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And, when the solemn and deep church-bell

Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,

The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar

The spectral camp is fled ; Faith shineth as a morning star,

Our ghastly fears are dead.

MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR.

Yes, the Year is growing old,

And his eye is pale and bleared !
Death, with frosty hand and cold,
Plucks the old man by the beard,

Sorely,— sorely!

The leaves are falling, falling,

Solemnly and slow ;
“Caw! caw ! ” the rooks are calling,
It is a sound of woe,

A sound of woe !

MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR. 27

Through woods and mountain passes

The winds, like anthems, roll; They are chanting solemn masses, Singing ; “Pray for this poor soul,

Pray, — pray !"

And the hooded clouds, like friars,

Tell their beads in drops of rain, And patter their doleful prayers ; — But their prayers are all in vain,

All in vain !

There he stands in the foul weather,

The foolish, fond Old Year, Crowned with wild flowers and with heather, Like weak, despised Lear,

A king, - a king !

Then comes the summer-like day,

Bids the old man rejoice !
His joy ! his last ! O, the old man gray,

Loveth that ever-soft voice,

Gentle and low.

To the crimson woods he saith,

To the voice gentle and low Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath,“Pray do not mock me so !

Do not laugh at me!”

And now the sweet day is dead;

Cold in his arms it lies ;
No stain from its breath is spread
Over the glassy skies,

No mist or stain !

MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR.

29

Then, too, the Old Year dieth,

And the forests utter a moan,
Like the voice of one who crieth
In the wilderness alone,

“Vex not his ghost!”

Then comes, with an awful roar,

Gathering and sounding on,
The storm-wind from Labrador,
The wind Euroclydon,

The storm-wind !

Howl ! howl! and from the forest

Sweep the red leaves away!
Would, the sins that thou abhorrest,
O Soul ! could thus decay,

And be swept away!

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