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Poem by Robert Burns


New-Year Day


To Mrs. Dunlop

THIS day Time winds th exhausted chain,
To run the twelvemonths length again:
I see the old, bald-pated fellow,
With ardent eyes, complexion sallow,
Adjust the unimpaird machine
To wheel the equal, dull routine.
  The absent lover, minor heir,
In vain assail him with their prayer,
Deaf as my friend, he sees them press,
Nor makes the hour one moment less.
Will you (the Majors with the hounds,
The happy tenants share his rounds;
Coilas fair Rachels care to-day,
And blooming Keiths engaged with Gray)
From housewife cares a minute borrow-
That grandchilds cap will do to-morrow-
And join with me a moralizing?
This days propitious to be wise in.
  First, what did yesternight deliver?
Another year has gone for ever.
And what is this days strong suggestion?
The passing moments all we rest on!
Rest on-for what? what do we here?
Or why regard the passing year?
Will Time, amusd with proverbd lore,
Add to our date one minute more?
A few days may, a few years must,
Repose us In the silent dust.
Then is it wise to damp our bliss?
Yes-all such reasonings are amiss!
The voice of Nature loudly cries,
And many a message from the skies,
That something in us never dies;
That on this frail, uncertain state
Hang matters of eternal weight;
That future-life in worlds unknown
Must take its hue from this alone;
Whether as heavenly glory bright,
Or dark as miserys woeful night.
  Since then, my honourd, first of friends,
On this poor being all depends;
Let us th important Now employ,
And live as those that never die.
  Tho you, with days and honours crownd,
Witness that filial circle round
(A sight lifes sorrows to repulse;
A sight pale Envy to convulse)-
Others now claim your chief regard;
Yourself, you wait your bright reward.

1 January 1789

                      Robert Burns


Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. Scroggam
  2. The First Psalm
  3. Lines Written on a Bank-note
  4. Lines Written at Loudon Manse
  5. To Alex Cunningham, Writer


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