"A Christmas Carol, Sung to the King in the Presence at White-Hall"
Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honour to this Day,
That sees December turned to May.
If we may ask the reason, say
The why and wherefore all things here
Seem like the Spring-time of the year?
Why does chilling Winter's morn
Smile like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like to a Mead new-shorn,
Thus, on the sudden? Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
'Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To Heaven and the under-Earth.
We see Him come and know him ours,
Who, with His sunshine and His showers
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
The darling of the world is come
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome Him. The nobler part
Of all the house here, is the heart.
Which we will give Him, and bequeath
The Holly, and this Ivy wreath,
To do Him honour, who's our King,
And Lord of all this reveling.
hat tip: Slate
John Updike died this last year. In the spring of 1954, he must have stayed up very late, sometimes hearing the chimes in his room at then well-belled Lowell House, and staying up even later in The Lampoon building nearby, as he completed in a last-minute rush his senior thesis on Robert Herrick, he of Corinna's Gone A-Maying. Carpe noctem, for John Updike, in order to complete, summa-ly and not summarily, a theme about carpe diem. .