We think "The Passing of the Year" is kind of a sad poem. OK, not a cry-your-eyes-out bummer from beginning to end, but it's a little blue. Most of the emotions it deals with have to do with regret, loss, and the pain of memory. We here at Shmoop don't want to bring you down, but sadness is a big part of life, and Service dives right into it here.
Although the final lines appear to end the poem on a happy note, they can't erase the weight of sadness that has built up throughout the poem.
The poem carefully balances happiness and sadness. This creates a complex, subtle mixture that gives the poem its emotional power.