C F The Close of the Year

Editor’s Foreword

Auld Lang Syne” literally means “Old Long Since” but can be taken to mean something like “the good ol’ days.” As we reflect upon another year come and gone, well, it’s all very tiring, isn’t it? So, just enjoy the poem and come back again tomorrow!

    “The everlasting to be which hath been
     Hath taught us nought or little.”

From the deep and stirring tone,
   Ever on the midnight breaking,
Came a whisper thrill and lone
   O’er my silent vigil waking:
“Come to me! the dreamy hour
Fades before the spoiler’s power!
Come! the passing tide is strong,
As it bears thy life along;
Soon another seal for thee
Stamps the stern Futurity.
Bow thee–bend thee to the light
Stealing on thy spirit sight,
From the by-gone’s faded bloom,
From the shadow and the gloom,
From each strange and changeful scene
Which amid thy path has been;
And oh let it wake for thee,
Beacon of the days to be!”

Soft before my sight was spreading
   Many a sweet and sunny flower;
Pleasure bright, her promise shedding,
   Gilded o’er each fairy bower:
Oh, it was a laughing glee,
Hanging o’er Futurity;
Blisses ’mid young beauties blooming–
Hopes, no sullen griefs entombing–
Loves that vowed to link for ever,
Cold or blighted never–never;
Not a shadow on the dome
Fancy reared for days to come–
Not a dream of sleeping ill
There her rushing tide to chill;
Gaily lay each glittering morrow;
And I turned me half in sorrow,
As that phantom beckoned back,
To retrace Life’s fading track.

Sinking in the broad dim ocean,
   Shadows blending o’er its bier,
Slow from being’s wild commotion
   Saw I pass another year.
There was but a misty cloud
Bending o’er a silent shroud;
Hope, fame, rapture–loved and gay–
Tell, oh tell me, where were they?
Idols once in sunlight glancing,
   Ay, that claimed each starting sigh,
With the green-leafed promise dancing
   Round the heart so merrily–
Where was now the waking blossom
Should be wreathing round the bosom?
Only lay a mist far spreading,
Dim and dimmer twilight shedding,
Like to fever’s fitful gleam,
Like to sleeper’s troubled dream;
In the cold and perished Past
Lay the mighty strife at last.

Oft that dim and visioned treading,
   Where the frail and fair decay,
Comes upon my bosom, shedding
   Light through many a rising day.
Phantoms now in beauty ranging,
Dreaming ne’er of chill or changing,
Bright and gay and flashing all,
How their voiceless shadows fall!
Go–the weeper’s heart is weary:
Go–the widow’s wail is dreary;
Thousand-toned the agony
On each night-breeze sweeping by;
Go–and for each little flower
Wreathed about the blighted bower,
Bright, when suns and stars have set,
Will a flow’ret blossom yet.


About the Author

Many of the poems of Mary E. Brooks were published in the New York periodicals, between 1825 and 1829, under the signature of “Norna.” In the last mentioned year, her largest work, “The Rivals of Este,” was printed in a volume containing the poems of her husband, James G. Brooks.


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C F The River Time

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