“All hail!” the bells of Christmas rang,
“All hail!” the monks at Christmas sang,
The merry monks who kept with cheer
The gladdest day of all their year.
But still apart, unmoved thereat,
A pious elder brother sat
Silent, in his accustomed place,
With God's sweet peace upon his face.
“Why sitt'st thou thus?” his brethren cried,
“It is the blessed Christmas-tide;
The Christmas lights are all aglow,
The sacred lilies bud and blow.
“Above our heads the joy-bells ring,
Without the happy children sing,
And all God's creatures hail the morn
On which the holy Christ was born.
“Rejoice with us; no more rebuke
Our gladness with thy quiet look.”
The gray monk answered, “Keep, I pray,
Even as ye list, the Lord's birthday.
“Let heathen Yule fires flicker red
Where thronged refectory feasts are spread;
With mystery-play and masque and mime
And wait-songs speed the holy time!"
-- John Greenleaf Whittier
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