New Year, here’s a welcome to thee –
A welcome that springs from the heart!
Thy light reveals glories to me,
And thou dost fresh courage impart.
Hope shines like the star of the East
On the birth of this infant of Time;
Its lustre my faith has increased,
And made resolutions sublime,
O welcome then happy New Year!
Like a plain of immaculate snow
Untrodden – to mortals unknown,
And fair as the infant year’s brow,
The Future is beauty alone.
Let us gaze on the sinless awhile,
Nor waste idle tears on the dead;
And trusting to Heaven’s own smile,
We’ll fear not the unknown to tread.
O welcome then happy New Year!
The Past, like a desolate shore,
With wrecks of resolve has been strewn –
Broken promises lost evermore
From the heart, like a forgotten time.
Then come hail the infant year’s birth
From the dust of the dead turn away;
Behold the new joy of the earth,
A Phoenix arises to-day.
O welcome then happy New Year!

Title:New Year, Here's a Welcome to Thee


Publication:Ashton and Stalybridge Reporter

Published in:Ashton-under-Lyne

Date:Dec 31st 1864

Keywords:relief, religion


Most newspapers which published poetry included seasonal pieces and there are very many examples of New Year poems. What is perhaps noteworthy in this one, given that it is published near the end of the Cotton Famine when it was expected the American war was soon to be resolved, is the mention in of the ‘dead’ in the second and third stanzas. There is a greater emphasis on lost loved ones here than usual, and this may be subtle reference to the social conditions of the previous few years. – SR