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She led him away over field and hill,

With lightsome step and free,
His bosom with fragrant flowers did fill,
By field and forest and dancing rill,
And Time for awhile had a right good will

To be as gay as she.

But she passed away with her beauties rare,

And her sister, bright July,
With fruit-stain'd lips and golden hair,
Approached her sire with a bustling air,

For the harvest time was nigh.

And she was a gay, industrious maid,

With little time to waste;
But the noonday rest in the cooling shade
She loved full well; or by bright cascade
To bathe her limbs; or in forest glade

The ripe wild fruit to taste.

And the flowers which June had kindly nurs'd

She scattered in high disdain,
But the merry laugh from her red lips burst,
When the bright scythes swung, and she bound the first

Ripe sheaves of the yellow grain.
Old Time loved dearly his bright-eyed child,

Though rest she gave him not,
He must follow her steps wherever she toiled,
Till his sluggish veins with fever boiled,

For the sun shone fierce and hot.

But the merry barvest time was gone,

And Time, with weary sigh
And listless step, moved slowly on,
While August came o'er the dew-gem'd lawn

With half-shut, drowsy eye.

With languid step did August come,

And look of weariness,
Her voice was soft as the wild bee's hum,
And thin as if woven in spider's loom

Was her bright, unbelted dress.
Some flowers of bright and varied hue

Among her hair she wove,
Scarlet and yellow and brilliant blue,
And she bathed them oft in pearly dew

In meadow, field, and grove.
But the bright things drooped on her sultry brow,

And her sunny face grew wan,
As she heard a voice that whisper'd lov,
And soft as the streamlet's gentle flow
“Your flowers must die in their summer's glow,

For September is coming on."
She passed; and her sunburnt brother sprung

To his father's side with glee.
His clear, shrill notes through the valleys rung,
And the songs that fell from his silvery tongue
Were gladly welcomed by old and young;

For a cheerful youth was he.

A heavy load did September bear,

Though his step was firm and light: The purple plum, the yellow pear, The ripe red peach with its fragrance rare; And he scattered his treasures here and there,

Like the gifts of a fairy sprite.

No wonder if Father Time should prize

His generous-hearted boy; But Time (as the proverb hath it) flies, And with hurried step and heavy sighs, Such as mortals heave when a bright hope dies,

Or they miss some promis'd joy.

Next came October, richly clad,

In robe of gorgeous dye;
A regal crown adorns his head,
Of purple grapes; and round him spread
Were the ripened fruits the trees had shed;

For the vintage time drew nigh.

He looked about as if to see

What work was left to do.
He chased away the humming bee
And summer bird, and merrily
Shook the ripe nuts from the rustling tree,

Nor seemed his work to rue.

But yet his work was hardly done,

When November said in wrath-
"You wear a robe; you have need of none.
I have shivered for years for lack of one,
As year by year my course I run

Along this dreary path."

And he was, indeed, a shivering wight,

Nor robe nor cloak he wore.
He grasped October's mantle bright,
Tore it apart with ruthless might,
And scattered it, in sport or spite,

His father's face before.

The squirrel he chased to its winter rest,

Within the hollow tree; The serpent crawl'd to his earthy nest, As the wind blew cold from the bleak north-west,

For averse to cold was he.

But Time went on with a quicker pace,

And a frown upon his brow; For how could he wear a smiling face, When a bloomless world was his dwelling-place, For he sought in vain to find a trace

Of his favourite beauties now.

December met him with noisy shout,

Like a schoolboy's heedless mirth,
And he rung his merry welcome out-
“ I am glad to find you so bale and stout;
But what, old man, have you been about,

As you journey'd round the earth ?"

Said Time, “I have seen my children all,

From the eldest, down to thee;
I have seen flowers bloom at the gentle call
Of one, by another's breath to fall;
And the bridal robe and the mourning pall

Are neither new to me.

“ The youngest one of all art thou,

And a jolly boy thou art ;
But thy eldest brother's stormy brow
Is thine, and his robe of frost and snow;
I would call you twins, if it were not so

That you're numbered so far apart."

December laughed, and his white locks shook,

As he rushed to his brother's side;
The stern-one little sport could brook,
But him by the hand he kindly took,
And his chilly face wore a kinder look,

As December hoarsely cried

- We are much alike, so our father said,

And faith, I believe 'tis true,
For the self-same covering decks our bed ;
So here on your breast I'll lean my head,
And we will be brothers, linked and wed

In bonds of friendship true.”

And so his frigid form he flung

On his brother's icy breast,
And a wild and fitful song he sung,
That far away through the forest rung,
Till echoes from hill and valley sprung

Ere he sunk to quiet rest.

But see, the evening is long past, and the hours are hurrying us on to midnight. There go the chimes from the bell-tower; it is time that we retire; yet one chant more ere we go. We meet not again till Christmas, with its merrymaking, shall have come and gone, and this old Year shall have died in the arms of his young heir. We will sing him out, even as we sang him into life :


All day long the snow is drifting, drifting o'er the champaign white;
All the night the broad December moonlight makes the silence bright:
It is winter! it is winter! Harken to the hailstorm's flight.

Ay, the holy Christmastide with its vivid joy is fled :
And another year of struggle, almost numbered with the dead,
Bids us pause amid the turmoil while a saintly song is said.

Tamely now the merle and mavis flutter in the hedges near;
From the cottage thatch the snow drips with many an icy tear :
It is winter! it is winter! heralding the new-born year.

Wearily the lusty teams smoke against the frosty hill;
Ice has caught the brook's low ripple, curving in its wayward will;
Ice has seized the very vapour, garlanding the casements chill.

Mighty One ! we bow before Thee, praising Thee for winter's chain—
Asking that a summer warmth in our hearts may ever reign,
Warmth to cheer the poor and toil-worn guider of the heavy wain.

Thou hast given, O Creator | Thou again mayest take away!
Let us not forget our stewardship, but go forward, day by day,
Cheering those who are Thy children on their sorrow-laden way.

For the power of earth is passing, like the morning's glittering rime,
And the swiftest of Thine angels guides the chariot of time
Onward to the end of all things, onward to the holy clime.

“Onward to the end of all things "yes, that is the irresistible decree of fate— the fiat of the Creator upon his whole creation. Move onward we must. Let us then do so submissively, carefully, cheerfully. Making the pathway smooth by our patience, pleasant by our cheeriness, and easy by our charity. Bearing one another's burthens, with a ready hand to help him who stumbles, and a kind one to dry the tears of him who weeps. And so now must we, in obedience to the great command, pass away for the present. Yet ere we go, give us our guerdon; and if we have cheered an hour of sadness at a season when none should be sad, if we have made your eye lighten with pleasure, or your lips smile at our sallies, then are we rewarded with the only meed that true minstrel ever coveted. Fare ye well, then, one and all, and till next we meet we give you a piece of good advice for winter weather—

“Heap on fresh fuel, make a blazing fire,
Bring out the cup of kindness, spread the board,
And gladden winter with your cheerfulness.”

Fare ye well, once again, we say, gentle masters and mistresses all. Pledge us now, cre we cross the threshold, in one toast, and in a full cup of the best and brightest—

And so—
“Wassail! To you and yours, and all! All health !”


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