To her dear Husband Deputy Judge
Upon the first day of January Anno 1691
My Friend! I ought of course on New Year gifts be musing
To the extent my powers/ likewise my will were good/
And had not lack of means for this in my way stood/
Then keenly I would seek and something new be choosing/
Instead my thoughts are fixed on bounties in full ration/
Which are not found on sale in every grocer’s stall
And which by women once were scarcely grasped at all/
I will in well-turned rhymes a dozen lines/ now fashion/
I think that such a gift to you will give most pleasure/
Which I alone and no one else have laboured on/
For secondhand things you find irksome beyond measure/
And I think likewise and with you agree thereon
Nor will I e’er relinquish the idea I treasure
That borrowed feathers/ least of all befit a Swan.
Whoever would reflect on where time’s always stealing
Should note most carefully our newly started year/
It greys so fast/ as snow and frost are both revealing/
It ages even while its birth-day is still here.
It first begins today/ and yet our end presages
The more we gather years/ the fewer are our days/
Eternal God most true/ no year turns back the pages/
Help us in time to avert from this fair world our gaze!
Teach us to well observe how short is our life’s season/
How our approaching end each instant makes us feel/
To see in all combined there is both rhyme and reason/
Our life is frail as glass and time’s cogged wheel of steel.