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867                                    Celia’s Home-Coming

MAIDENS, kilt your skirts and go
  Down the stormy garden-ways.
Pluck the last sweet pinks that blow,
  Gather roses, gather bays,
Since our Celia comes to-day,
That has been so long away.
Crowd her chamber with your sweets—
  Not a flower but grows for her!
Make her bed with linen sheets
  That have lain in lavender:
Light a fire before she come,
Lest she find us chill at home.
Ah, what joy when Celia stands
  By the leaping blaze at last,
Stooping low to warm her hands
  All benumbàed with the blast,
While we hide her cloak away,
To assure us she shall stay!
Cyder bring and cowslip wine,
  Fruits and flavours from the East,
Pears and pippins too, and fine
  Saffron loaves to make a feast;
China dishes, silver cups,
For the board where Celia sups!

Then, when all the feasting’s done,
  She shall draw us round the blaze,
Laugh, and tell us every one
  Of her far triumphant days—
Celia, out of doors a star,
By the hearth a holier Lar!


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