Thursday, December 26, 2013

“New Year’s Eve” by John Baker (1891)

New Year's Eve.


Oh Sun! Ere sinks thy radiant crown,

Wilt thou not stay thy going down,

And wait with me a moment here

For farewell to the passing year.

Once thou didst stand on Gibeon

And viewed the battle lost and won,

And lengthened out the dying day—

Pause in thy flight—a moment stay.

        For throb, throb, tick, tick, ebb and flow,

        The old year's pulse beats low and slow,

        And the midnight bell will toll his knell,

        Farewell, farewell, old year, farewell.

Hark! a weird voice grating harsh and grim:

        "He's fast escaping.

            His grave stands gaping.

                The dead past's waiting

                    To gather him in."

Thou, too, O Moon! Thou too once stayed

O'er Ajalon, when Joshua bade

Thee "wait, and light the battle's fray."

Alas! with me thou wilt not stay—

Then Night, weave westward thy dark shroud,

O'er ocean's rim and mountain proud,

For wide world round extends the bier

And pall and grave which waits the year.

        Farewell, old year; throb, throb, so low,

        Thy numbered pulse doth ebb and flow,

        And the midnight bell will toll thy knell,

        Farewell, farewell, old year, farewell.

And again the weird voice, harsh and grim:

        "He's fast escaping,

            His grave stands gaping.

                The dead past's waiting

                    To gather him in."

On, on! Old Time! No more I pray

Thy waiting—bring the coming day—

The glad new year with promise bright,

Speed on! The old year dies to-night.

E'en on the dreary restless sea

The sailor-boy is waiting thee:

Be his watch below or above, to-night

He wakes and waits, till eight bells strike.

        And counts, elate, the old year's fate,

        One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight!

        And the old year's lorn, and the new year's born,

        God grant it happy night and morn.

Yet the harsh voice grumbles weird and grim:

        "He's past escaping,

            A new grave's gaping.

                The dead year's waiting

                    To gather him in."

        LANSINGBURGH, 1891.

Troy Daily Times. December 31, 1891: 2 col 5.

John Baker's poem was reprinted in 1900, though with a number of changes to it.

John Baker (abt. 1834-1922) was a friend and relative of painter Alban Jasper Conant, the latter living in Troy from the mid 1840s to the late 1850s.

“It was in 1852 when I first knew A. J. Conant. He was interested then in the music at the Third Street Baptist Church, then under the pastorate of Rev. George C. Baldwin, and he was also reputed as a painter. He lived then midway in the block on Third Street, north of where is now The Troy Times office, and in his family was a young lady who, six years thereafter, became the wife of the writer of this article”

Baker, John. “Reminiscences of a Great Artist.” Troy Times. February 6, 1915: 7 cols 3-4.

“There he married, in 1858, Gertrude M. Hogel, of a very old Dutch family in that community. Mrs. Baker died in 1896”

“Obituary.” Troy Times. February, 4, 1922: 3 col 1.

“FINE ARTS.—M. A.J. CONANT, a fine artist, well known to our citizens, will be happy to receive calls from his friends and patrons, at his studio, to-day where specimens of his paintings will be exhibited. Mr. C’s card will be found in another column.”

Troy Daily Whig. June 5, 1850: 2 col 5.

“A CARD.—Mr. A. J. CONANT, having refitted his Painting Room, and having collected a few of his Pictures, consisting of Portraits, Landscapes, etc., would respectfully invite his patrons and the public generally to inspect the same, at 3 1/2 Albany street, during either of the afternoons of the present week.

“N. B. Mr. C., grateful for past favors, trusts that his increased experience in and facilities for painting, will ensure him an increase of public patronage.”

Troy Daily Whig. June 5, 1850: 2 col 7.

“YOUNG LADIES PAINTING ACADEMY.—Having lately received several applications to give young ladies instructions in Oil Painting, I have been induced to engage rooms adjoining my studio, and to devote a portion of my time especially to the tuition of young ladies in landscape and figures, and all the branches of art usually taught in such schools, I would therefore respectfully give notice, that the first quarter will commence about the middle of April, should a sufficient number apply. For further particulars enquire at No. 3 1/2 Albany street, of the subscriber.

“A. J. CONANT.” Troy Daily Times. April 6, 1852: 3 col 1.


“Portrait Painter, Mutual Bank Buildings, corner of First and State streets, (3d story,) over Mutual Bank.”

Troy Daily Times. May 31, 1854: 1 col 1.

“He was also organist and teacher at the Emma Willard Seminary at Troy, N. Y.”

"Conant, Poet-Artist, Dies at Age of 94.” Standard Union [Brooklyn, NY]. February 3, 1915: 1 col 5.

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