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The Death Of The Old Year
by [?]

And the voice of the dying I seem to hear
But whether his breathing is in mine ear,
Or the sounds of the breaking billows roll
The lingering accents upon my soul,
I know not; but thus they seem to bear
Reproof to my soul for its faint despair:–
Blame not life, it is scarce begun;
Blame not mankind, thyself art one.
And change is holy, oh! blame it never;
Thy soul shall live by its changing ever;
Not the bubbling change of a stagnant pool,
But the change of a river, flowing and full;
Where all that is noble and good will grow
Mightier still as the full tides flow;
Till it joins the hidden, the boundless sea,
Rolling through depths of Eternity.
Blame not thy thought that it cannot reach
That which the Infinite must teach;
Bless thy God that the Word came nigh
To guide thee home to thy native sky,
Where all things are homely and glorious too,
And the children are wondering, and glad, and true.

And he pointed away to an Eastern star,
That gleamed through his robes o’er the ocean afar;
And I knew that a star had looked o’er the rim
Of my world that lay all dreary and dim;
And was slowly dissolving the darkness deep
Which, like evil nurse, had soothed me to sleep;
And rising higher, and shining clearer,
Would draw the day-spring ever nearer,
Till the sunshine of God burst full on the morn,
And every hill and valley would start
With the joy of light and new gratitude born
To Him who had led me home to His heart;
And all things that lived in my world within
With the gladness of tears to His feet come in;
And the false Self be banished with fiends to dwell
In the gloomiest haunts of his native hell;
And Pride, that ruled like a god above,
Be trod ‘neath the feet of triumphant Love.

And again he pointed across the sea,
And another vision arose in me:
And I knew I walked an ocean of fear,
Yet of safety too, for the Master was near;
And every wave of sorrow or dread,
O’er which strong faith should upraise my head,
Would show from the height of its troubled crest
Still nearer and nearer the Land of Rest.
And when the storm-spray on the wind should arise,
And with tears unbidden should blind mine eyes,
And hide from my vision the Home of Love,
I knew I must look to the star above,
And the mists of Passion would quickly flee,
And the storm would faint to serenity.

And again it seemed as if words found scope,
The sorrowing words of a farewell Hope:
“I will meet thee again in that deathless land,
Whenever thy foot shall imprint the strand;
And the loveliest things that have here been mine,
Shall there in eternal beauty shine;
For there I shall live and never die,
Part of a glorious Eternity;
For the death of Time is To be forgot,
And I go where oblivion entereth not.”

He was dead. He had gone to the rest of his race,
With a sad smile frozen upon his face.
Deadness clouded his eyes. And his death-bell rung,
And my sorrowing thoughts his low requiem sung;
And with trembling steps his worn body cast
In the wide charnel-house of the dreary Past.
Thus met the noble Old Year his end:
Rest him in peace, for he was my friend.

As my thoughts returned from their wandering,
A voice in my spirit was lingering;
And its sounds were like Spring’s first breeze’s hum,
When the oak-leaves fall, and the young leaves come:

Time dieth ever, is ever born:
On the footsteps of night so treadeth the morn;
Shadow and brightness, death and birth,
Chasing each other o’er the round earth.
But the spirit of Time from his tomb is springing,
The dust of decay from his pinions flinging;
Ever renewing his glorious youth,
Scattering around him the dew of Truth.
Oh, let it raise in the desert heart
Fountains and flowers that shall never depart!
This spirit will fill us with thought sublime;
For the End of God is the spirit of Time.