The Silent Ones: 1882

Christmas Eve at the Grave, Otto Hesselborn, 1896 http://pl-bild.se

THE SILENT ONES.

Noel! Noel!

Thus sounds each Christmas bell

Across the winter snow.

But what are the little footprints all

That mark the path from the churchyard wall?

They are those of the children waked tonight

From sleep by the Christmas bells and light.

Ring sweetly, chimes!

Soft, soft, my rhymes.

Their beds are under the snow.

Noel! Noel!

Carols each Christmas bell.

What are the wraiths of mist

That gather anear the window pane.

Where the winter frost all day hath lain?

They are soulless elves, who fain would peer

Within and laugh at our Christmas cheer.

Ring fleetly, chimes!

Swift, swift, my rhymes!

They are made of the mocking mist.

Noel! Noel!

Cease, cease, each Christmas bell!

Under the holly bough,

Where the happier children throng and shout.

What shadow seems to flit about?

Is it the mother, then, who died

Ere the greens were sere last Christmastide?

Hush, falling chimes!

Cease, cease, my rhymes!

The guests are gathered now.

—Edmund Clarence Stedman. 1882

The Oakes [ND] Times 22 December 1910: p. 7

Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching hauntedohiobooks.com. Join her on FB at Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard or The Victorian Book of the Dead and on Twitter @hauntedohiobook. And visit her newest blog The Victorian Book of the Dead.

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