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A New-Year’s Gift Sent To Sir Simeon Steward
by [?]


No news of navies burnt at sea,
No noise of late-spawned Tityries,
No closet plot or open vent
That frights men with a Parliament:
No new device or late-found trick,
To read by the stars the kingdom’s sick;
No gin to catch the State, or wring
The free-born nostrils of the king,
We send to you, but here a jolly
Verse crowned with ivy and with holly;
That tells of winter’s tales and mirth
That milkmaids make about the hearth,
Of Christmas sports, the wassail-bowl,
That’s tost up after fox-i’-th’-hole;
Of Blindman-buff, and of the care
That young men have to shoe the mare;
Of Twelve-tide cake, of peas and beans,
Wherewith ye make those merry scenes,
When as ye choose your king and queen,
And cry out: Hey, for our town green!
Of ash-heaps, in the which ye use
Husbands and wives by streaks to choose;
Of crackling laurel, which foresounds
A plenteous harvest to your grounds;
Of these and such like things, for shift,
We send instead of New-Year’s gift:
Read then, and when your faces shine
With buxom meat and cap’ring wine,
Remember us in cups full-crowned,
And let our city-health go round,
Quite through the young maids and the men
To the ninth number, if not ten;
Until the fired chestnuts leap
For joy to see the fruits ye reap
From the plump chalice and the cup
That tempts till it be tossed up.
Then, as ye sit about your embers,
Call not to mind those fled Decembers;
But think on these that are to appear
As daughters to the instant year;
Sit crowned with rose-buds, and carouse,
Till Liber Pater twirls the house
About your ears; and lay upon
The year, your cares, that’s fled and gone.
And let the russet swains the plough
And harrow hang up resting now;
And to the bagpipe all address
Till sleep takes place of weariness;
And thus, throughout, with Christmas plays
Frolic the full twelve holydays.