Guests At Yule
by Edmund Clarence Stedman
Thus sounds each Christmas bell
Across the winter snow.
But what are the little footprints all
That mark the path from the church-yard wall?
They are those of the children waked to-night
From sleep by the Christmas bells and light:
Ring sweetly, chimes! Soft, soft, my rhymes!
Their beds are under the snow.
Carols each Christmas bell.
What are the wraiths of mist
That gather anear the window-pane
Where the winter frost all day has lain?
They are soulless elves, who fain would peer
Within, and laugh at our Christmas cheer:
Ring fleetly, chimes! Swift, swift, my rhymes!
They are made of the mocking mist.
Cease, cease, each Christmas bell!
Under the holly bough,
Where the happy children throng and shout,
What shadow seems to flit about?
Is it the mother, then, who died
Ere the greens were sere last Christmas-tide?
Hush, falling chimes! Cease, cease, my rhymes!
The guests are gathered now.
Source:Poems now first collected:
Houghton, Mifflin And Company
Boston And New York