Farewell Old Year.
Farewell old year, I watch thy form recede
With no regret, but wish thee better speed,
If with thee go the hindrances to good.
The lust of power and the thirst for blood.
Thou came amongst us with a gloomy brow,
When men were saying “We must live,” but how?
When Peace and Commerce sat with folded wings,
Grieving o’er man and man’s disorderings.
When thousands stood around the parish door,
Conditions levelled – all alike were poor -
Asking for help, such help [so] [few] can give
The honest labourer that he may live.
Across the Atlantic came the cannon’s boom,
[The] [demon] voice that broke the general gloom,
That told of war and war’s destructive train –
The levell’d homestead, and the firstborn slain.
Good God! that man should fight – aye bravely fight,
To rob another of his natural right;
To [hold in bondage] , as their proper place,
The helpless children of the negro race.
Departing year, take with [3 to 4 words illegible]
Unworthy heroes or heroic deed:
Young Freedom spurns such soldiers from his side,
The patriots laurel is to them denied.
Say, [ere] thou shakes the dust from off thy feet,
What other dangers have we yet to meet
From foes without or seeming friends within?
Shall sterling truth or smooth-tongued error win?
Will thy successor greet us sword in hand,
With legions armed to strike at his command?
Or will he bear the olive branch of peace,
And bid our hearts their anxious doubtings cease?
Thy lips are sealed, and yet methinks I see
Upon thy brow the hopeful prophecy
Of labour’s exaltation; [work to do]
In [more] abundance – wages for it too.
I see again the jenny and the loom
Their wonted round of industry resume;
The weekly wage, and not the weekly dole;
The workmen’s pay list, not the pauper’s roll.
Say not the picture [is] too highly drawn,
The straining eye can catch the breaking dawn
That soon [shall] burst to day – a [2 words illegible] [joy]
When idle hands again can find employ.
Hang up the holly and the mistletoe,
And kiss and laugh as ye were wont to do;
Lift up your heads, push round the wassail bowl,
And rub the rust from off each cank’ring soul.
Relief committees help us if you can,
That each may be a woman and a man;
For one brief hour let the skies be clear,
And social sunshine gild the coming year.