Christmas 1864

Christmas time has come again,
But ah! where are the merry chimes
Which on the air their glad refrain
Rang forth in other happier times?
Where now the gladsome youthful throng,
Who 'Merry Christmas' used to greet,
With merry laugh and joyous song,
In every house, in every street?
Where now that soul-inspiring sight
When 'Santa Claus' disclosed his treasure,
Of youthful faces beaming bright
With thankful love, delight and pleasure?
Where now the merry ringing laugh,
As friend meets friend on Christmas morning,
The friendly 'Christmas nog' to quaff,
All thoughts of gloom or care ignoring?
The bells hang silent in their towers,
Our country mourns her valiant dead;
E'en happy Childhood, trembling cowers,
Responsive to a nameless dread!
E'en Santa Claus must not be named,
His stores are scant, his servants scattered
His sturdy limbs are hacked and maimed,
His cheerful visage worn and battered.
When friend meets friend, a heaving sigh
The merry laugh of yore replaces,
They sadly pass each other by,
Resolve marked on their war worn faces.
Thou God, who on the day did'st give
Thy only Son to save mankind,
Thou by whose power and grace we live,
In whom we hope and comfort find;
Ah, teach our cruel, heartless foe
To leave us what to us belongs,
And to their homes contented go,
And cease henceforth in heaping wrongs
Upon a people who would fain
In peace enjoy their peaceful homes,
And in their native land remain
Amid their sires' and grandsires' tombs.
And teach us Lord, our lot to bear
With truly Christian resignation,
That we have sinned, we're well aware,
And merited this visitation.
But judge us leniently, Oh Lord,
And bless our arms in Freedom's cause;
Teach us to seek Thy holy word
And be subservient to Thy laws;
And grant us grace to persevere
In Freedom's cause while life remains;
Teach us, Oh Lord, to banish fear,
To bear with loss, to smile at pain;
And bless our martyred patriots brave
Who in the cause of right were slain,
And grant, we all beyond the grave
May in Thy mansions meet again.

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"Christmas 1864" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Sep. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/3356/christmas-1864>.

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