The Death of the Year.

A cloud came out of the golden west,1
A bell rang over the silent air,2
The sun-god hurried away to rest,3
Flushing with kisses each cloud he prest,4
And oh ! but the day was fair !5
How brightly the year goes out,” they said ;6
The glow of the sunset lingers long,7
Knowing the year will be over and dead,8
Its sad hours over—its sweet hours fled9
With service of Evensong.”10
How sadly the year came in,” they said,11
I listened and wondered in dusk of night,12
To me no year that might come instead13
Of the old friend numbered among the dead14
Could ever be half so bright.15
The sun-kissed clouds grew pale and grey,16
The bells hung silent in high mid-air,17
Waiting to ring the year away18
In strains that were ever too glad and gay19
For me—as I listened there.20
Oh, hearts ! that beat in a million breasts,21
Oh, lips ! that utter the same old phrase,22
I wonder that never a sorrow rests23
In words you utter to friends and guests24
In the new year’s strange new days !25
Is it just the same as it used to be ?26
Have new years only a gladder sound ?27
For ever and always it seems to me28
That no new face can be sweet to see29
As the old ones we have found.30


There is no cloud in the darkened west,31
The bell is silent in misty air,32
The year has gone to its last long rest,33
And I who loved and who knew it best34
Shall meet it—God knows where !35