Treasure Island

Thomas Hood

(1789-1845 / London / England)

The Pauper's Christmas Carol


Full of drink and full of meat,
On our SAVIOUR'S natal day,
CHARITY'S perennial treat;
Thus I heard a Pauper say:—
'Ought not I to dance and sing
Thus supplied with famous cheer?
Heigho!
I hardly know—
Christmas comes but once a year.

'After labor's long turmoil,
Sorry fare and frequent fast,
Two-and-fifty weeks of toil,
Pudding-time is come at last!
But are raisins high or low,
Flour and suet cheap or dear?
Heigho!
I hardly know—
Christmas comes but once a year.

'Fed upon the coarsest fare
Three hundred days and sixty-four,
But for one on viands rare,
Just as if I wasn't poor!
Ought not I to bless my stars,
Warden, clerk, and overseer?
Heigho!
I hardly know—
Christmas comes but once a year.

'Treated like a welcome guest,
One of Nature's social chain,
Seated, tended on, and press'd—
But when shall I be press'd again,
Twice to pudding, thrice to beef,
A dozen times to ale and beer?
Heigho!
I hardly know—
Christmas comes but once a year.


'Come to-morrow how it will;
Diet scant and usage rough,
Hunger once has had its fill,
Thirst for once has had enough,
But shall I ever dine again?
Or see another feast appear?
Heigho!
I only know—
Christmas comes but once a year!

'Frozen cares begin to melt,
Hopes revive and spirits flow—
Feeling as I have not felt
Since a dozen months ago—
Glad enough to sing a song—
To-morrow shall I volunteer?
Heigho!
I hardly know—
Christmas comes but once a year.

'Bright and blessed is the time,
Sorrows end and joys begin,
While the bells with merry chime
Ring the Day of Plenty in!
But the happy tide to hail,
With a sigh or with or a tear,
Heigho!
I hardly know—
Christmas comes but once a year!'

Submitted: Monday, April 05, 2010

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