Lines Written January 1, 1832

by HENRY ALFORD (1810-1871)

The year is born to-day— methinks it hath
A chilly time of it; for down the sky
The flaky frost-cloud stretches, and the sun
Lifted his large light from the Eastern plains,

New Year's Eve in London

With gloomy mist-enfolded countenance,
And garments rolled in blood. Under the haze
Along the face of the waters, gather fast
Sharp spikes of the fresh ice— as if the year
That died last night, had dropt down suddenly
In his full strength of genial government,
Prisoning the sharp breath of the Northern winds;
Who now burst forth and revel unrestrained
Over the new king’s months of infancy.

The bells rung merrily when the old year died;
He past away in music; his death-sleep
Closed on him like the slumber of a child
When a sweet hymn in a sweet voice above him
Takes up into its sound his gentle being.
And we will raise to him two monuments;
One where he died, and one where he lies buried;
One in the pealing of those midnight bells,
Their swell and fall, and varied interchange,
The tones that come again upon the spirit
In years far off, mid unshaped accidents;—
And one in the deep quiet of the soul,
The mingled memories of a thousand moods
Of joy and sorrow;— and his epitaph
Shall be upon him— “Here lie the remains
Of one, who was less valued while he lived,
Than thought on, when he died.”

Henry Alford Contemporaries
Edward Lear
Eliza Cook
William Miller
W.H.C. Hosmer

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