I want to share a Shakespeare sonnet which gives me a New Years-y feeling.
But before I do, a few words from one of America’s most popular poets, in her day: Ella Wheeler Wilcox. (1850-1919) Never heard of her? I guarantee you know ONE line of hers: “Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep, and you weep alone!” One of the “three-named ladies” of American lit (although it was Hawthorne who coined that phrase, before Ella’s time), most of her stuff seems kinda Hallmark-ish. But check this out, from The Year:
“The new years come, the old years go;/We know we dream,we dream we know.”
I like that last line, it sort of spirals around in my brain, consuming its own tail like the Orphic serpent. The poet was a spiritualist, a believer in Theosophy, so Ella, if you’re watching: I’ll raise a glass to you tonight!
But now for the Bard.
I think it’s the idea of the world-soul, dreaming the future, that makes this seem like a New Year’s Eve poem to me. ( The fifth and sixth lines now make me think of 2016, when HIllary, the “mortal moon”, was eclipsed by Sol-like Trump, to universal prophecies of disaster, none of which came true!)
Here’s Sonnet 107:
“Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul/Of the wide world, dreaming on things to come/Can yet the lease of my true love control, /Supposed as forfeit to a confined doom./The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured/And the sad augurs mock their own presage./ Incertainties now crown themselves assured,/ And peace proclaims olives of endless age./ Now in the drops of this most balmy time/My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,/Since ‘spite of him, I’ll live in this poor rhyme/While he insults o’er dull and speechless tribes.
And thou, in this, shalt find thy monument/When tyrants’crests and tombs of brass are spent.”
Happ New Year, O Ratty!