MIDNIGHT,—musical and splendid,—
And the Old Year’s life is ended,—
And the New, “born in the purple,” babe yet crowned, among us dwells;
While Creation’s welcome swells,—
Starlight all the heavens pervading,
And the whole world serenading
Him, at birth, with all its bells!
Round the cradle of the tender
Flows the music, shines the splendor;
It is early yet for counsel,—but bethink how Hermes gave,—
(While the Myths were bright and brave),—
Thwarted Phoebus no small battle,
Seeking back his lifted cattle,—
Hour-old Hermes, in his cave!
New Year, if thy youth should blind us
Thy swift feet, perchance, may find us
Sleeping in the dark,—unguarded,—as the sun-god’s herds were found!
Lest, unready, on his round
We be hurried,—World, take warning
That already it is morning
And a giant is unbound!
Idle-handed yet, but willing,—
Let us ponder ere the filling
Of his empty eager fingers with our heedless hot behest.
Be our failures frank-confessed,—
’Mid the gush of gladsome greeting
Requiem in our hearts repeating
For the years that died unblest.
How they came to us,—so precious!—
How abode with us,—so gracious!—
Blindly doing all our bidding; stronger, swifter than we thought.
Like the sprites by magic brought;
Shaping dream to action for us;
Till we stood,—beset with sorrows,—
Wondering what ourselves had wrought!
Ere the tightening of the tether
Bind THIS YEAR and us together,
Let us pause awhile and ponder,—“Whither tend we side by side,—
He who gallops,—we who guide?—
Once we start,—like lost LENORE,
Sung in Bürger’s ballad-story,
Fast as ODIN’S Hunt,—we ride!