The Old Year's Prayer
by Hannah Flagg Gould
With a hoary head,
And with pinions spread
For ever to take its flight,
In pensive mood,
As the Old Year stood
Beside your beds one night --
He said, 'They sleep;
So I will keep
Watch till my hour is o'er;
For, when the hand
Of the clock shall stand
At twelve, I must be no more!
'But I will not break
Their repose, to take
My leave of the race of man;
I will breathe a prayer
On the midnight air;'
And 't was thus his prayer began:
'Author of time and eternity,
Reader of every secret thought --
Thou, who meetest the bound to me,
Giver of all, which the year has brought, --
'May the children that slumber here,
Sweetly wrapped in their midnight dreams,
Waken to hail a blest New Year,
With hearts as pure as the morning beams!
'Should they remember an hour, or day
Of me, which they've vainly spent, may all
Be forgiven by thee, I pray,
For the loss of time, which is past recall!
'And by that loss may they learn to prize
The precious time, that may hence be given;
Regarding every hour that flies
As a winged minister sent from heaven;
'Some useful lesson, or guiltless joy,
Or work of virtue, while each may bring,
For the smiling girl and the happy boy
To snatch for their own from his fleeting wing.
'Now do I hear thy commanding word
Summon me hence -- for my work is done!'
The clock struck twelve! and no more - was heard
Till the voice of the New Year sounded 'one!'
Source:Poems By Miss H. F. Gould. Volume 2.
Hilliard, Gray, & Co., Boston