BETA

All the Year Round.

All the year round : its changes but remind us1
Life hath its “ must” and “may be” as of yore ;2
For the same hues that tinge the clouds behind us3
Colour the shapings of the mists before.4
The future year : it seems a golden glory5
Betwixt young faces and the morning light,6
A tremulous dull haze before the hoary,7
Through whose faint redness shine the stars of
night
8
All the year round go bridals forth, and hearses,9
Love-troth and battle-cry, the curse, the prayer,10
The slave’s low moaning, and the poet’s verses,11
Together reach the undulating air ;12
Round the full household, here, one joyful mother13
Wreathes her rich love, a bower of living bloom,14
That Death hath never enter’d ; there, another15
Must plant hers, drooping o’er one little tomb.16
All the year round : in dungeons deep and lonely,17
Time’s falling life-drops load the brain like lead,18
That clear as wine to happy hearts seem only19
One swift libation unto Laughter shed.20
Millions of pleasant homes the land adorn,21
While homeless Hunger, wearying for one,22
Dies on the road ’ mid plenteous fields of corn23
Bright’ning like golden mem’ries of the sun.24
All the year round are little children roaming25
Where the hip reddens, or the hawthorn blooms,26
And more but know the summer by its coming27
An awful visitant to loathsome rooms.28
Yea, while the land hath fair and favour’d daughters,29
Dwelling as in a beautiful calm dream,30
Thousands, like roseleaves cast on surging waters,31
Are lost amid the city’s fierce life-stream.32
All the year round is there no bold endeavour33
To crush those ancient ills and errors sore ?34
While this new-breaking wave of God’s for-ever35
Sighs solemnly along the tide-worn shore.36
There is, there is a noble grand aggression,37
A stir among the nations that shall last38
Till each time-honour’d wrong and old oppression39
Be talked of with the ruins of the past.40
All the year round : fresh knowledge lights the
journey
41
There is some forward step by Freedom made,42
And knightly hearts as ever beat at tournay43
Go forth to seek adventures undismay’d,44
Fight Prejudice and Pride, and leave them wounded,45
Slay giant ills, set gentle mercies free ;46
Let the retreat of old Romance be sounded,—47
Ours is a higher, holier chivalry.48
All the year round a new crusade is preaching,49
The Cross to rescue from hard hands that sought50
To hide its light serene with sterner preaching,51
Than pity to the friendless and untaught ;52
And gracious men seek out the city-heathen,53
The lost young children in each sinful haunt,54
Touch, like their Master, hearts that vice hath
wreathen
55
With life-long bonds, nor bid the worst avaunt.56
All the year round the poets with more power57
Catch up the lovely strain,—Goodwill to men !58
And War, the gorgeous demon, learns to cower59
Before the mighty wizards of the pen.60
And the peer finds within his toiling neighbour61
A soul no longer stinted with coarse food,62
And, proud to join, the brotherhood of labour,63
Works in his order for the common good.64
All the year round a clearer faith is shining,65
And the long yearnings after rest increase ;66
Yet shall the world, her weary head reclining,67
Dream a new poem on the lap of Peace ;68
For Truth is opening wide her bright Evangel,69
And the felt darkness over nations spread70
Is but the shadow of that hovering angel71
Soon to descend with sunshine on its head.72
All the year round the watchful Heaven is o’er us,73
And Hope’s melodious whisper floateth by74
That the old poets’ spring-day is before us,75
A sacred bridal of the earth and sky76
When Heaven’s pure spirit shall about us gather,77
Its infinite calm and lovingness draw near,78
Till thankful Earth shall feel its present Father,79
His temple’s outer court all round the year.80