The Minstrels Played Their Christmas Tune

Wind in the Willows

Ernest Shepard, “Wind in the Willows”

Christmas

Keen though the air may be, it will not freeze or check “the music of the strings.” William Wordsworth’s “stout and hardy” minstrels bravely sing on, tapping into the rich renewal symbolism of the evergreen laurels, whose natural green is transformed into a “rich and dazzling sheen” by a lofty moon.

With them we wish you a Merry Christmas.

Minstrels

By William Wordsworth

The minstrels played their Christmas tune
To-night beneath my cottage-eaves;
While, smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze,
Nor check, the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.

And who but listened?–till was paid
Respect to every inmate’s claim,
The greeting given, the music played
In honour of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And “Merry Christmas” wished to all. 

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