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      Thomas Campbell (1777-1844)

                        NEW YEAR

    THE more we live, more brief appear
        Our life's succeeding stages :
    A day to childhood seems a year,
        And years like passing ages.

    The gladsome current of our youth,
        Ere passion yet disorders,
    Steals lingering like a river smooth
        Along its grassy borders.

    But as the care-worn cheek grows wan,
        And sorrow's shafts fly thicker,
    Ye stars, that measure life to man,
        Why seem your courses quicker ?

    When joys have lost their bloom and breath,
        And life itself is vapid,
    Why, as we reach the Falls of Death
        Feel we its tide more rapid ?

    It may be strange; yet who would change
        Time's course to slower speeding
    When one by one our friends have gone,
        And left our bosoms bleeding ?

    Heaven gives our years of fading strength
        Indemnifying fleetness ;
    And those of youth, a seeming length,
        Proportion'd to their sweetness.


The above poem can be found in:
  • Campbell, Thomas. The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell. J. Logie Robertson, ed. New York: Haskell House Publishers LTD., 1968.