The New Year stood on the earth alone
At the dawn of a bitter day,
And he gathered his robe about his feet
In a petulant baby way.
And he said: "I am king of this fine domain,
Of the bustle, and whirr, and hum;
But here I stand on the earth alone.
Why do not my subjects come?"
Then a bent form came to the tiny feet,
And bowed with a weary smile:
"I am worn," said he, "and my work is done;
Praise God, I may rest awhile!
But, child, this world is a queer old place,
for nothing is fair and new;
But I wish you luck!" said the grand Old Year;
And he faded away from view.
A strong man paused by the lonely spot
Where the New Year stood in the snow.
"I am one of your subjects, sire," quoth he,
"And my way is long to go.
But I pledge a sword to your work and play,
And I give you my heart and breath."
"Ah, who are you?" asked the Baby Year.
And the stranger answered, "Death."
A chubby boy with a merry smile
Came whistling down from high.
"I am come," cried he, "from the throne of God;
A subject of yours am I.
I give you my arrows sharp and swift,
And a smile from the sky above."
"Ah! what is your name?" asked the small New Year;
And the cherub answered, "Love."
Then the New Year stood in the snow alone,
"And I may be king," said he.
"I may rule over the earth and sky,
Over the air and sea;
But two rule ever with me," he said,
"For the merciful God above
Has made them kings of the universe,
And their names are Death and Love."