“Let now the chimneys blaze / And cups o’erflow with wine”

Here’s a poem to warm up with — Renaissance poet and musician Thomas Campion’s (1567-1620) “Now Winter Nights Enlarge”:

Now Winter Nights Enlarge

Now winter nights enlarge
    The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
    Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
    And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-turned words amaze
    With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
    Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
    Sleep’s leaden spells remove.
This time doth well dispense
    With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
    Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
    Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
    Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
    And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
    They shorten tedious nights.


I like the physicality of this poem, the concession that the chill and storms of winter require light, and wine, and company to be borne, even if “love and all his pleasures are but toys.”