Mary Mapes Dodge



How The New Year Came.

by Mary Mapes Dodge

The sun was sinking out of sight.
Bessie, said Herbert, have you heard?
It's really true, upon my word.
This year is going away to-night.
It's time is up, they say, and so
At midnight it will have to go.
And, right away, another year
Will come along, a real new year,
As soft as any mouse --
So soft, we'll hardly hear it creep --
Yes, come right to this very house,
While every one's asleep!

Now, Bessie's eyes grew wide, to hear.
Let's keep awake, she cried, and so
We'll see one come and see one go --
Two years at once! Won't that be queer?
Let's tell the New Year it is bad,
We want the one we've always had,
With birds and flowers and things, you know,
And funny ice and pretty snow.
It had my birthday, too, in May,
And yours -- when was it? and you know
How it had Fourth o' July one day,
And Christmas. Oh! it must not go!

Ha! ha! laughed Herbert, what a Bess
This year was new when first it came.
The next one will be just the same
As this that's going now, I guess.
That's nothing. But what bothers me
Is how the change is going to be.
I can't see how one year can go
And one can come at midnight, so
All in a minute -- that's the bother!
I've heard them say 'the rolling year':
You'd think they'd roll on one another,
Unless they knew just how to steer.

The speck of time 'twixt night and day
Was close at hand. Herbert and Bess
Had won their parents' smiling yes
To watch the old year go away.
Nurse on the lounge found easy rest,
Till Bess should come to be undrest;
All but the children were asleep,
And years might roll, or years might creep,
For all they cared; while Bess and Bert,
Who never stirred and scarcely spoke,
Watched the great clock, awake, alert,
All breathless for the coming stroke.

Soon Bessie whispered, Moll don't care.
Moll was her doll. And Herbert said,
The clock's so far up overhead
It makes me wink to watch it there,
The great tall thing! Let's look inside!

And so its door they opened wide:

TICK-A-TICK! How loud it sounded!
Bessie's heart with wonder bounded.
How the great round thing that hung
Down the middle, swung and swung!
Tick, a-tick, a-tick, a-tick --
Dear, how loud it was, and quick!
Tick-a, tick-a, tick-a, tick-a!
Surely it was growing quicker!
While the swinging thing kept on,
Back and forth, and never done.

There! It's coming! Loud and clear,
Each ringing stroke the night alarms.
Bess, screaming, hid in Herbert's arms.
The year! he cried, the year! the year!
Where? faltered Bessie, which? where 'bouts?
But still The year! glad Herbert shouts;
And still the steady strokes rang on
Until the banished year was gone.
We've seen the Old Year out -- hurrah!
Oh! oh! sobbed Bessie, call mamma.
I don't like years to racket so
It frightens me to hear 'em go!

But Herbert kissed away her tears,
And, gently soothing all her fears,
He heard the New Year coming quick,
Tick, a-tick, a-tick, a-tick!


Rhymes And Jingles
Copyright 1875
Scribner, Armstrong, And Company