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Sir Walter Scott is best known for his Waverly novels and Idylls of the King, but the knighted British author was also an competent poet, as evidenced by this fantastic holiday piece.  Enjoy!

Heap on more wood! — the wind is chill;

But let it whistle as it will,

We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.

Each age has deemed the new born year

The fittest time for festal cheer.

And well our Christian sires of old.

Loved when the year its course had rolled,

And brought blithe Christmas back again,

With all his hospitable train.

Domestic and religious rite

Gave honour to the holy night:

On Christmas eve the bells were rung;

On Christmas eve the mass was sung;

That only night, in all the year,

Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.

The damsel donned her kirtle sheen;

The hail was dressed with holly green;

Forth to the wood did merry men go,

To gather in the mistletoe,

Then opened wide the baron’s hail

To vassal, tenant, serf, and all;

Power laid his rod of rule aside,

And ceremony doff’d his pride.

The heir, with roses in his shoes,

That night might village partner choose.

The lord, underogating, share

The vulgar game of “post and pair!”

All hailed with uncontroll’d delight

And general voice, the happy night

That to the cottage, as the crown,

Brought tidings of salvation down.

The fire with well dried logs supplied,

Went roaring up the chimney wide;

The huge hail table’s oaken face,

Scrubb’d till it shone, the day to grace,

Bore then upon: its massive board

No mark to part the squire and lord.

Then was brought in the lusty brawn,

By old, blue-coated serving-man;

Then the grim boar’s head frowned on high,

Crested with bays and rosemary.

Well can the green-garbed ranger tell,

How, when, and where, the monster fell;

What dogs before his death he tore,

And all the baiting of the boar.

The wassail round in good brown bowls,

Garnished with ribbon, blithely trowls.

There the huge sirloin reeked: hard by

Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie;

Nor failed old Scotland to produce

At such high tide her savoury goose.

Then came the merry masquers in,

And carols roar’d with blithesome din;

If unmelodious was the song,

It was a hearty note, and strong.

Who lists may in their mumming see

Traces of ancient mystery;

White shirts supplied the masquerade,

And smutted cheeks the visor made

But oh! what masquers, richly dight,

Can boast of bosoms half so light!

England was merry England when

Old Christmas brought his sports again.

’Twas Christmas broached the mightiest ale,

’Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;

A Christmas gambol oft would cheer

A poor man’s heart through half the year.