The New Year (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

What a charm ther is abaat owt new; whether it's a new year or a new waist-coit. Aw sometimes try to fancy what sooart ov a world ther'd be if ther wor nowt new.

Solomon sed ther wor nowt new under th' sun; an' he owt to know if onybody did. Maybe he wor reight if we luk at it i' some ways, but aw think it's possible to see it in another leet. If ther wor nowt new, ther'd be nowt to hooap for - nowt to live for but to dee; an' we should lang for that time to come just for th' sake ov a change. Ha anxiously a little child looks forrard to th' time when he's to have a new toy, an' ha he prizes it at furst when he's getten it: but in a while he throws it o' one side an' cries fur summat new. Ha he langs to be as big as his brother, soa's he can have a new bat an' ball; an' his brother langs for th' time when he can leeave schooil an' goa work for his livin'; an' varry likely his fayther's langin' for th' time when he can live withaat workin' - all on 'em langin for summat new. Langill' for things new doesn't prevent us lovin' things at's owd. Who isn't praad ov ther owd fayther, as he sits i' tharm-cheer an' tells long tales abaat what he can remember bein' new? An' who doesn't feel a soothin' kind ov a feelin' come ovver him when his mother's kindly warnin' falls on his ear, as shoo tells him "what-iver he does, net to be soa fond ov ivery thing new?" What a love fowk get for "th' owd haase;" but ther's moor o'th' past nor o'th' futur' i' these feelin's, they're not hopeful, an' its hopeful feelin's at keeps th' world a goin', its hooap at maks us keep o'th' look aat for summat fresh.

Aw've heeard fowk wish for things to keep just as they are, they say they dooant want owt new. What a mistak' they mak! They're wishin' for what ud be th' mooast of a novelty. Things willn't stop as they are, an' it wodn't be reight if they did. It's all weel enuff for them at's feathered ther nest to feel moderate contented, but them at's sufferin' for want ov a meal's mait are all hopin' for a change for th' better. Owd hats an' owd slippers are generally more comfortable nor new ens, an' fowk "wish they'd niver be done," - "they hate owt new" - as if it wodn't be summat new if they could wear 'em withaat 'em bein' done. Young fowk are allus moor anxious for changes nor owd fowk, its likely enuff; like a child wi' a pictur book, watch him turn ovver two or three leaves at th' beginnin', see ha delighted he is; but in a while he turns ovver moor carelessly, an' befoor he gets to th' end he leaves it, wearied with its variety, or falls hard asleep opposite one at wod have fascinated him when he began. Life's nobbut a pictur' book ov another sooart, at th' beginnin' we're delighted wi' ivery fresh leeaf, an' we keep turnin' ovver till at last we get wearied, an' had rayther sit quietly looking at one. But we cannot stop, we ha' to goo throo th' book whether we like it or net, until at last we shut us een an' fall asleep over summat new.

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