The old year is dying in the dead of night,
And the hoarse winds hastening by
Are singing his dirge with a wild delight
In the ear of the frozen sky:
Long had he tarried, and many had wept
At the sorrows locked up in his store,
The griefs that made pale while the great world slept,
And the bitter remembrance that lingered and kept
The heart of the hopeless sore.

But now he is gone, and the young year comes,
And who won’t rejoice in his reign,
If the toll that gives truth to his advent once
Gives hope to the heart again.
If he brings in his spring-time the early glow
That breathes of the “auld land syne,”
When the bosom rejoiced in the spirit’s flow,
And the canker of care hadn’t room to grow,
And the passions were half divine.

If he brings in his summer the days of peace,
A pledge of the years to come,
When the million tears will for ever cease,
And the thousand fears be dumb;
When the petty feuds, and oppressions and pains,
And actions of direst ruth,
Shall with new songs of liberty break their chains,
And the false and the vile with empyreal strains
Leap into the arms of truth.

If he brings in his autumn contented rest,
The guerdon of duty done,
The helping hand, and the pitying breast,
To every afflicted one;
If he brings to the sower that sows the seed,
After the many days,
A bountiful harvest in word and deed,
Of blessings, not curses, the rightful meed
Of his every countryman’s praise.

If he brings in his winter the hopeful heart
That looks to a future time,
And sees, when the snows and the frosts depart,
Another as golden prime,
To come again, and as heretofore
The treasures anew recall,
Abundant, plentiful, flowing o’er,
And bright as a sea without a shore,
With blessings fraught to all.

S.F.G. (Samuel Fee Given)
Cullybackey, Christmas 1864

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