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“The New Year’s Come”

We can’t sing so soon after eating,’ said Pa. ‘So I’ll just limber up the fiddle. Merrily he played, ‘Away Down the River on the Oh-hi-o! And,’ Why Chime the Bells So Merrily’… — By the Shores of Silver Lake, Chapter 19, “Christmas Eve”

     
Pa’s song, “Why Chime the Bells So Merrily” was titled “The New Year’s Come,” and first published in 1842 by C.E. Horn, New York. Words were by Jonas B. Phillips; music was by Joseph Philip Knight. In the manuscript for By the Shores of Silver Lake, mention of this song is the same as in the published version – with the alternate title and again, no lyrics given.

Joseph Philip Knight (1812-1887) was an English organist and composer. In 1839, he visited America, where he composed the music for his famous “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep.” In the 1860s, he was ordained by the Bishop of Exeter and became Vicar of St. Agnes, Sicily Isles.

Jonas B. Phillips (1805-1869) was an American dramatist from Philadelphia. He wrote a number of plays beginning in 1831, including “Cold Stricken” (1838) and “The Evil Eye.” H e later studied law and became Assistant District Attorney for New York County, holding his appointment through several administrations.

THE NEW YEAR’S COME

Why chime the bells so merrily,
Why seem ye all so gay?
Is it because the New Year’s come,
And the old has pass’d away?
Oh! Can ye look upon the past
And feel no sorrow now;
That thus ye sing so joyously
And smiles light ev’ry brow?
Oh! if ye can, be blithe and gay;
The song, tread gaily on
And the burden be the New Year’s come
And the Old Year’s gone.
And the burden be the New Year’s come
And the Old Year’s gone.

The old man gazes on your mirth
He smiles not like the rest
He sits in silence by the hearth,
And seems with grief opress’d.
He sees not in the merry throng
The child who was his pride.
He listens for her joyous song;
She is not by his side.
But scarce a twelvemonth she was there
And now he is alone.
Yet still ye sing the New Year’s come
And the Old Year’s gone.
Yet still ye sing the New Year’s come
And the Old Year’s gone.

Dance on! Dance on! Be blithe and gay
Nor pause to think the while,
That, ere this year has pass’d away,
Ye too may cease to smile.
For time in his resistless flight
Brings changes sad and drear,
The sunny hopes of youth to blight
With ev’ry coming year.
But still be happy while ye may,
And let the dance go on.
Still gaily sing the New Year’s come
And the Old Year’s gone!
Still gaily sing the New Year’s come
And the Old Year’s gone!

   

                       

Click on the images above to view a copy ofsheet music of “The New Year’s Come.”    

     

“The New Year’s Come” (SSL 19)
     “Why chime the bells so merrily?”