Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
February 2
Candlemas
By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
 
          The second day of February is called the Feast of the Purification or Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Called Candlemas in the early Church from the practice of carrying lighted candles in procession in memory of Simeon’s words at the presentation of the infant Saviour, “to be a Light to lighten the Gentiles.” The Christmas decorations in the churches are taken down on this day.

DOWN with rosemary and bayes,
  Down with the mistleto,
Instead of holly, now up-raise
  The greener box, for show.
 
The holly hitherto did sway;        5
  Let box now domineere,
Until the dancing Easter-day,
  Or Easter’s eve appeare.
 
Then youthful box, which now hath grace
  Your houses to renew,        10
Grown old, surrender must his place
  Unto the crisped yew.
 
When yew is out, then birch comes in,
  And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kinne        15
  To honor Whitsontide.
 
Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
  With color oken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,
  To re-adorn the house.        20
Thus times do shift; each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed as former things grow old.
 
 
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