Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Upon New Year’s Eve
By Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (1863–1944)
NOW winds of winter glue
  Their tears upon the thorn,
And earth has voices few,
  And those forlorn.
And ’tis our solemn night        5
  When maidens sand the porch
And play at Jack ’s Alight
  With burning torch,
Or cards, or Kiss i’ the Ring
  While ashen faggots blaze,        10
And late wassailers sing
  In miry ways.
Then, dear my wife, be blithe
  To bid the New Year hail
And welcome—plough, drill, scythe,        15
  And jolly flail.
For though the snows he’ll shake
  Of winter from his head,
To settle, flake by flake,
  On ours instead;        20
Yet we be wreathèd green
  Beyond his blight or chill,
Who kiss’d at seventeen,
  And worship still.
We know not what he’ll bring;        25
  But this we know to-night—
He doth prepare the Spring
  For our delight.
With birds he’ll comfort us,
  With blossoms, balms, and bees,        30
With brooks, and odorous
  Wild breath o’ the breeze.
Come then, O festal prime!
  With sweets thy bosom fill
And dance it, dripping thyme,        35
  On Lantick hill.
West wind awake! and comb
  Our garden blade from blade—
We, in our little home,
  Sit unafraid.        40

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