Friday, 26 December 2014

A Boxing Day Poem

Boxing Day by George Cruickshank (1792-1878)

There are several theories about the origins of Boxing Day but the holiday was traditionally a time when servants and tradespeople would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their bosses or employers.

Here’s a humorous poem from the 1880’s:


Of all the joys the seasons bring,
(And roost, alas! have flown away,) 

I dearly do delight to sing
The pleasures of a Boxing Day. 

For then a host of smiling folks
Are anxious their respects to pay, 

And tell me (would it were a hoax !)
That, “ if I please,” It's Boxing Day. 

Those doleful Waits, who've Iain in wait,
To scare my balmy sleep away, 

Like bravoes, who've despatch'd their job,
Now claim reward on Boxing Day. 

The Milkmaid, who deals out sky-blue,
(Her tally's double-scor'd, they say,) 

With smiling: face, of rosy hue,
A curtsey drops on Boxing Day. 

The Baker's man, who brings me bread
As heavy as a lump of clay. 

And bricks as hard as any stone,
I can't refuse on Boxing Day. 

As I was walking in the street,
I met the Butcher with his tray; 

He thrust the corner in my eye,—
I'll think of him on Boxing Day. 

The Scavenger, who plaster'd me.
When dress'd in wedding-suit so gay, 

Now hopes I ' won't forget, d'ye see.
As how that this here's Boxing Day.' 

My house on fire—no turncock found;
My house burnt down—he came to say, 

He hop'd that I'd reward his zeal,
And think of him on Boxing Day. 

The Bellman, Dustman, Chimney-sweep,
Bring up the rear in smart array, 

And all get drunk, and strip to fight,
To prove it is a Boxing Day. 

The Comic Almanack: An Ephemeris in Jest and Earnest, 
Containing Merry Tales, Humorous Poetry, Quips and Oddities. 
Picture by George Cruickshank (1792-1878)

Our traditions have changed now from the above to either spending the day with the family, or shopping, both of which also hold the capacity for unexpected peril. So if you're engaging in either today – take care out there!

Thanks for reading


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