Happy New Year

A New Years Eve Poem in The Christian Recorder

The Christian Recorder is the oldest existing black periodical in America, and the only one in the United States whose existence dated before the Civil War. It had its genesis in the Christian Herald, which was established by the General Conference that was held in Philadelphia in 1848. The Christian Herald was a published weekly and subscribers paid one dollar and fifty cents a year.

The name of the Christian Herald was changed to The Christian Recorder at the Ninth Quadrennial Session of the General Conference that was held in 1852 in New York City.


By Rev. Augustus W. Watson, LL.B.

We linger on the threshold
Of another dying year,
And we listen to the echoes
Which mem’ry bids us bear;
For e’en the day is waning
And the shadows lengthen fast;
Ere it ushers in the future
We yet muse upon the past.

Our mind flies backward- backward
To the springtime of our life,
When we called the fairest flowers,
Knowing naught of worldly strife;
When the buds of hope expanded
As they drank life’s morning dew,
And fancy’s brush flew swiftly
As it gorgeous pictures drew.

Ah! The bells of joy rang sweetly,
Not a discord in the chime,
Not a thought of coming sorrow
Marred the happiness sublime;
For experience had not taught us
We must sometimes meet with snares,
And on our life’s long journey
We are burdened oft with cares.

And the echoes still are ringing
At the beck of memory’s wand,
But the sound is somewhat changing,
Aye, more solemn, yet still grand;
For the footsteps now which greet us
On our further march through life,
Are of busy, busy toilers,
Whose minds with thoughts are rite.

For the summer days are passing
With their sunshine, rain and dew,
And we work, must, for the future
Ere the harvest time be through,
For the Autumn soon is on us
With its yellow leaves and sear,
And ere aware how soon it pauses-
Bleak, wintry winds are here.

But hark! the bell is telling
Of the midnight’s solemn gloom,
And we know its last sad accents
Will speak the old year’s doom;
And we rouse from dreamy mem’ries,
And we list with bated breath
To its solemn, sad, sad tolling,
Which tells the old year’s death.

And we think, alas! How swiftly
The years will onward speed,
When to the old year’s dying
No more shall we give heed;
For another bell’s sad tolling,
With its solemn, solemn chime,
Will record our spirit wafted
Into some other clime.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Date: January 1, 1885
Location: Philadelphia, PA

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

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