Christmas Past: Victorian Drinking Song

Our Victorian ancestors not only drank alcohol on Christmas; they also sang songs about snogging it. At least, that’s the impression given by the Angel Illustrated Pocket Keepsake and Book of Christmas Amusements, for 1877 (the same publication that gave us an amusing set of conundrums).


NEW SONG
Brighten the Flame.
Published by Hopwood & Crew,
42, New Bond Street;
Poetry by Daise J. Curry; Composed by W. Bush

Sing of Wine! for the care that has canker’d,
And the load that has crush’d us we miss,
When our lips touch the mouth of the tankard
In a long loving succulent kiss;
Then of thee, wine, we’ll sing the warm praises,
Thou’rt a friend that is over the same;
For thou fannest our fire till it blazes,
And we’ll drink thee to brighten the flame.

Then fill, fill again, and let the rich rain
Turn the sour fruit of care into bliss,
‘Tis food for the brain, ‘tis poison to pain,
So we’ll quaff it in bumpers of this.

Thy tints shame the choicest of roses,
Thy scent is as sweet as their own;
In thee the warm sunbeam reposes,
To brighten thy flood it has flown.
Ye gods! thy soft heat, wine, inspires me,
Thy mirth-felling, life-giving stream,
Thine essence with fresh vigour fires me
As lightning fires air with its gleam.

Then fill, full again, &c

The poets of old loved to linger
Ov’r praises of this or that dame,
Their variety served to the singer,
As a liquid to brighten the flame;
A variety fully as thrilling,
As charming as their’s thou canst claim,
The coldest with fire anew filling,
Then we’ll drink thee to brighten the flame.

Then fill, full again, &c

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