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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

A Christmas Carol

Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

WHAT sweeter music can we bring

Than a carol for to sing

The birth of this our Heavenly King?

Awake the voice! awake the string!

Heart, ear, and eye, and everything

Awake! the while the active finger

Runs division with the singer.

From the Flourish they came to the Song

1.Dark and dull night fly hence away!

And give the honour to this day

That sees December turn’d to May.

2.If we may ask the reason, say

The why and wherefore all things here

Seem like the spring-time of the year.

3.Why does the chilling winter’s morn

Smile like a field beset with corn?

Or smell like to a mead new shorn,

Thus on a sudden?

4.Come and see

The cause why things thus fragrant be:

’Tis He is born, whose quickening birth

Gives life and lustre, public mirth,

To heaven and the under-earth.

We see Him come, and know Him ours,

Who with his sunshine and his showers

Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

1.The darling of the world is come,

And fit it is we find a room

To welcome Him.

2.The nobler part

Of all the house here is the heart,

Which we will give Him; and bequeath

This holly and this ivy wreath

To do Him honour, who’s our King

And Lord of all this revelling.