1. New Year met me somewhat sad: Old Year leaves me tired, Stripped of favourite things I had, Baulked of much desired: Yet farther on my road today God willing, farther on my way. New Year coming on apace What have you to give me? Bring you scathe, or bring you grace, Face me with an honest face; You shall not deceive me: Be it good or ill, be it what you will, It needs shall help me on my road, My rugged way to heaven, please God. 2. Watch with me, men, women, and children dear, You whom I love, for whom I hope and fear, Watch with me this last vigil of the year. Some hug their business, some their pleasure scheme; Some seize the vacant hour to sleep or dream; Heart locked in heart some kneel and watch apart. Watch with me, blessed spirits, who delight All thro’ the holy night to walk in white, Or take your ease after the long-drawn fight. I know not if they watch with me: I know They count this eve of resurrection slow, And cry, “How long?” with urgent utterance strong. Watch with me, Jesus, in my loneliness: Tho’ others say me nay, yet say Thou yes; Tho’ others pass me by, stop Thou to bless. Yea, Thou dost stop with me this vigil night; Tonight of pain, tomorrow of delight: I, Love, am Thine; Thou, Lord my God, art mine. 3. Passing away, saith the World, passing away: Chances, beauty and youth sapped day by day: Thy life never continueth in one stay. Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to grey That hath won neither laurel nor bay? I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May: Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay On my bosom for aye. Then I answered: Yea. Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away: With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play; Hearken what the past doth witness and say: Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array, A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay. At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day Lo the bridegroom shall come and shall not delay: Watch thou and pray. Then I answered: Yea. Passing away, saith my God, passing away: Winter passeth after the long delay: New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray, Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven’s May. Tho’ I tarry, wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray. Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day, My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say. Then I answered: Yea.
This poem was originally published in Goblin Market and Other Poems (Macmillan, 1862) and appears in The Complete Poems by Christina Rossetti (Penguin, 2001). It is in the public domain.