Thursday, December 30, 2010

1855 - We Wish You a Happy New Year

It seems to me that New Years Day was depressing even back in 1855 - some things don't seem to change. Thoughts?

We Wish You a Happy New Year.

We know how busy you are this morning - you can't stop to take a third cup, nor to eat half a breakfast; you are in a pet about your boots - in a stew about the barber - and you, good lady, have the parlor to put in order - and to dress - we'll hold you but a moment.

A happy New Year to you! A merry day with do reaction after it - a generous, social time, and no head-ache to-morrow. And if to-day is the happiest day of your life, may scores more just like it come out to meet you from the unrolling years of long and well-spent life.

The New Year's Days are like ships that we meet at sea. Ship ahoy! What cheer?  Don't pass them in sullenness and silence. Hail them. Exchange papers; make the occasion memorable. New Year's is the bow-light of our scudding year. Do not cover it up, nor leave it behind a bulwark. Light and lash it to the stay our hang it under the bow-sprit where it will be sure to do service.

Good people - do not tempt your visitors to drink to-day. Some will, if you temp them, whose drinking will prove fatal. Scores of characters are killed on New Year's day whose ghosts go wandering about the premises of tempters on all succeeding days of the year. Do not ticket any to haunt your house.

Better not drink as you call. Is it not sufficiently inspiriting to see so many fair faces and hear the conversation of such brilliant society? Don't be fooled into the presumption that wine sharpens your wit. It only quickens your perception of it, so that words which are silly enough to others, seem brilliant to you. Wine plays the mischief with a man, and it is affirmed by those who know, that a man always gets tipsy some time before he finds it out himself. Better, then, if you drink once, go home and get to bed.

When the calls of the day intermit, take an observation - hunt up your own whereabouts. Overhaul the weeks, months, years that are coiled up behind you. Have you realized the dreams of your youth? Have you reached the port you cleared for? Are you on the course you marked out for yourself? Are you on good soundings? Do you know the route? Are you reading as you wish to be reported?

Look through old diaries for the events of your life, as newspaper men have been doing by their files lately, for events of the year, and open new ones. Will you venture upon resolutions with the memory fresh of so many broken ones? At least you will be sure that a worthy aim is before you, - then wood up with "good resolutions," and if anything can be done now towards reaching it, don't wait for to-morrow before beginning.

January 1, 1855
The New York Times
New York, New York