The world lay brown and barren at the closing of the year,
Where the rushes shook and shuddered on the borders of the mere,
And the troubled tide ran shoreward, where the estuaries twined
Through the wide and empty marsh toward the sullen hills behind:
And the smoke-engirdled city sulked beneath the leaden skies,
With the rain-tears slowly sliding from her million window eyes,
And the fog-ghost limped and lingered past the buildings clad in grime,
Till the Frost King gave the signal for the Christmas pantomime!