Stephanus: Where do the old years go when they die? Is there a country for old years that have passed away? Are the new years waiting, cued up in the wings, waiting to hear their music and make their entrance?
Maximus: Stephanus, really, I think you’ve had a bit too much of the Wassail bowl tonight. Look around. We’re the last ones left at this party. All the New Year’s revelers have gone home early to their beds!
Stephanus: Nuh- no – no. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. They say time passes, that time can fly – so where does it go? And can I get it back again?
Maximus: Stephanus, really! Have you done something you regret?
Stephanus: I only regret the undone things, the small bits that slipped through, the big things that never were. I’ve wasted time, and now I am wasting away.
Maximus: You mean you are wasted! Stephanus, you need to have some confidence that if you keep your vision clear – keep your eyes fixed on something like a star – you’ll achieve those illusive things. Have a bit of faith in yourself.
Stephanus: What is faith?
Maximus: Faith? Well, it’s the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. You should spend less time drowning your sorrows in your ale and read more poetry. Then you’ll find the truth.
Stephanus: But what is truth?
Maximus: It’s simple. Truth is beautiful – beauty is truth. That’s all you really need to know.
Stephanus: So why does this particular night prompt such a strange feeling? I’ll tell you Maximus my friend. It’s as if I am standing on the shore of the wide world alone, and love and fame and everything sinks into diddly squat. The year is turning upside down and I am standing still. Maximus, what can I do to turn it right again?
Maximus : Listen. [A distant bell tolls.] It’s midnight Stephanus. Raise your glass and ring out the old. Ring in the new. Ring out the false, ring in the true. Ring out the faithless coldness of these times. Ring out our narrowing lust of gold; ring out the thousand wars of old. Ring out the feud of rich and poor; ring in redress for all mankind! Stand up Stephanus! Seize the hour; seize this new day; seize this happy new year!