Burning off the old year


(Make it Friday, okay? That’s the day before Saturday.)

‘Please come on Monday
The day after Sunday
And mind that you start with
Something to part with;
A fire shall be ready
Glowing and steady
To receive it and burn it
And never return it.
Books that are silly,
Clothes outworn and chilly,
Hats, umbrellas and bonnets,
Dull letters, bad sonnets,
Whate’er to the furnace
By nature calls “Burn us!”
An ancient bad temper
Will be noted no damper—
The fire will not scorn it
But glory to burn it!
Here every bad picture
Finds refuge from stricture;
Or any old grudge
That refuses to budge,
We’ll make it the tomb
For all sorts of gloom,
The out-of-door path
For every man’s wrath.
All lying and hinting,
All jealous squinting,
All unkind talking
And each other balking,
Let the fire’s holy actions
Turn to ghostly abstractions.
All antimacassars
All moth-egg amassers,
All gloves and old feathers,
Old shoes and old leathers,
Greasy or tarr-ry,
Bring all you can carry!
We would not deceive you:
The fire shall relieve you,
The world will feel better,
And so be your debtor.
Be welcome then—very—
And come and be merry!’

A handwritten party invitation sent to their friends by George and Louisa MacDonald in 1885.


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