Christmas Eve

TO-NIGHT is all the year to me,
When, out of all the ripened days,
Sorrow is sifted, Beauty stays, —
The winnowed grain of Memory.
Here all the months their emblems strew:
For April, there is Youth’s delight;
For May, there are these blossoms bright;
For all Spring’s love-time, there is You!
The Yule-tide flame snaps blithe below;
Bright holly berries burn above;
And Fancy builds a dream thereof —
A dream of Summer — ’mid the snow.
For Autumn, there is harvest hoard
Of all the toiling world’s good will;
For Winter, there’s the wondrous thrill
Of laughter round the laden board.
Methinks to-night my happy heart
Rides, like the Wise Men, from afar,
Back through the ages, with a star
For certain guide and errless chart; —
Back through the ages, unto Them
Who in the lowly manger lay,
Where stolid kine soft watched by day
Above the Babe of Bethlehem.
And all the hope — the joy — that He
Gave to all Christmas-tides of Time
Lifts here a pinnacle sublime. —
To-night is all of Life to me!