How sweet the brazen belfries chime
Across the hills and through the dales,
And o'er the breasts of meadowed vales,
Beneath the smiles of Christmas time!
Rough sorrow's thorny fingers grow
As soft and waxen as a child's,
And balmy pleasures o'er the wilds
Chant music to the drifting snow.
Ah, scattered locks that fringe my face,
With wintry wisps of white and gray!
Ah, sad, dimmed eyes that look away
To artless childhood's tender grace!
To-night those years with joys sublime
Steal over me and fill my soul
With lullabies of bliss that roll
The golden glees of Christmas time.
Again I live in wondrous days,
When baby hands with chubby glee
Plucked gladness from the loaded tree
Where loving burdens bent the sprays;
The sunny songs of that sweet clime
Sing softly in my soul again,
Till I forget the ways of men
And laugh and shout at Christmas time.
Angelic joys that died in pain,
Sweet raptures from the days of bliss,
Your loving lips with clinging kiss
Thrill all my heart and soul and brain;
And turning from my weary rhyme
To count my sorrows o'er and o'er,
I'd give my life to know once more
Those wondrous days of Christmas time.
Ring, laughing bells, ring out to-night!
From happy years that now are fled,
You bring the faces of the dead,
And bless me with a deep delight!
Away, away, these thoughts of men,
These toils of mine, that sadness give;
My heart grows young and I would live
My Christmas pleasures o'er again!