Letitia Elizabeth Landon

(1802-1838 / England)

Thoughts Of Christmas-Day In India

IT is Christmas, and the sunshine
Lies golden on the fields,
And flowers of white and purple
Yonder fragrant creeper yields.

Like the plumes of some bold warrior,
The cocoa-tree on high,
Lifts aloft its feathery branches,
Amid the deep blue sky.

From yonder shadowy peepul,
The pale fair lilac dove,
Like music from a temple,
Sings a song of grief and love.

The earth is bright with blossoms,
And a thousand jewelled wings,
Mid the green boughs of the tamarind
A sudden sunshine flings.

For the East, is earth's first-born,
And hath a glorious dower,
As Nature there had lavished
Her beauty and her power.

And yet I pine for England,
For my own—my distant home:
My heart is in that island,
Where'er my steps may roam.

It is merry there at Christmas—
We have no Christmas here;
'Tis a weary thing, a summer
That lasts throughout the year

I remember how the banners
Hung round our ancient hall,
Bound with wreaths of shining holly,
Brave winter's coronal.

And above each rusty helmet
Waved a new and cheering plume,
A branch of crimson berries,
And the latest rose in bloom.

And the white and pearly misletoe
Hung half concealed o'er head,
I remember one sweet maiden,
Whose cheek it dyed with red.

The morning waked with carols,
A young and joyous band
Of small and rosy songsters,
Came tripping hand in hand.

And sang beneath our windows
Just as the round red sun
Began to melt the hoar-frost,
And the clear cold day begun.

And at night the aged harper
Played his old tunes o'er and o'er;
From sixteen up to sixty,
All were dancing on that floor.

Those were the days of childhood,
The buoyant and the bright;
When hope was life's sweet sovereign,
And the heart and step were light.

I shall come again—a stranger
To all that once I knew,
For the hurried steps of manhood
From life's flowers have dash'd the dew.

I yet may ask their welcome,
And return from whence I came;
But a change is wrought within me,
They will not seem the same

For my spirits are grown weary,
And my days of youth are o'er,
And the mirth of that glad season
Is what I can feel no more.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010


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