Henry Timrod (8 December 1828 - 7 October 1867 / Charleston, South Carolina)
1866 -- Addressed To The Old Year
Art thou not glad to close
Thy wearied eyes, O saddest child of Time,
Eyes which have looked on every mortal crime,
And swept the piteous round of mortal woes?
In dark Plutonian caves,
Beneath the lowest deep, go, hide thy head;
Or earth thee where the blood that thou hast shed
May trickle on thee from thy countless graves!
Take with thee all thy gloom
And guilt, and all our griefs, save what the breast,
Without a wrong to some dear shadowy guest,
May not surrender even to the tomb.
No tear shall weep thy fall,
When, as the midnight bell doth toll thy fate,
Another lifts the sceptre of thy state,
And sits a monarch in thine ancient hall.
HIM all the hours attend,
With a new hope like morning in their eyes;
Him the fair earth and him these radiant skies
Hail as their sovereign, welcome as their friend.
Him, too, the nations wait;
"O lead us from the shadow of the Past,"
In a long wail like this December blast,
They cry, and, crying, grow less desolate.
How he will shape his sway
They ask not -- for old doubts and fears will cling --
And yet they trust that, somehow, he will bring
A sweeter sunshine than thy mildest day.
Beneath his gentle hand
They hope to see no meadow, vale, or hill
Stained with a deeper red than roses spill,
When some too boisterous zephyr sweeps the land.
A time of peaceful prayer,
Of law, love, labor, honest loss and gain --
These are the visions of the coming reign
Now floating to them on this wintry air.
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