Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

A New Year Letter


_To Two Friends married in the New Year_

(TO. MR. AND MRS. WELCH)

Another year to its last day,
Like a lost sovereign, runaway,
Tips down the gloomy grid of time:
In vain to holloa, 'Stop it! hey!'--
A cab-horse that has taken fright,
Be you a policeman, stop you may;
But not a sovereign mad with glee
That scampers to the grid, perdie,
And not a year that's taken flight;
To both 'tis just a grim good night.

But no! the imagery, say you,
Is wondrous witty--but not true;
For the old year that last night went
Has not been so much lost as spent:
You gave it in exchange to Death
For just twelve months of happy breath.

It was a ticket to admit
Two happy people close to sit--
A 'Season' ticket, one might say,
At Time's eternal passion play.

O magic overture of Spring,
O Summer like an Eastern King,
O Autumn, splendid widowed Queen,
O Winter, alabaster tomb
Where lie the regal twain serene,
Gone to their yearly doom.

But all you bought with that spent year,--
Ah, friends! it was as nothing, was it?
Nothing at all to hold compare
With what you buy with this New Year.
A home! ah me, you could not buy
Another half so precious toy,
With all the other years to come
As that grown-up doll's house--a home.

O wine upon its threshold stone,
And horse-shoes on the lintel of it,
And happy hearts to keep it warm,
And God Himself to love it!
Dear little nest built snug on bough
Within the World-Tree's mighty arms,
I would I knew a spell that charms
Eternal safety from the storm;

To give you always stars above,
And always roses on the bough--
But then the Tree's own root is Love,
Love, love, all love, I vow.

_New Year_ 1893.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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