BETA

Winter.

A wagon covered in snow in front of several huts and a house. Illustration framed by twigs and grass. 1/2 page.
Cold, cold ! it is very cold1
Without the house ; the year is old !2
His pulse is faint, and his blood runs slow,3
He lies, like a corpse, in his shroud of snow ;4
It was drawn round his limbs by a noiseless sprite ;5
He grew white with age in a single night.6
Wrap him up close, and cover him deep ;7
Nothing is left for him now but to sleep !8
Sleep away ! dream away ! take no care,9
All day falls the snow through the darkened air ;10
Fast, fast ! for it knows, firm packed together,11
The clouds have laid stores in for wintry weather ;12
Dark, dark ! like a lazy slave, the sun13
Leaves his short half day’s work all undone ;14
But the night is clear, and the stars shine forth,15
And the fire-flags stream in the frosty north ;16
And the glistening earth, in the moon’s pale ray,17
Looks fair with the smile of a softer day :18
Red breaks the morn, and the evening glows19
With the sea-shell’s blush on the drifted snows,20
Rose-tinted pearl ! while ’mid the glooms21
The flake-feathered trees show like giant plumes ;22
No stir awakes in the death-like woods,23
In those still enchanted solitudes,24
Wreathed in all wild fantastic forms25
Are the tomb-like halls of the King of Storms ;26
The streams are all chain’d, and their prison’d waves27
Sleep a charmèd sleep within crystal caves ;28
No stir in the waters, no sound in the air,—29
Their inmates find shelter, they only know where ;30
But cold is the comfort they own at the best,31
When the icicle hangs where the swallow found rest ;32
And a few of Earth’s wise things when summer was
gay
33
Laid by something safe for a Winterly day ;34
But the wisest among them have taken a sleep,35
Snug coil’d up, and warm, while the snow hes so
deep,
36
Where the keen frost may bite, yet can do them
no harm,
37
As they dream of the summer and all that is warm :38
No breath in the valley, no breeze on the hill,39
No stir in the farm, all is dull, all is chill ;40
And the cattle lie huddled within the fold,—41
Cold, cold ! it is very cold.42
Warm, warm ! it is so warm43
Within the Heart, that all is warm !44
The Heart knows a secret to keep out the chill,45
Let it come when it likes, and stay as it will,46
For, the keener it blows, and the deeper it snows,47
The higher the pure flame of charity glows !48
When Earth grows unkind to her children, nor
cares
49
How soon they may sink to that cold breast of
hers ;
50
Though she know not pity, love will not withhold ;51
There are those who have hunger to bear with the
cold ;
52
There are homes that are no homes ! no work and
no wage,
53
No sunshine for childhood, no comfort for age,54
No food and no fire ; but sickness, with care55
And poverty, dreary companions ! are there.56

*****

Oh ! sweet to sit around the board57
That Providence hath blessed,—58
And sweet to draw the curtain round our warm
and sheltered rest ;
59
To see the faces at whose smile the household hearth
grows bright ;
60
And to feel that, ’mid the darkness, in our dwell-
ings there is light !
61
If we have done what love might do, and wished
that it were more,
62
To keep the grim wolf yet a while without the poor
man’s door ;
63
And if our day hath not gone down, without its
kind relief,
64
To some of those its sad dawn woke to misery and
grief,
65
We need not fear the frost and cold, we have found
out a charm
66
To keep our House, and Home, and Heart, and all
our Being warm !
67
Kind Christmas comes with all its gifts, and absent
friends seem near ;
68
And the Christian hails earth’s
brightest in his year ;
69
And there is peace, and there is joy, and there are
anthems sung,
70
As once by angels in the air, when Christmas-time
was young ;—
71
And our hearts learn the tones of that happy psalm.72
Warm, warm ! it is very warm !73