THE NEW YEAR’S GIFT
LET others look for pearl and gold,
Rich is the gem that Thou did’st send,
A New Years Gift
No news of navies burnt at seas; No noise of late spawn'd tittyries; No closet plot or open vent, That frights men with a Parliament: No new device or late-found trick, To read by th' stars the kingdom's sick; No gin to catch the State, or wring The free-born nostril of the King, We send to you; but here a jolly Verse crown'd with ivy and with holly; That tells of winter's tales and mirth That milk-maids make about the hearth; Of Christmas sports, the wassail-bowl, That tost up, after fox-i'-th'-hole; Of blind-man-buff, and of the care That young men have to shoe the mare; Of twelfth-tide cakes, of pease and beans, Wherewith ye make those merry scenes, Whenas ye chuse your king and queen, And cry out, Hey for our town green! Of ash-heaps, in the which ye use Husbands and wives by streaks to chuse; Of crackling laurel, which fore-sounds A plenteous harvest to your grounds; Of these, and such like things, for shift, We send instead of New-year's gift. Read then, and when your faces shine With buxom meat and cap'ring wine, Remember us in cups full crown'd, And let our city-health go round, Quite through the young maids and the men, To the ninth number, if not ten; Until the fired chestnuts leap For joy to see the fruits ye reap, From the plump chalice and the cup That tempts till it be tossed up.-- Then as ye sit about your embers, Call not to mind those fled Decembers; But think on these, that are t' appear, As daughters to the instant year; Sit crowned with rose-buds, and carouse, Till Liber Pater twirls the house About your ears, and lay upon The year, your cares, that's fled and gone: And let the russet swains the plough And harrow hang up resting now; And to the bag-pipe all address, Till sleep takes place of weariness. And thus throughout, with Christmas plays, Frolic the full twelve holidays.