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January 7.

1826. Distaff's Day.* [1]


I stood between the meeting years,
   The coming and the past,
And I ask'd of the future one,
   Wilt thou be like the last?

The same in many a sleepless night,
   In many an anxious day?
Thank Heaven! I have no prophet's eye
   To look upon thy way!

For Sorrow like a phantom sits
   Upon the last year's close.
How much of grief, how much of ill,
   In its dark breast repose!

Shadows of faded Hopes flit by,
   And ghosts of Pleasures fled:
How have they chang'd from what they were!
   Cold, colourless, and dead.

I think on many a wasted hour,
   And sicken o'er the void;
And many darker are behind,
   On worse than nought employ'd.

Oh Vanity! alas, my heart!
   How widely hast thou stray'd
And misused every golden gift
   For better purpose made!

I think on many a once-loved friend
   As nothing to me now;
And what can mark the lapse of time
   As does an alter'd brow?

Perhaps 'twas but a careless word
   That sever'd Friendship's chain;
And angry Pride stands by each gap,
   Lest they unite again.

Less sad, albeit more terrible,
   To think upon the dead,
Who quiet in the lonely grave
   Lay down their weary head.

For faith and hope, and peace, and trust,
   Are with their happier lot:
Though broken is their bond of love,
   At least we broke it not.—

Thus thinking of the meeting years,
   The coming and the past,
I needs must ask the future one,
   Wilt thou be like the last?

There came a sound, but not of speech,
   That to my thought replied,
"Misery is the marriage-gift
   That waits a mortal bride:

"But lift thine hopes from this base earth,
   This waste of worldly care,
And wed thy faith to yon bright sky,
   For Happiness dwells there!"

L. E. L.* [2]


Mean Temperature   . . .   35 . 85.

Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. See vol. i. p. 61. [return]

2. New Monthly Magazine, January, 1826. [return]