To her dear husband Deputy Judge
Upon the first day of January Anno 1691
My Friend! I ought of course on New Year’s gifts be musing
Provided that my powers/ just as my will were good/
And had not any lack of means 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 hardly grasped withal/
I will in well-turned rhymes a dozen lines/ now fashion/
I think that such a gift will give to you most pleasure/
That I and no one else alone have laboured on/
For you find secondhand things 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 ever stealing
Should note with all due care this newly started year/
It greys so fast/ as are both snow and frost revealing/
It ages even while its birth-day is still here.
Today it first begins/ and yet our end presages
The more we gather years/ the fewer are our days/
Eternal God most true/ whose years turn back no 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/
And that the final goal we edge towards inchmeal/
To see there is/ in all combined both rhyme and reason/
Our life is frail as glass and time’s wheel is of steel.