Among the Millet

by Archibald Lampman


 

NEW YEAR’S EVE


 

Once on the year’s last eve in my mind’s might
    Sitting in dreams, not sad, nor quite elysian,
    Balancing all ’twixt wonder and derision,
Methought my body and all this world took flight,
And vanished from me, as a dream, outright;                              5
    Leaning out thus in sudden strange decision,
    I saw as it were in the flashing of a vision,
Far down between the tall towers of the night,
    Borne by great winds in awful unison,
        The teeming masses of mankind sweep by,                     10
        Even as a glittering river with deep sound
And innumerable banners, rolling on
    Over the starry border glooms that bound
        The last gray space in dim eternity.

And all that strange unearthly multitude                                      15
    Seemed twisted in vast seething companies,
    That evermore with hoarse and terrible cries
And desperate encounter at mad feud
Plunged onward, each in its implacable mood
    Borne down over the trampled blazonries                             20
    Of other faiths and other phantasies,
Each falling furiously, and each pursued;
    So sped they on with tumult vast and grim,
        But ever meseemed beyond them I could see
        White-haloed groups that sought perpetually                    25
            The figure of one crowned and sacrificed;
    And faint, far forward, floating tall and dim,
            The banner of our Lord and Master, Christ.