Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
The Last of the New Year’s Callers
By H. C. Bunner
 
The Story of an Old Man, an Old Man’s Friendship, and a New Card-Basket

THE DOOR is shut—I think the fine old face
  Trembles a little, round the under lip;
His look is wistful—can it be the place
  Where, at his knock, the bolt was quick to slip
(It had a knocker then), when, bravely decked,        5
  He took, of New Year’s, with his lowest bow,
His glass of egg-nog, white and nutmeg-flecked,
  From her who is—where is the young bride now?
 
O Greenwood, answer! Through your ample gate
  There went a hearse, these many years ago;        10
And often by a grave—more oft of late—
  Stands an old gentleman, with hair like snow.
Two graves he stands by, truly; for the friend
  Who won her, long has lain beside his wife;
And their old comrade, waiting for the end,        15
  Remembers what they were to him in life.
 
And now he stands before the old-time door,
  A little gladdened in his lonely heart
To give of love for those that are no more
  To those that live to-day a generous part.        20
Ay, She has gone, sweet, loyal, brave, and gay—
  But then, her daughter’s grown and wed the while;
And the old custom lingers: New Year’s Day,
  Will she not greet him with her mother’s smile?
 
But things are changed, ah, things are changed you see;        25
We keep no New Year’s, now, not we—
    It’s an old-time day,
    And an old-time way,
And an old-time fashion we’ve chosen to cut—
    And the dear old man        30
    May wait as he can
In front of the old-time door that’s shut.
 
 
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