Tennyson's Poems

New - Year's Eve

If you're waking call me early, call me early, mother dear,

For I would see the sun rise upon the glad New-year.

It is the last New-year that I shall ever see,

Then you may lay me low i' the mould and think no more of me.

To-night I saw the sun set: he set and left behind

The good old year, the dear old time, and all my peace of mind;

And the New-year's coming up, mother, but I shall never see

The blossom on [1] the blackthorn, the leaf upon the tree.

Last May we made a crown of flowers: we had a merry day;

Beneath the hawthorn on the green they made me Queen of May;

And we danced about the may-pole and in the hazel copse,

Till Charles's Wain came out above the tall white chimney-tops.

There's not a flower on all the hills: the frost is on the pane:

I only wish to live till the snowdrops come again:

I wish the snow would melt and the sun come out on high:

I long to see a flower so before the day I die.

The building rook'll caw from the windy tall elm-tree,

And the tufted plover pipe along the fallow lea,

And the swallow'll come back again with summer o'er the wave.

But I shall lie alone, mother, within the mouldering grave.

Upon the chancel-casement, and upon that grave of mine,

In the early, early morning the summer sun'll shine,

Before the red cock crows from the farm upon the hill,

When you are warm-asleep, mother, and all the world is still.

When the flowers come again, mother, beneath the waning light

You'll never see me more in the long gray fields at night;

When from the dry dark wold the summer airs blow cool

On the oat-grass and the sword-grass, and the bulrush in the pool.

You'll bury me, [2] my mother, just beneath the hawthorn shade,

And you'll come [3] sometimes and see me where I am lowly laid.

I shall not forget you, mother, I shall hear you when you pass,[4]

With your feet above my head in the long and pleasant grass.

I have been wild and wayward, but you'll forgive [5] me now;

You'll kiss me, my own mother, and forgive me ere I go; [6]

Nay, nay, you must not weep, [7] nor let your grief be wild,

You should not fret for me, mother, you [8] have another child.

If I can I'll come again, mother, from out my resting-place;

Tho' you'll [9] not see me, mother, I shall look upon your face;

Tho' I cannot speak a word, 1 shall harken what you [10] say,

And be often, often with you when you think [11] I'm far away.

Good-night, good-night, when I have said good-night for evermore,

And you [12] see me carried out from the threshold of the door;

Don't let Effie come to see me till my grave be growing green:

She'll be a better child to you than ever I have been.

She'll find my garden-tools upon the granary floor:

Let her take 'em: they are hers: I shall never garden more:

But tell her, when I'm gone, to train the rose-bush that I set

About the parlour-window and the box of mignonette.

Good-night, sweet mother: call me before the day is born. [13]

All night I lie awake, but I fall asleep at morn;

But I would see the sun rise upon the glad New-year,

So, if your waking, call me, call me early, mother dear.

[Footnote 1: 1833. The may upon.]

[Footnote 2: 1833. Ye'll bury me.]

[Footnote 3: 1833. And ye'll come.]

[Footnote 4: 1833. I shall not forget ye, mother, I shall hear ye when] ye pass.

[Footnote 5: 1833. But ye'll forgive.]

[Footnote 6: 1833. Ye'll kiss me, my own mother, upon my cheek and brow.] 1850. And foregive me ere I go.

[Footnote 7: 1833. Ye must not weep.]

[Footnote 8: 1833. Ye ... ye.]

[Footnote 9: 1833. Ye'll.]

[Footnote 10: 1833. Ye.]

[Footnote 11: 1833. Ye when ye think.]

[Footnote 12: 1833. Ye.]

[Footnote 13: 1833. Call me when it begins to dawn. 1842. Before the day] is born.