24 NOVEMBER 1866, Page 15


COLD Winter, art thou come ?—

With all thy savage blasts and shortened hours, With nothing in thine eyes but starved gloom, And sad forgetfulness of Summer flowers, With little on thy lips but moanings drear, Come, saddest that thou art, least loved of all the year?

I know that through and through Thy bitter piercing winds will search and leave No green upon the boughs, but quite undo The web that Summer had such toil to weave, Then freeze her songs to silence, till no bird Nor any passing stream along the woods be heard.

But now thy breath and face, Pale wasted features and devouring tongue, Seem fairer than young spring in all her grace, Or Summer wantoning the fields among, Sweeter than king-cups crushed with foot of kine, Or balmy winds that kiss dark crowns of purple pine.

For what can Summer bring That should not make man's heart more sad than gay ; Or what avails the awakening voice of Spring To boughs long cumbered with the old year's decay ; Or what know we of Death, that we should borrow Comfort of earth's new joy re-risen from winter's sorrow?

But think—if only we Might lay our hearts, even as the branches, bare, Cast our old burdens off like them, and be

All night abandoned to thy scourging air,—

How would our lightened hearts not droop, as now, To watch the year's young fire in every bursting bough