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Country Sleighing

by Edmund Clarence Stedman

In January, when down the dairy
The cream and clabber freeze,
When snow-drifts cover the fences over,
We farmers take our ease.
At night we rig the team,
And bring the cutter out;
Then fill it, fill it, fill it, fill it,
And heap the furs about.

Here friends and cousins dash up by dozens,
And sleighs at least a score;
There John and Molly, behind, are jolly,
Nell rides with me, before.
All down the village street
We range us in a row:
Now jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle,
And over the crispy snow!

The windows glisten, the old folks listen
To hear the sleigh-bells pass;
The fields grow whiter, the stars are brighter,
The road is smooth as glass.
Our muffled faces burn,
The clear north-wind blows cold,
The girls all nestle, nestle, nestle,
Each in her lover's hold.

Through bridge and gateway we're shooting straightway,
Their tollman was too slow!
He'll listen after our song and laughter
As over the hill we go.
The girls cry, "Fie! for shame!"
Their cheeks and lips are red,
And so, with kisses, kisses, kisses,
They take the toll instead.

Still follow, follow! across the hollow
The tavern fronts the road.
Whoa, now! all steady! the host is ready,—
He knows the country mode!
The irons are in the fire,
The hissing flip is got;
So pour and sip it, sip it, sip it,
And sip it while 't is hot.

Push back the tables, and from the stables
Bring Tom, the fiddler, in;
All take your places, and make your graces,
And let the dance begin.
The girls are beating time
To hear the music sound;
Now foot it, foot it, foot it, foot it,
And swing your partners round.

Last couple toward the left! all forward!
Cotillons through, let 's wheel:
First tune the fiddle, then down the middle
In old Virginia Reel.
Play Money Musk to close,
Then take the "long chassé,"
While in to supper, supper, supper,
The landlord leads the way.

The bells are ringing, the ostlers bringing
The cutters up anew;
The beasts are neighing; too long we 're staying,
The night is half-way through.
Wrap close the buffalo-robes,
We 're all aboard once more;
Now jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle,
Away from the tavern-door.

So follow, follow, by hill and hollow,
And swiftly homeward glide.
What midnight splendor! how warm and tender
The maiden by your side!
The sleighs drop far apart,
Her words are soft and low;
Now, if you love her, love her, love her,
'T is safe to tell her so.