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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–1894)

A New and Old Year Song

PASSING 1 away, saith the World, passing away:
Chances, beauty, and youth sapped day by day:
Thy life never continueth in one stay.
Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to gray
That hath won neither laurel nor bay?        5
I shall clothe myself in spring and bud in May:
Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay
On my bosom for aye.
Then I answered: Yea.
Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away,        10
With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play;
Hearken what the past doth witness and say:
Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array,
A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay.
At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day,        15
Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay:
Watch thou and pray.
Then I answered: Yea.
Passing away, saith my God, passing away:
Winter passeth after the long delay:        20
New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray,
Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven’s May.
Though I tarry, wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray.
Arise, come away, night is past, and lo, it is day,
My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say.        25
Then I answered: Yea.
Note 1. The first two poems by Miss Rossetti are from the “Goblin Market” volume, the second, “From House to Home,” being an extract from a much longer piece so called. The rest of the selection is from the volume entitled “Verses.” [back]