While hope's gayest blossoms look smilingly forth,
When the spirit of storms hath ceased from his strife,
And the hoar frost lies bound round the ice of the north --
In the pride of earth's verdure, its beauty and all,
Time stays not his pinions, but with rapid career
Wings in silence his flight, while death's funeral pall
In a sunbeam is thrown o'er the grave of the year!
As the fall of a giant in the strength of his might,
Is the death of the year in our southern clime;
In the freshness of life, in the fullness of light,
It is hurried away by resistless time!
Who would cling to a world that thus passes away --
Where life's fondest pleasures death can dim with a tear?
For the sun that sets bright on its children to-day
On the morrow will rise o'er the grave of the year!
Then trust not the smile that in youth glads the brow,
In the noontide of brightness we may mourn its close;
Soon the eyes of affection their last look may throw
Ere the cold brow is pillow'd in death's calm repose --
Ere the green sod is laid o'er its mouldering clay,
Or the flowers of summer lie strewed o'er his bier !
And how many's the one who's thus passing away
To his last dreary home, like the grave of the year !
But, yet, there's a world where a change is unknown,
Where summer eternally gladdens the soul,
Where death has no power, where the spirit above
Tastes "the fullness of joy" that can ne'er feel control:
There for ever the brow with gladness is brighten'd,
When illum'd by the bliss of that heavenly sphere,
Which the sunbeam of love so immortally's lighten'd,
That it there ne'er will set on the grave of a year!
First published in The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 4 January 1845;
and later in:
Port Philip Patriot, 22 January 1845
Author: George J. Macdonald (1805-51) was born in England and arrived in Sydney in 1826. He appears to have spent the bulk of his adult life in public service. He died in the Swan Hill area of Victoria but details of his death are unclear.
Author reference sites: Austlit