“Song for the New Year”

By ELIZA COOK
Old Time has turned another page
      Of eternity and truth;
He reads with a warning voice to age,
      And whispers a lesson to youth.
A year has fled o’er heart and head
      Since last the yule log burnt;
And we have a task to closely ask,
      What the bosom and brain have learnt?
Oh! let us hope that our sands have run
      With wisdom’s precious grains;
Oh! may we find that our hands have done
      Some work of glorious pains.
Then a welcome and cheer to the merry new year,
      While the holly gleams above us;
With a pardon for the foes who hate,
      And a prayer for those who love us. We may have seen some loved ones pass
      To the land of hallow’d rest;
We may miss the glow of an honest brow
      And the warmth of a friendly breast:
But if we nursed them while on earth,
      With hearts all true and kind,
Will their spirits blame the sinless mirth
      Of those true hearts left behind?
No, no! it were not well or wise
      To mourn with endless pain;
There’s a better world beyond the skies,
      Where the good shall meet again.
Then a welcome and cheer to the merry new year,
      While the holly gleams above us;
With a pardon for the foes who hate,
      And a prayer for those who love us. Have our days rolled on serenely free
      From sorrow’s dim alloy?
Do we still possess the gifts that bless
      And fill our souls with joy?
Are the creatures dear still clinging near?
      Do we hear loved voices come?
Do we gaze on eyes whose glances shed
      A halo round our home?
Oh, if we do, let thanks be pour’d
      To Him who hath spared and given,
And forget not o’er the festive board
      The mercies held from heaven.
Then a welcome and cheer to the merry new year,
      While the holly gleams above us;
With a pardon for the foes who hate,
      And a prayer for those who love us.      

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 29, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem “Song for the New Year” originally appeared in Melaia and Other Poems (Charles Tilt, 1840). 

Eliza Cook

Eliza Cook was born on December 24, 1818, in London, England. She is the author of several books including Melaia and Other Poems (Charles Tilt, 1840) and Poems, Second Series (Simpkin, Marshall, 1845). She died on September 23, 1889, in Wimbledon, England.

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