On A December Day

A poem by George MacDonald

I.

This is the sweetness of an April day;
The softness of the spring is on the face
Of the old year. She has no natural grace,
But something comes to her from far away

Out of the Past, and on her old decay
The beauty of her childhood you can trace.--
And yet she moveth with a stormy pace,
And goeth quickly.--Stay, old year, oh, stay!

We do not like new friends, we love the old;
With young, fierce, hopeful hearts we ill agree;
But thou art patient, stagnant, calm, and cold,
And not like that new year that is to be;--
Life, promise, love, her eyes may fill, fair child!
We know the past, and will not be beguiled.

II.

Yet the free heart will not be captive long;
And if she changes often, she is free.
But if she changes: One has mastery
Who makes the joy the last in every song.
And so to-day I blessed the breezes strong
That swept the blue; I blessed the breezes free
That rolled wet leaves like rivers shiningly;
I blessed the purple woods I stood among.

"And yet the spring is better!" Bitterness
Came with the words, but did not stay with them.
"Accomplishment and promise! field and stem
New green fresh growing in a fragrant dress!
And we behind with death and memory!"
--Nay, prophet-spring! but I will follow thee.

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