Reflections On a Brumal Scene .

I have an old remembrance—there are hours,1
When clouds, that mantle o’er, with folds opaque,2
The calm, clear mirror of the soul, disperse3
Like icebergs from the pole ; and leave behind4
The pristine feelings of our youth unchanged,5
Our boyish visions and romantic dreams,6
Like landscapes pictured in a quiet lake.7
I have an old remembrance—many a year8
Hath come, and passed away ; and many a smile9
Been chased ; and many a clamorous wo appeased ;10
And many a chance and change come o’er my lot,11
Since then—but, from the shadows of the past,12
It streams like sunbeams o’er an eastern hill,13
And all its feelings thrill along my soul !14
Chill is the air ; the spirit of the frost15
Reigns, with his icy sceptre ; vale and field16
Are sprinkled o’er with snowy offerings ;17
And from each leafless bough—what time the wind18
Low-toned sighs past—a thousand glimmering shreds19
Descending, tinkle on the ground beneath.20
Chained are the sluggish waters to the shore ;21
And icicles, from overhanging shrubs,22
Gleam in the sunshine with a sparry light :23
Far o’er the surface comes the shadowy depth24
Of the steep mountain-banks ; and from the ledge,25
Over whose downward rocks the river falls,26
Comes back the chastened murmur with a tone,27
Whose memory conjures up departed years.—28
How pale is now the sunshine, pale and soft,29
And tender as the faint smiles of a child ;30
Not on the far blue concave of the sky31
Gleams forth one fleecy cloudlet, from the depth32
Above me, to the hoary mountain tops,33
Far distant, that engird the horizon in.34
Enough.—Between these banks precipitous,35
When school hours were departed, oft—how oft,36
Along the crackling ice, with glittering heel,37
All eager have I glided ; breathing out38
The smoky breath in the clear frosty air ;39
When round me all was motion ; and the ice40
With many a winding semieerque was traced,41
Whitening around, a labyrinthine clue.42
Too soon gloomed twilight’s feeble ray around,43
Too soon the sun departed, while serene,44
Above the hills, peeped forth the evening star.45
How many a loved companion revelled here—46
Alive in every fibre to the smile,47
And thrilling touch of pleasure ; boisterous48
And noisy in their mirth,—like ocean waves,49
When winds are piping loud,—but innocent,50
And all unpractised in the guileful world.51
My soul recoils—I dare not number them—52
Oh ! fast, and fearfully hath the spoiler death53
Thinned their young ranks ; —this, sickened at his home ;54
And this, in far off lands ; this, like the beam55
Of daylight on the western hemisphere,56
Died with a slow, invisible decay !57


Many yet survive ;58
Yea, many, but all changed ; with blackening wing,59
The demon of the world hath seared their hearts60
With sorrow, and with sufferings, and with guilt ;61
And what they were, can be but faintly traced62
In what we find them now ; a grievous change63
Hath shadowed them ; nor more resemblance they64
Bear to themselves of yore, than doth the year,65
Wrapt in the glorious garment of the spring,66
To bleak November on her hill of storms !67
How piercing is the air ; far distant things,68
Girt by a pure translucent atmosphere,69
Seem near : with hoary scalps, the mountains high70
Stretch their gigantic pyramids to heaven ;71
So, to the Roman bard’s domestic eye,72
In golden ages past, Soracte stood,73
White with its diadem of snow.  ’Tis we,74
Who change, alas ! not nature ; and where I,75
Now moralizing, stray, shall others stray76
To moralize, when I shall be no more !77