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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Old and New Year Ditties
By Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–1894)
 
From ‘Poems’

I
NEW YEAR met me somewhat sad:
  Old Year leaves me tired,
Stripped of favorite things I had,
  Balked of much desired;
Yet farther on my road to-day,—        5
God willing, farther on my way.
 
New Year, coming on apace,
  What have you to give me?
Bring you scathe, or bring you grace,
Face me with an honest face;        10
  You shall not deceive me:
Be it good or ill, be it what you will,
It needs shall help me on my road,
My rugged way to heaven, please God.
 
II
WATCH with me, men, women, and children dear,
        15
You whom I love, for whom I hope and fear,
Watch with me this last vigil of the year.
Some hug their business, some their pleasure-scheme;
Some seize the vacant hour to sleep or dream;
Heart locked in heart some kneel and watch apart.        20
 
Watch with me, blessed spirits, who delight
All through the holy night to walk in white,
Or take your ease after the long-drawn fight.
I know not if they watch with me; I know
They count this eve of resurrection slow,        25
And cry, “How long?” with urgent utterance strong.
 
Watch with me, Jesus, in my loneliness:
Though others say me nay, yet say thou yes;
Though others pass me by, stop thou to bless.
Yea, thou dost stop with me this vigil-night;        30
To-night of pain, to-morrow of delight:
I, Love, am thine; thou, Lord my God, art mine.
 
III
PASSING away, saith the world, passing away:
Chances, beauty, and youth sapped day by day;
  Thy life never continueth in one stay.        35
Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to gray
  That hath won neither laurel nor bay?
I shall clothe myself in spring and bud in May:
Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay
          On my bosom for aye.        40
          Then I answered, Yea.
 
Passing away, saith my soul, passing away;
With its burden of fear and hope, of labor and play.
Hearken what the past doth witness and say:—
Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array,        45
A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay.
At midnight, at cock-crow, at morning one certain day
Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay:
          Watch thou and pray.
          Then I answered, Yea.        50
 
Passing away, saith my God, passing away:
      Winter passeth after long delay;
New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray,
      Turtle calleth turtle in heaven’s May.
Though I tarry, wait for me, trust me, watch and pray.        55
Arise, come away; night is past, and lo, it is day,
My love, my sister, my spouse, thou shalt hear me say.
            Then I answered, Yea.
 
 
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