Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
January 1
Twenty-eight and Twenty-nine
By William Mackworth Praed (1802–1839)
 
I HEARD a sick man’s dying sigh,
  And an infant’s idle laughter:
The Old Year went with mourning by—
  The New came dancing after!
Let Sorrow shed her lonely tear—        5
  Let Revelry hold her ladle;
Bring boughs of cypress for the bier—
  Fling roses on the cradle;
Mutes to wait on the funeral state,
  Pages to pour the wine:        10
A requiem for Twenty-eight,
  And a health to Twenty-nine!
 
Alas for human happiness!
  Alas for human sorrow!
Our yesterday is nothingness—        15
  What else will be our morrow?
Still Beauty must be stealing hearts,
  And Knavery stealing purses;
Still cooks must live by making tarts,
  And wits by making verses;        20
While sages prate, and courts debate,
  The same stars set and shine;
And the world, as it rolled through Twenty-eight,
  Must roll through Twenty-nine.
 
Some king will come, in heaven’s good time,        25
  To the tomb his father came to;
Some thief will wade through blood and crime
  To a crown he has no claim to;
Some suffering land will rend in twain
  The manacles that bound her,        30
And gather the links of the broken chain
  To fasten them proudly round her;
The grand and great will love and hate
  And combat and combine;
And much where we were in Twenty-eight,        35
  We shall be in Twenty-nine.
 
O’Connell will toil to raise the Rent,
  And Kenyon to sink the Nation;
And Shiel will abuse the Parliament,
  And Peel the Association;        40
And thought of bayonets and swords
  Will make ex-Chancellors merry;
And jokes will be cut in the House of Lords
  And throats in the County of Kerry;
And writers of weight will speculate        45
  On the Cabinet’s design;
And just what it did in Twenty-eight
  It will do in Twenty-nine.
 
And the goddess of Love will keep her smiles,
  And the god of Cups his orgies;        50
And there’ll be riots in St. Giles,
  And weddings in St. George’s;
And mendicants will sup like kings,
  And lords will swear like lacqueys;
And black eyes oft will lead to rings,        55
  And rings will lead to black eyes;
And pretty Kate will scold her mate,
  In a dialect all divine;
Alas! they married in Twenty-eight
  They will part in Twenty-nine.        60
 
My uncle will swathe his gouty limbs,
  And talk of his oils and blubbers;
My aunt, Miss Dobbs, will play longer hymns,
  And rather longer rubbers;
My cousin in Parliament will prove        65
  How utterly ruined trade is;
My brother, at Eaton, will fall in love
  With half a hundred ladies;
My patron will sate his pride from plate,
  And his thirst from Bordeaux wine—        70
His nose was red in Twenty-eight,
  ’T will be redder in Twenty-nine.
 
And O! I shall find how, day by day,
  All thoughts and things look older—
How the laugh of Pleasure grows less gay,        75
  And the heart of Friendship colder;
But still I shall be what I have been,
  Sworn foe to Lady Reason,
And seldom troubled with the spleen,
  And fond of talking treason;        80
I shall buckle my skait, and leap my gate,
  And throw and write my line;
And the woman I worshipped in Twenty-eight
  I shall worship in Twenty-nine.
 
 
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