[Editor: A poem published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 21 December 1878.]
A Christmas Welcome.
Though I come not with ivy and holly,
And the snows of the fierce northern yule,
Nor the jovial frolicsome folly,
Of the Abbot and Lord of misrule! —
Yet my sons of Old England remember
To welcome me here as of old,
Through the sun of my southern December,
Is as hot as my northern is cold.
And here though no Pole-star shines nightly,
’Midst the icicle dews of the sky, —
Yet the Southern Cross emblems more brightly
The sign of the Saviour on high;
And His birth-time brings kind thoughts as ever,
To gladden the bright Christmas tide;
And though oceans our old homes may sever,
Old memories they cannot divide.
So hail to thee! old father Christmas!
The Church and the hearts’ jubilee —
When friends are more friendly, and foes meet half kindly,
And all join in welcome to thee!
Though the Age is half crude, and lacks reverence,
And wide teaching means shallow, perforce, —
And new thought from old worship work’s severance,
’Midst the creeds which have guided our course;
And whether of earth or supernal,
The law of the present seems change;
Still truth is but one, and eternal!
And NEW truths may be TRUE yet look strange.
But the chief of its voices has never
Grown changed — since Christ first gave it birth, —
And it echoes at Christmas, for ever
“Peace and good will to all upon earth!”
So here’s to thee! old father Christmas,
Whatever the land or the sun —
Thou speakest of Christ, and that law which is highest,
“I say to ye — love every one.”
So wassail and welcome Old Christmas!
Made glad with kind thoughts and good cheer;
And kind readers all — both great and both small,
We wish you a happy New Year!
Sydney, December, 1878.
The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), 21 December 1878, p. 1169