From the Omaha Daily Bee, December 31, 1912. By Edmund C. Stedman. Where are the good things promised me By the Old Year that’s dying? And what care I how ill he be Who was so given to lying? A comely youth, he sought my door And tarried till his locks were hoar; A fair and foul, capricious guest Who swore to give me of his best; Who pledged himself a true year; But he was then—the New Year. Where are the silver and the gold Ere now should fill my wallet? What mean these scanty clothes and old, This attic room and pallet? The purse he dangled in my view Betwixt his juggling hands slipped through. He found me poor, he left me poorer, But now a richer friend, and surer, Awaits me—in the New Year. Where are the poet’s bays he said My dulcet song should gain me? The wreath that was to crown my head The applause that should sustain me? Alack! Round other brows than mine I see the fresh-won laurels twine! Still, for the music’s sake, I sing; The world may listen yet, and fling Its garlands—in the New Year. Where is the one dear face to love His golden months should bring me, Whose smile a recompense would prove For all the ills that sting me? My heart still beats in loneliness; There is no darling hand to press; But, oh, I dream we yet shall meet, And trust to find her kisses sweet, And win her—in the New Year! Where are the works in patience wrought; The grace to love my neighbor; The sins left off, the wisdom taught Of suffering and labor; The fuller life; the strength to wait; The equal heart for other fate? Well may I speed the parting guest And take this stranger to my breast! Be thou, indeed a true year, O fair and welcome New Year!
The Parting Guest