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'Tis winter, yet there is no sound
Along the air,
Of winds upon their battle-ground,
The snow is falling,-all around
How fair-how fair!
The jocund fields would masquerade;
Tree, shrub, and lawn, and lonely glade
And joined the revel, all arrayed
So white and clean.
E'en the old posts, that hold the bars
And the old gate,
Forgetful of their wintry wars,
And age sedate,
High capped, and plumed, like white hussars,
Stand there in state.
The drifts are hanging by the sill,
The eaves, the door;
The hay-stack has become a hill;
All covered o'er
The waggon, loaded for the mill
The eve before.
Maria brings the water-pail,
But where's the well!
Like magic of a fairy tale,
Most strange to tell,
All vanished, curb, and crank, and rail!
How deep it fell!
The wood-pile, too, is playing hide;
The kennel of that friend so tried,
(The old watch-dog,)
The grindstone standing by its side,
The bustling cock looks out aghast
No spot to scratch him a repast
Starts the dull hamlet with a blast,
And back to bed.
Old drowsy dobbin, at the call,
Out from the window of his stall
A view he takes;
While thick and faster seem to fall
The silent flakes.
The barn-yard gentry, musing, chime
Like Memnon's music of old time
That voice of stone!
So marbled they-and so sublime
Good Ruth has called the younker folk
To dress below;
Full welcome was the word she spoke,
Down, down they gc,
The cottage quietude is broke,—
The snow!-the snow!
Now rises from around the fire
A pleasant strain;
Ye giddy sons of mirth, retire!
And ye profane!
A hymn to the Eternal Sire
Goes up again.
The patriarchal Book divine,
Upon the knee,
Opes where the gems of Judah shine,
(Sweet minstrelsie !)
How soars each heart with each fair line,
Oh God, to Thee!
Around the altar low they bend,
Devout in prayer;
As snows upon the roof descend,
So angels there
Come down that household to defend
With gentle care.
Now sings the kettle o'er the blaze;
The buckwheat heaps;
Rare Mocha, worth an Arab's praise,
Sweet Susan steeps;
The old round stand her nod obeys,
Now tiny snow-birds venture nigh
(Sweet strangers! with the winter's sky
To pass away ;)
And gather crumbs in full supply,
For all the day.
Let now the busy hours begin :
Out rolls the churn;
Forth hastes the farm-boy, and brings in The brush to burn;
Sweep, shovel, scour, sew, knit, and spin, "Till night's return.
To delve his threshing John must hie;
His sturdy shoe
Can all the subtle damp defy;
How wades he through!
While dainty milkmaids slow and shy,
His track pursue.
Each to the hour's allotted care;
To shell the corn;
The broken harness to repair;
The sleigh t' adorn;
As cheerful, tranquil, frosty, fair,
Speeds on the morn.
While mounts the eddying smoke amain
From many a hearth,
And all the landscape rings again
With rustic mirth;
So gladsome seems to every swain
The snowy earth.