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Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Летиция Элизабет Лэндон)

Sassoor, in the Deccan, or, 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.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon's other poems:
  1. Portrait
  2. To Sir John Doyle, Bart
  3. The Nameless Grave
  4. Age and Youth
  5. The Tournament

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