Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Midnight Thoughts At The Close Of 1864

Dark and lone, at midnight sitting,
Not unthinking, not unwitting,
As I muse of my surroundings,
Sorrows deep and spirit woundings-
The anguish keen, the bitter woes,
The pangs a mother only knows-
When e'en the children she has borne
Pour disgrace, reproach, and scorn
On the thin and silv'ry hairs
Whiten'd by a thousand cares
For their weal. That stooping form,
Once their shield in ev'ry storm,
That swept across the battle-field
Of humble life, to age must yield
And weak decay; yet still to Heaven
For them her prayers and tears are given.
Ah! sharper than a serpent's sting
The barbed dart, like words they fling,
That quiver in a mother's heart
With bleeding, rankling, cruel smart.
Be hush'd, sad heart! the midnight bell
Tolls out, old year, thy solemn knell!
Slow down my cheeks sad tears are stealing;
I see the grisly monarch sealing
With his broad signet evermore
Thy lifeless features, 'Sixty-four:'
E'en while I gaze thy being fades
Into the dark, mysterious shades
Of dread eternity; and we
Who lived, and moved, and sinned in thee
Stand on the crumbling shores of life,
Where waves of sorrow, guilt, and strife
Come rolling, surging, foaming on-
We look around, our friends are gone!
We wait the destined wave that rolls
To bear us to the 'land of souls.'
Oh! when we leave Time's storm-beat shore,
May we be safely wafted o'er
The gulf of death, to yon bright clime
Where there is neither death nor time.
But hark! the bells, with joyous chime,
Welcome the new-born child of time.
We bless thee, babe-may ev'ry mood
Of thine be happy, peaceful, good;
May thy right hand the olive bear
Of peace to all. Hail, infant year!
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