Post by Kate B
Tis the yeares midnight and it is the dayes...
Just thought it needed saying.
Always. Though those of us who still adhere to the old calendar said
it on December 13th ;)
If the subject is solstice, then whatever date you say it is, the actual
solstice is in five hours and some minutes. So unless the old calendar
says tomorrow is the 13th ... but you said "said", so I presume you
meant in the past.
Donne called the poem "A Nocturnall Upon S. Lucies Day, being the
Shortest Day". St. Lucy's Day is 13th December which was also the
solstice on the Julian calendar. Under the Gregorian calendar, the
solstice and St Lucy's day no longer coincide; Kate reads/recites it on
St. Lucy's Day while I read it every year on 21st December. Both make
sense, but for me (and for Donne in the poem) the real significance is
in the solstice and the marking of the year's midnight. (I know that
the precise time of the solstice isn't always on that day, but that's my
own little tradition and I like to keep it on the 21st.)
 This is the spelling used in my Everyman edition of the Complete
Poems. I love the archaic spelling (and punctuation) of that edition,
but most now modernise both for clarity. Fair enough - yer pays yer
money and you takes yer choice.
Sid (Make sure Matron is away when you reply)