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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

December 21

A Nocturnal upon St. Lucie’s Day

By John Donne (1573–1631)

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(Being the Shortest Day, December 21)

’TIS the year’s midnight, and ’tis the day’s,

the yeares midnight, and it is the dayes,

Lucie’s who scarce seven hours herself unmasks,

The Sun is spent, and now his flasks

Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;

The whole world’s sap is sunk:

The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,

Whither, as to the bed’s-feet, life is shrunk,

Dead and interred; yet all these seem to laugh,

Compared with me, who am their epitaph.