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English Poetry. Edith Matilda Thomas. The Firebrand (Northern Ohio, Christmas Eve, 1804). Эдит Матильда Томас.

Edith Matilda Thomas (Эдит Матильда Томас)

The Firebrand (Northern Ohio, Christmas Eve, 1804)

Hark to a story of Christmas Eve
  In the lonely days of yore:
'Tis of the measureless, savage woods
  By the great lake's windy shore--
Of mother and child, in a firelit span,
Where the wilderness bows to the toil of man!

"Christmas is coming, and father'll be here;
  Through the woods he is coming, I know!
Over his shoulder his ax is laid,
  And his beard is white with snow!
Yes, but look in the fire, my child,
At the strange cities there, so bright and so wild!"

"Mother, what are those restless flames
  That close by the window pass?"
"Only the firelight fairies, child,
  That dance on the window-glass!
But look, how the sparks up the chimney fly,
Up, and away, to the snowy sky!"

"Oh, listen, what are those shuddering cries,--
  Mother, what can they be?"
"Only the branches that grate on the roof,
  When the wind bends down the tree!
Now sing me the song I've taught to you,
That I, myself, as a little child knew!"

"But, mother, those flames dart back and forth--
  Like balls of fire they play!
And those shuddering cries are at the door;
  '_You must let us in_,' they say!"--
"My child! Your father's whistle I hear--
Say a prayer for him--he is coming near!"

She has seized the tongs, she has snatched a brand,
  And waved it abroad at the door!
Through the drifting snow a form she sees--
  He is safe, in a moment more;
Safe--and afar are those shuddering cries,
And the baleful lights of the _wolves' red eyes_!

Thus did it chance on a Christmas Eve,
  In the days that are long since fled;
But a light so brave, and a gleam so true,
  Through the waste of the years is shed,
As I think of that blazing, windblown brand,
Waved at the door by a slim, white hand!

Edith Matilda Thomas’s other poems:

  1. How the Christmas Tree Was Brought to Nome
  2. The Procession of the Kings
  3. The Witch’s Child
  4. The Indignant Baby
  5. The Little Girl from Town

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