“Come,” said Wardle, “a song–a Christmas song! I’ll give you one, in default of a better.”
“Bravo!” said Mr. Pickwick.
“Fill up,” cried Wardle. “It will be two hours, good, before you see the bottom of the bowl through the deep rich colour of the wassail; fill up all round, and now for the song.”
Thus saying, the merry old gentleman, in a good, round, sturdy voice, commenced without more ado:
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
I CARE not for Spring; on his fickle wing
Let the blossoms and buds be borne:
He woos them amain with his treacherous rain,
And he scatters them ere the morn.
An inconstant elf, he knows not himself,
Nor his own changing mind an hour,
He’ll smile in your face, and, with wry grimace,
He’ll wither your youngest flower.
Let the Summer sun to his bright home run,
He shall never be sought be me;
When he’s dimmed by a cloud I can laugh aloud,
And care not how sulky he be!
For his darling child is the madness wild
That sports in fierce fever’s train;
And when love is too strong, it don’t last long,
As many have found to their pain.
A mild harvest night, by the tranquil light
Of the modest and gentle moon,
Has a far sweeter sheen, for me, I ween,
Than the broad and unblushing noon.
But every leaf awakens my grief,
As it lieth beneath the tree;
So let Autumn air be never so fair,
It by no means agrees with me.
But my song I troll out, for CHRISTMAS stout,
The hearty, the true, and the bold;
A bumper I drain, and with might and main
Give three cheers for this Christmas old!
We’ll usher him in with a merry din
That shall gladden his joyous heart,
And we’ll keep him up, while there’s bite or sup,
And in fellowship good, we’ll part.
In his fine honest pride, he scorns to hide,
One jot of his hard-weather scars;
They’re no disgrace, for there’s much the same trace
On the cheeks of our bravest tars.
Then again I sing ‘till the roof doth ring,
And it echoes from wall to wall–
To the stout old wight, fair welcome to-night,
As the King of the Seasons all!
This song was tumultuously applauded…