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Find the best poems to read and share for New Year's Eve, including classic poems. Below is Knowinsiders's pick of ten of the best New Year classic poems, along with some information about each poem.

List Of Top 10 Best Classic Poems For New Year

1.Robert Burns, “Song—Auld Lang Syne” (1788)

2.William Cullen Bryant, “A Song for New Year’s Eve (1859)

3.Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “The Year” (1910)

4.Christina Rossetti, “Old and New Year Ditties” (1862)

5.Helen Hunt Jackson, “New Year’s Morning” (1892)

6.Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Death of the Old Year” (1842)

7.Francis Thompson, “New Year’s Chimes” (1897)

8.Thomas Hardy, “New Year’s Eve” (1906)

9. John Clare, “The Old Year” (1920)

10. D.H. Lawrence, “New Year’s Eve” (1917)


What are the top 10 most famous classic poems for the new year?

1.Robert Burns, “Song—Auld Lang Syne” (1788)

It is a song that millions choose to sing every year as the clock strikes midnight and it is a timeless classic. Auld Lang Syne is both a song and a poem, after all, songs are poetry set to music, right?

And yet, the tune we know today isn't quite the same thing that Robert Burns had in mind when he wrote it over two centuries ago. The melody has changed and a few of the words have been updated (and others have not) to meet modern tongues.

For instance, in the last verse, Burns wrote:

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!

And gie’s a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,

The modern version prefers:

And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,

And gie's a hand o' thine;

We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,

It is the phrase "gude-willie waught" that catches most people by surprise and it's easy to see why many people choose to repeat "cup o' kindness yet." They do mean the same thing though, as gude-willie is Scottish adjective meaning good-will and waught means hearty drink.

Tip: A common misconception is that "Sin'" is pronounced zine when really it is more like sign. It means since and auld lang syne refers to something like "old long since."

2.William Cullen Bryant, “A Song for New Year’s Eve (1859)

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—

Stay till the good old year,

So long companion of our way,

Shakes hands, and leaves us here.

Oh stay, oh stay,

One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,

Has now no hopes to wake;

Yet one hour more of jest and song

For his familiar sake.

Oh stay, oh stay,

One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands

Have lavished all his store.

And shall we turn from where he stands,

Because he gives no more?

Oh stay, oh stay,

One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,

While yet he was our guest;

How cheerfully the week was spent!

How sweet the seventh day's rest!

Oh stay, oh stay,

One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep

Beneath the coffin-lid:

What pleasant memories we keep

Of all they said and did!

Oh stay, oh stay,

One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,

And leaves our sphere behind.

The good old year is with the past;

Oh be the new as kind!

Oh stay, oh stay,

One parting strain, and then away.

3.Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “The Year” (1910)

What can be said in New Year rhymes,

That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,

We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,

We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,

We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,

We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,

And that’s the burden of the year.

If you get the opportunity, read Wilcox's “New Year: A Dialogue.” Written in 1909, it is a fantastic dialogue between 'Mortal' and 'The New Year' in which the latter knocks on the door with offers of good cheer, hope, success, health, and love.

The reluctant and downcast mortal is finally lured in. It is a brilliant commentary on how the new year often revives us even though it is just another day on the calendar.

4.Christina Rossetti, “Old and New Year Ditties” (1862)

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New Year met me somewhat sad:

Old Year leaves me tired,

Stripped of favourite things I had

Baulked of much desired:

Yet farther on my road to-day

God willing, farther on my way.

New Year coming on apace

What have you to give me?

Bring you scathe, or bring you grace,

Face me with an honest face;

You shall not deceive me:

Be it good or ill, be it what you will,

It needs shall help me on my road,

My rugged way to heaven, please God.

Watch with me, men, women, and children dear,

You whom I love, for whom I hope and fear,

Watch with me this last vigil of the year.

Some hug their business, some their pleasure-scheme;

Some seize the vacant hour to sleep or dream;

Heart locked in heart some kneel and watch apart.

Watch with me blessd spirits, who delight

All through the holy night to walk in white,

Or take your ease after the long-drawn fight.

I know not if they watch with me: I know

They count this eve of resurrection slow,

And cry, 'How long?' with urgent utterance strong.

Watch with me Jesus, in my loneliness:

Though others say me nay, yet say Thou yes;

Though others pass me by, stop Thou to bless.

Yea, Thou dost stop with me this vigil night;

To-night of pain, to-morrow of delight:

I, Love, am Thine; Thou, Lord my God, art mine.

Passing away, saith the World, passing away:

Chances, beauty and youth sapped day by day:

Thy life never continueth in one stay.

Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to grey

That hath won neither laurel nor bay?

I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May:

Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay

On my bosom for aye.

Then I answered: Yea.

Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away:

With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play;

Hearken what the past doth witness and say:

Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array,

A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay.

At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day

Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay:

Watch thou and pray.

Then I answered: Yea.

Passing away, saith my God, passing away:

Winter passeth after the long delay:

New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray,

Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven's May.

Though I tarry wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray:

Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day,

My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say.

Then I answered: Yea.

READ MORE: TOP 7 Destinations for New Year's Eve Celebrations in America

5.Helen Hunt Jackson, “New Year’s Morning” (1892)

Along those same lines, Hellen Hunt Jackson's poem, "New Year's Morning" discusses how it's only one night and that each morning can be New Year's.

This is a fantastic piece of inspirational prose that ends with:

Only a night from old to new;

Only a sleep from night to morn.

The new is but the old come true;

Each sunrise sees a new year born.

6.Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Death of the Old Year” (1842)

Poets often relate the old year with drudgery and sorrow and the new year with hope and lifted spirits. Alfred, Lord Tennyson did not shy away from these thoughts and the title of his poem, "The Death of the Old Year" captures the sentiment of the verses perfectly.

In this classic poem, Tennyson spends the first four verses lamenting the year's passing as if it were an old and dear friend on his death bed. The first stanza ends with four poignant lines:

Old year you must not die;

You came to us so readily,

You lived with us so steadily,

Old year you shall not die.

As the verses move on, he counts down the hours: "’ Tis nearly twelve o’clock. Shake hands, before you die." Eventually, a 'new face' is at his door and the narrator must "Step from the corpse, and let him in."

Tennyson addresses the new year in “Ring Out, Wild Bells” (from "In Memoriam A.H.H.," 1849) as well. In this poem, he pleads with the "wild bells" to "Ring out" the grief, dying, pride, spite, and many more distasteful traits. As he does this, he asks the bells to ring in the good, the peace, the noble, and "the true."

7.Francis Thompson, “New Year’s Chimes” (1897)

What is the song the stars sing?

(And a million songs are as song of one)

This is the song the stars sing:

(Sweeter song's none)

One to set, and many to sing,

(And a million songs are as song of one)

One to stand, and many to cling,

The many things, and the one Thing,

The one that runs not, the many that run.

The ever new weaveth the ever old,

(And a million songs are as song of one)

Ever telling the never told;

The silver saith, and the said is gold,

And done ever the never done.

The chase that's chased is the Lord o' the chase,

(And a million songs are as song of one)

And the pursued cries on the race;

And the hounds in leash are the hounds that run.

Hidden stars by the shown stars' sheen:

(And a million suns are but as one)

Colours unseen by the colours seen,

And sounds unheard heard sounds between,

And a night is in the light of the sun.

An ambuscade of lights in night,

(And a million secrets are but as one)

And anight is dark in the sun's light,

And a world in the world man looks upon.

Hidden stars by the shown stars' wings,

(And a million cycles are but as one)

And a world with unapparent strings

Knits the stimulant world of things;

Behold, and vision thereof is none.

The world above in the world below,

(And a million worlds are but as one)

And the One in all; as the sun's strength so

Strives in all strength, glows in all glow

Of the earth that wits not, and man thereon.

Braced in its own fourfold embrace

(And a million strengths are as strength of one)

And round it all God's arms of grace,

The world, so as the Vision says,

Doth with great lightning-tramples run.

And thunder bruiteth into thunder,

(And a million sounds are as sound of one)

From stellate peak to peak is tossed a voice of wonder,

And the height stoops down to the depths thereunder,

And sun leans forth to his brother-sun.

And the more ample years unfold

(With a million songs as song of one)

A little new of the ever old,

A little told of the never told,

Added act of the never done.

Loud the descant, and low the theme,

(A million songs are as song of one)

And the dream of the world is dream in dream,

But the one Is is, or nought could seem;

And the song runs round to the song begun.

This is the song the stars sing,

(Tonèd all in time)

Tintinnabulous, tuned to ring

A multitudinous-single thing

(Rung all in rhyme).

READ MORE: Top Inspirational Prayers for a Coming Year

8.Thomas Hardy, “New Year’s Eve” (1906)

“I have finished another year,” said God,

“In grey, green, white, and brown;

I have strewn the leaf upon the sod,

Sealed up the worm within the clod,

And let the last sun down.”

“And what’s the good of it?” I said.

“What reasons made you call

From formless void this earth we tread,

When nine-and-ninety can be read

Why nought should be at all?

“Yea, Sire; why shaped you us, ‘who in

This tabernacle groan’—

If ever a joy be found herein,

Such joy no man had wished to win

If he had never known!”

Then he: “My labours—logicless—

You may explain; not I:

Sense-sealed I have wrought, without a guess

That I evolved a Consciousness

To ask for reasons why.

“Strange that ephemeral creatures who

By my own ordering are,

Should see the shortness of my view,

Use ethic tests I never knew,

Or made provision for!”

He sank to raptness as of yore,

And opening New Year’s Day

Wove it by rote as theretofore,

And went on working evermore

In his unweeting way.

9. John Clare, “The Old Year” (1920)

The Old Year's gone away

To nothingness and night:

We cannot find him all the day

Nor hear him in the night:

He left no footstep, mark or place

In either shade or sun:

The last year he'd a neighbour's face,

In this he's known by none.

All nothing everywhere:

Mists we on mornings see

Have more of substance when they're here

And more of form than he.

He was a friend by every fire,

In every cot and hall--

A guest to every heart's desire,

And now he's nought at all.

Old papers thrown away,

Old garments cast aside,

The talk of yesterday,

Are things identified;

But time once torn away

No voices can recall:

The eve of New Year's Day

Left the Old Year lost to all.

10. D.H. Lawrence, “New Year’s Eve” (1917)

HERE are only two things now,

The great black night scooped out

And this fire-glow.

This fire-glow, the core,

And we the two ripe pips

That are held in store.

Listen, the darkness rings

As it circulates round our fire.

Take off your things.

Your shoulders, your bruised throat!

Your breasts, your nakedness!

This fiery coat!

As the darkness flickers and dips,

As the firelight falls and leaps

From your feet to your lips!

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