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James Weldon Johnson, ed. (1871–1938). The Book of American Negro Poetry. 1922.

Christmas at Melrose

COME home with me a little space

And browse about our ancient place,

Lay by your wonted troubles here

And have a turn of Christmas cheer.

These sober walls of weathered stone

Can tell a romance of their own,

And these wide rooms of devious line

Are kindly meant in their design.

Sometimes the north wind searches through,

But be shall not be rude to you.

We’ll light a log of generous girth

For winter comfort, and the mirth

Of healthy children you shall see

About a sparkling Christmas tree.

Eleanor, leader of the fold,

Hermione with heart of gold,

Elaine with comprehending eyes,

And two more yet of coddling size,

Natalie pondering all that’s said,

And Mary with the cherub head—

All these shall give you sweet content

And care-destroying merriment,

While one with true madonna grace

Moves round the glowing fire-place

Where father loves to muse aside

And grandma sits in silent pride.

And you may chafe the wasting oak,

Or freely pass the kindly joke

To mix with nuts and home-made cake

And apples set on coals to bake.

Or some fine carol we will sing

In honor of the Manger King

Or hear great Milton’s organ verse

Or Plato’s dialogue rehearse

What Socrates with his last breath

Sublimely said of life and death.

These dear delights we fain would share

With friend and kinsman everywhere,

And from our door see them depart

Each with a little lighter heart.