TO THE OLD YEAR—1865
Pass on, returnless year! The track behind thee is with glory crowned; The turf where thou hast trod is holy ground. Pass proudly to thy bier!
Chill was thy midnight day, While Justice grasped the sword to hold her throne, And on her altar our loved Lincoln’s own Great willing heart did lay.
Thy purpose hath been won! Thou point’st thy phantom finger, grim and cold, To the dark record of our guilt unrolled, And smiling, say’st, “‘Tis done!
“This record I will bear To the dim chambers of eternity— The chain and charter I have lived to see Purged by the cannon’s prayer;[Pg 27]
“Convulsion, carnage, war; The pomp and tinsel of unrighteous power; Bloated oppression in its awful hour,— I, dying, dare abhor!”
One word, receding year, Ere thou grow tremulous with shadowy night! Say, will the young year dawn with wisdom’s light To brighten o’er thy bier?
Or we the past forget, And heal her wounds too tenderly to last? Or let today grow difficult and vast With traitors unvoiced yet?
Though thou must leave the tear,— Hearts bleeding ere they break in silence yet, Wrong jubilant and right with bright eye wet,— Thou fast expiring year,
Thy work is done, and well: Thou hast borne burdens, and may take thy rest, Pillow thy head on time’s untired breast. Illustrious year, farewell!
Lynn, Mass., January 1, 1866.