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MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR.
Yes, the year is growing old,
And his eye is pale and bleared ! Death, with frosty hand and cold, Plucks the old man by the beard,
Sorely, — sorely!
The leaves are falling, falling,
Solemnly and slow;
A sound of woe !
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR. 27
Through woods and mountain-passes
The winds, like anthems, roll ; They are chanting solemn masses, Singing ; Pray for this poor soul,
Pray, — pray!
And the hooded clouds, like friars,
Tell their beads in drops of rain, And patter their doleful prayers ; — But their prayers are all in vain,
All in vain !
There he stands, in the foul weather,
The foolish, fond Old Year, Crowned with wild flowers and with heather, Like weak, despised Lear,
A king, - a king !
Then comes the summer-like day,
Bids the old man rejoice ! His joy! his last! O, the old man gray, Loveth her ever-soft voice,
Gentle and low.
To the crimson woods he saith,
And the voice gentle and low Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath, Pray do not mock me so !
Do not laugh at me!
And now the sweet day is dead;
Cold in his arms it lies,
No mist nor stain !
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR. 29
Then, too, the Old Year dieth,
And the forests utter a moan, Like the voice of one who crieth In the wilderness alone,
Vex not his ghost !
Then comes, with an awsul roar,
Gathering and sounding on, The storm-wind from Labrador, The wind Euroclydon,
The storm-wind !
Howl ! howl! and from the forest
Sweep the red leaves away! Would, the sins that thou abhorrest, O Soul! could thus decay,
And be swept away!