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Monday, 31 December 2012

“Go, Rest, Old Year! Thy Life is Ending…” Or: Happy New Year!

As 2013 beckons, I have selected a New Year’s poem with which to say not only a happy New Year to all, but also a monster thank-you to everyone who has read anything I’ve written this year; I remove my bowler hat and bow in humble thanks to you all, for without readers, I would not bother to clutter the internet by writing these pages.

And now, selected from the Leisure Hour New Year 1877 number, an anonymous poem with which to sweep away the old year and usher in the new:

Ah me! Ah me! The Year is dying;
When first he came in joyous state,
On youth and hope and strength relying,
We formed a hundred projects great, resolved and planned; but Time was flying,
And winter winds surprised us, sighing - 
"Too late! Too late!"

What lofty schemes employed our leisure,
The glad New Year should these unfold;
But Spring was surely made for pleasure,
And Summer's tale was quickly told;
Then Autumn filled his horned measure,
But while we revelled in his treasures
The Year grew old.

Oh, Spring, too soon thy zenith gaining,
Oh, Summer, of thy beauty shorn,
Oh, Autumn, for brief season reigning,
What fruit, what harvest, have ye borne?
The Year is grey, the Year is waning,
Few be the wintry hours remaining,
And we must mourn.

What, mourn when Christmas songs are sending
Their sweetest echoes o'er the earth?
What, mourn when rich and poor attending,
So gaily wait the New Year's birth?
Aye! Then must joy and sorrow blending
With retrospection, still be lending
Soft tinge to mirth.

So must we look, with gracious glances.
On deeds that rise to our distress;
So must we think of wasted chances,
For heavenly gain we did posses;
Of misspent hours, of foolish fancies,
Of broken vows, and small advances
In holiness.

Oh, it is well to pause and ponder - 
Shall every year thus lightly go?
Shall it be only ours to squander?
No, by the grace of heaven, no!
See, the dim future stretcheth yonder,
And thither, prayerless, shall we wander?
Not so, not so.

Go, rest, Old Year! Thy life is ending;
Thy strength is gone, thy glory fled.
Go, rest! While God our way defending,
We the new path before us tread.
Hark! As we listen, meekly bending,
The midnight bells proclaim, ascending.
The Year is dead.
                                            - Leisure Hour, New Year, 1877

Wishing everyone a prosperous, successful, and above all a happy new year!

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