Here you will find the Long Poem New Year's Eve of poet Robert William Service
It's cruel cold on the water-front, silent and dark and drear; Only the black tide weltering, only the hissing snow; And I, alone, like a storm-tossed wreck, on this night of the glad New Year, Shuffling along in the icy wind, ghastly and gaunt and slow. They're playing a tune in McGuffy's saloon, and it's cheery and bright in there (God! but I'm weak -- since the bitter dawn, and never a bite of food); I'll just go over and slip inside -- I mustn't give way to despair -- Perhaps I can bum a little booze if the boys are feeling good. They'll jeer at me, and they'll sneer at me, and they'll call me a whiskey soak; ("Have a drink? Well, thankee kindly, sir, I don't mind if I do.") A drivelling, dirty, gin-joint fiend, the butt of the bar-room joke; Sunk and sodden and hopeless -- "Another? Well, here's to you!" McGuffy is showing a bunch of the boys how Bob Fitzsimmons hit; The barman is talking of Tammany Hall, and why the ward boss got fired. I'll just sneak into a corner and they'll let me alone a bit; The room is reeling round and round . . .O God! but I'm tired, I'm tired. . . . * * * * * Roses she wore on her breast that night. Oh, but their scent was sweet! Alone we sat on the balcony, and the fan-palms arched above; The witching strain of a waltz by Strauss came up to our cool retreat, And I prisoned her little hand in mine, and I whispered my plea of love. Then sudden the laughter died on her lips, and lowly she bent her head; And oh, there came in the deep, dark eyes a look that was heaven to see; And the moments went, and I waited there, and never a word was said, And she plucked from her bosom a rose of red and shyly gave it to me. Then the music swelled to a crash of joy, and the lights blazed up like day, And I held her fast to my throbbing heart, and I kissed her bonny brow. "She is mine, she is mine for evermore!" the violins seemed to say, And the bells were ringing the New Year in -- O God! I can hear them now. Don't you remember that long, last waltz, with its sobbing, sad refrain? Don't you remember that last good-by, and the dear eyes dim with tears? Don't you remember that golden dream, with never a hint of pain, Of lives that would blend like an angel-song in the bliss of the coming years? Oh, what have I lost! What have I lost! Ethel, forgive, forgive! The red, red rose is faded now, and it's fifty years ago. 'Twere better to die a thousand deaths than live each day as I live! I have sinned, I have sunk to the lowest depths -- but oh, I have suffered so! Hark! Oh, hark! I can hear the bells! . . . Look! I can see her there, Fair as a dream . . . but it fades . . . And now -- I can hear the dreadful hum Of the crowded court . . . See! the Judge looks down . . . NOT GUILTY, my Lord, I swear . . . The bells -- I can hear the bells again! . . . Ethel, I come, I come! . . . * * * * * "Rouse up, old man, it's twelve o'clock. You can't sleep here, you know. Say! ain't you got no sentiment? Lift up your muddled head; Have a drink to the glad New Year, a drop before you go -- You darned old dirty hobo . . . My God! Here, boys! He's DEAD!"