It was midnight. And those spirits
Who men’s destinies control
Were in solemn court assembled,
Waiting for the bell to toll
The final hour of the year;
And what happened you will hear:

Elves and gnomes and dwarfs came tripping
On the light fantastic toe,
From their distant caves and castles
In the land of ice and snow;
And the elf-king, white and hoary,
From his throne arose and spoke:
“Fellow spirits all, I greet you.”
(And just then old Father Time
Rang out the old year—1909.)
“Friends, I feel our power is waning,—
Man, our ward, is now proclaiming
Among others, a most curious thing,
That in a chair he likes to swing
Because his ancestor, an ape,
Was very apt to use his tape
To swing himself from limb to limb
Of trees and vines which on them cling.
Moreover, he is now so learnéd
That to a fossil he is turnèd,
Instead of joining our free band
Of spirits, in the fairy land.”

Silence reigned supreme a moment;
Then an old dwarf, ripe with age,
Arose, and all those elves and fairies
Bowed their heads a little space
For that “grand old man,” whose wisdom
In that hall rang loud and clear:
“Time has come when man no longer
Feels he needs invoke our aid,
For creation, now he tells us,
By itself was surely made;—
Blind he is to Nature’s teachings,
And so wise in his conceit
That he would forget the lessons
Taught by wayside flowers sweet;
By the river and the mountain
And the myriad things that creep
Upon the earth. And this wondrous
Human being calls himself but a machine,
Classed among the things he fashions
From the metals earth doth yield.
Ah, his very heart is hardening—
Love no longer can hold sway
When the heir of all creation
Says he’s only made of clay.”

*     *     *     *

I awoke from my light slumber
At the New Year’s earliest beam,
Pondering deeply if a lesson
Could be learned, e’en from a dream.