DID you ever think, dear children,

In the winter calm and still,

When the snow drifts in the valley,

Spreads its mantle o'er the hill,

When the merry chimes are ringing

From the church-bell's iron mouth,

How the children spend their Christmas

In the far-off, sunny South?

Where, instead of leafless branches

Bending 'neath a weight of snow,

Nature paints with lavish fingers

Earth and sky in crimson glow;

Where the gorgeous tiger lilies

Flaunt their petals in the air,

And the scarlet cactus blazes

Like a fire-flame everywhere?

We may deck the church with pine boughs,

Holly branch, and berries red,

While the gayly lighted fir-tree

Will for each its treasures shed;

Or may tuck the robes around us

In the great old-fashioned sleigh,

And merrily ride to grandpa's,

"O'er the hills and far away."

They may pluck the fruits and flowers,

Chase the golden butterfly,

Fish, and wade for shells and pebbles

In the warm stream rippling by;

But they cannot slide down hillsides,

Build great forts of snow and ice;

And I'm sure that without sleigh-rides,

Christmas isn't half so nice.