Ad Fontes

Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism

Candlemasse Eve

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At one time, the Christmas decorations stayed up till Candlemas Eve (1 February). Here’s Robert Herrick’s poem about the decorations of the house for the seasons of the year.

Candlemasse Eve

Down with the Rosemary and Bayes,
Down with the Mistleto;
In stead of Holly, now up-raise
The greener Box (for show.)

The Holly hitherto did sway;
Let Box now domineere;
Until the dancing Easter-day,
Or Easters Eve appeare.

Then youthfull Box which now hath grace,
Your houses to renew;
Grown old, surrender must his place,
Unto the crisped Yew.

When Yew is out, then Birch comes in,
And many Flowers beside;
Both of a fresh, and fragrant kinne
To honour Whitsontide.

Green Rushes then, and sweetest Bents,
With cooler Oken boughs;
Come in for comely ornaments,
To re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift; each thing his turne do’s hold;
New things succeed, as former things grow old.

— Robert Herrick

Author: Gareth Hughes

A priest of the Church of England, who is Chaplain of Hertford College, Oxford, and doing Syriac research at Oxford University.

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