Cordula's Web. grey_mare. Snow in the Marsh.
grey_mare. Snow in the Marsh. Copyright © Mary B. Hollinger. Gallery 35

At the Year's End

Edith Nesbit

Flushed with a crimson sunrise beauty,
The fair new year its promise gave;
Such dreams we had of love, of duty,
Of heights to scale, of foes to brave!

Oh, how hope's fire our future lighted
How much to do, how much to know,
Yet on its brink we shrank affrighted
A year ago.

And now the year is done, its pleasure
So brief, so bright, its hours of pain;
Some moments' memories we treasure,
Some recollections loathe in vain.

Oh, for a brain where could not waken
Remembrances of purpose crossed,
Of trusts abandoned, aims forsaken,
And chances lost!

The changing seasons thrust upon us
Another year, fair-faced and new;
What evil have the old years done us
That this in its turn will not do?

This, too, will die, and leave us grieving
For all the ills its arms enfold,
For faiths betrayed, for friends deceiving,
And love grown cold.

We have been fooled. The hopes that fooled us
We know them now, have been a lie;
The star that led, the light that ruled us,
We scorn them, and we pass them by.

Shut out hope's light; past is the season
When rose-red glow seemed good to see.
Look, by the cold white light of reason,
These things shall be:

A long, dim vista, blank and dreary,
The same hard failure, small success;
The same tired heart, the brain still weary
Of its intense self-consciousness;

The old despair, the old repining,
And through the future's deepest night,
Down life's untrodden ways still shining,
The old hope's light!

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