Saying Goodbye to 2019

George Morland, Sailor’s Farewell (c. 1790)

Tuesday – New Year’s Eve

While we look forward to the new year, William Cullen Bryant reminds us that we shouldn’t turn our backs too quickly on the old year. “Don’t you get tired of saying Onward?” Circe says to Odysseus in Margaret Atwood’s Circe/Mud Poems, and in “A Song for New Year’s Eve” Bryant suggests we focus on the old year for “one little hour” more before sending him packing.

I’m all for living in the moment so here’s to 2019, which has had many delicious moments. For me these included teaching at a new college, improving my tennis, spending lovely hours with my mother and my wife, and making many new friends.

I’ll starting thinking tomorrow about the future.

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
For his familiar sake.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands
Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
Because he gives no more?
Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,
While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
How sweet the seventh day’s rest!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
Of all they said and did!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
Oh be the new as kind!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.
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