. Thick decorated frame of leaves and vines. 1/2 page circular frame.
The boast of the sea-queen’s sons to be,44
The emblem-badge of the brave and free !45
And the graceful ash, to come so slow,46
Is swift, fair child of earth, to go ;47
The poplar beareth his honours well,48
As he stands like a sylvan sentinel,49
Stately and stiff, by the cherry’s side,50
The woodland maid in her silvery pride !51
The cedars’ massive growths are laid52
Each under each, a pile of shade ;53
The chestnut rears its orient cone,54
And palm-like leaf, in our woods alone ;55
And the lime throws out flowers for the wandering
Sweet as the gifts of the Christmas Tree !57
When Autumn comes, a spirit broods,58
With changeful spell, o’er the gleaming woods ;59
And lends in the beauty of soft decay,60
A richer charm than it takes away !61
Solemn and deep ! the glow it flings62
Was caught from the hues of an angel’s wings ;63
Not long may those chastened splendours last,64
For the bringer of change hath o’er them past,65
And on the bough the lessening ray66
Dies, in its own red light, away,67
As the sunset’s smile on the kindling leaf68
Meets sunset’s flash, as bright, as brief ;69
And the leaves that made woodland wanderings
Will soon lie withered around our feet,71
And claim, in the tale of their soft farewell,72
Of a deeper change than their own to tell ;73
And we, who fade as they fade, must learn74
For the fadeless leaf of that Branch to yearn75
Whose verdure is for eternity ;—76
Hail! all hail ! to the Christmas Tree !77