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Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
Upon its midnight battle-ground
No other voice, nor sound is there,
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.
YES, the Year is growing old,
The leaves are falling, falling,
"Caw! caw!" the rooks are calling,
It is a sound of woe,
A sound of woe!
Through woods and mountain passes
And the hooded clouds, like friars,
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,
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;
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,