It is the day when he was born,
      A bitter day that early sank
      Behind a purple-frosty bank
Of vapour, leaving night forlorn.

The time admits not flowers or leaves
      To deck the banquet. Fiercely flies
      The blast of North and East, and ice
Makes daggers at the sharpen'd eaves,

And bristles all the brakes and thorns
      To yon hard crescent, as she hangs
      Above the wood which grides and clangs
Its leafless ribs and iron horns

Together, in the drifts that pass
      To darken on the rolling brine
      That breaks the coast. But fetch the wine,
Arrange the board and brim the glass;

Bring in great logs and let them lie,
      To make a solid core of heat;
      Be cheerful-minded, talk and treat
Of all things ev'n as he were by;

We keep the day. With festal cheer,
      With books and music, surely we
      Will drink to him, whate'er he be,
And sing the songs he loved to hear.


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Last modified 19 February 2010