Robert Burns

(1759-1796 / Ayrshire / Scotland)

Sketch—new Year's Day, 1790 - Poem by Robert Burns

THIS day, Time winds th' exhausted chain;
To run the twelvemonth's length again:
I see, the old bald-pated fellow,
With ardent eyes, complexion sallow,
Adjust the unimpair'd machine,
To wheel the equal, dull routine.


The absent lover, minor heir,
In vain assail him with their prayer;
Deaf as my friend, he sees them press,
Nor makes the hour one moment less,
Will you (the Major's with the hounds,
The happy tenants share his rounds;
Coila's fair Rachel's care to-day,
And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray)
From housewife cares a minute borrow,
(That grandchild's cap will do to-morrow,)
And join with me a-moralizing;
This day's propitious to be wise in.


First, what did yesternight deliver?
"Another year has gone for ever."
And what is this day's strong suggestion?
"The passing moment's all we rest on!"
Rest on—for what? what do we here?
Or why regard the passing year?
Will Time, amus'd with proverb'd lore,
Add to our date one minute more?
A few days may—a few years must—
Repose us in the silent dust.
Then, is it wise to damp our bliss?
Yes—all such reasonings are amiss!
The voice of Nature loudly cries,
And many a message from the skies,
That something in us never dies:
That on his frail, uncertain state,
Hang matters of eternal weight:
That future life in worlds unknown
Must take its hue from this alone;
Whether as heavenly glory bright,
Or dark as Misery's woeful night.


Since then, my honour'd first of friends,
On this poor being all depends,
Let us th' important now employ,
And live as those who never die.
Tho' you, with days and honours crown'd,
Witness that filial circle round,
(A sight life's sorrows to repulse,
A sight pale Envy to convulse),
Others now claim your chief regard;
Yourself, you wait your bright reward.

Topic(s) of this poem: new year


Comments about Sketch—new Year's Day, 1790 by Robert Burns

  • Kevin Patrick (12/29/2015 6:49:00 PM)

    That future life in worlds unknown
    Must take its hue from this alone;
    Whether as heavenly glory bright,
    Or dark as Misery's woeful night.


    and thous a new year is born, with fear and hope (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Michael Morgan (12/29/2015 3:16:00 PM)

    'Let us th'important now employ
    And live as those who never die'.

    Generous idea-poem, impeccably rhymed and just long enough. Cynicism's' near-unanswerable retort: remedying times tedium with wholesome acts. No wonder he lives. MM (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (12/29/2015 8:47:00 AM)

    So beautiful poem on a new year eve which magnificently created by the great poet and every word is so great. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A Ramesh T A (12/29/2015 5:40:00 AM)

    Renewing the year is what we do every-time! Three days only left for this year to come to an end
    All turn back to the year from January on to December
    And make a stock what all have been done so far...!

    This year we had hottest days and heaviest rains finally
    With a pause for the new year to start after two days
    Kindling thoughts on celebration with friends on a fete!

    Happiest and saddest days have we seen in this year
    Not only enjoying all pleasures but also all pains in life
    Giving us the notion that combination of both is life ever!

    It's only old wine in a new bottle that we taste every-year
    Sans knowing that the content of life is the same but only
    The dresses we wear are new and there's nothing new ever!

    Renewing the year with a new beginning we proceed with yet
    Another year fresh from January to December with all seasons! (Report) Reply

  • Manonton Dalan (12/29/2015 4:02:00 AM)

    how could be poems written so long ago
    are so beautiful... poets of long ago has
    very good imaginations... I am impress
    I wish their soul will come to me and I will
    write what they want me too (Report) Reply

  • Esselebor Ebhojie Esselebor Ebhojie (12/29/2015 2:59:00 AM)

    a historical epic that suggests that the passage of time is a mysterious phenomenon what the poem describes is the suspense of the new year and all the possibilities of the future (Report) Reply

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (12/29/2015 1:50:00 AM)

    A fantastic sketch of the new year has been portrayed. Enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal Mohammed Asim Nehal (12/29/2015 1:29:00 AM)

    The passing moment's all we rest on!
    Rest on—for what? what do we here?
    Or why regard the passing year?
    Will Time, amus'd with proverb'd lore,
    Add to our date one minute more? .............Superb, Thought provoking.... (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Saturday, November 15, 2014



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