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WINTER SCENES.

The keener tempests rise: and fuming dun
From all the livid east, or piercing north,
Thick clouds ascend; in whose capacious womb
A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congealed.
Heavy they roll their fleecy world along;
And the sky saddens with the gathered storm.

Through the hushed air the whitening shower descends,
At first thin wavering; till at last the flakes
Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day
With a continual flow. The cherished fields
Put on their winter robe of purest white.

'Tis brightness all; save where the new snow melts

Along the mazy current.

Low the woods

Bow their hoar head; and, ere the languid sun
Faint from the west emits his evening ray,
Earth's universal face, deep hid and chill,
Is one wide dazzling waste, that buries wide
The works of man. Drooping, the labourer-ox
Stands covered o'er with snow, and then demands
The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which Providence assigns them. One alone,
The red-breast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,
In joyless fields, and thorny thickets, leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man
His annual visit. Half afraid, he first

Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights

On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,

And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is:
Till, more familiar grown, the table-crumbs
Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
Though timorous of heart, and hard beset
By death in various forms, dark snares, and dogs,
And more unpitying man, the garden seeks,
Urged on by fearless Want. The bleating kind
Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,
With looks of dumb despair; then, sad dispersed,
Dig for the withered herb through heaps of snow.

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As thus the snows arise; and foul, and fierce, All winter drives along the darkened air; In his own loose revolving fields, the swain Disastered stands: sees other hills ascend, Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes, Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain : Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid Beneath the formless wild: but wanders on From hill to dale, still more and more astray; Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps, Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth In many a vain attempt. How sinks the soul! What black despair, what horror fills his heart! When for the dusky spot, which fancy feigned His tufted cottage rising through the snow

He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Far from the track, and blessed abode of man;
While round him night resistless closes fast,
And every tempest howling o'er his head,
Renders the savage wilderness more wild.
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
Of covered pits, unfathomably deep,

A dire descent! beyond the power of frost;
Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge,

Smoothed up with snow; and, what is land unknown,
What water, of the still unfrozen spring,

In the loose marsh or solitary lake,

Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.
These check his fearful steps; and down he sinks
Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Mixed with the tender anguish Nature shoots
Through the wrung bosom of the dying man,
His wife, his children, and his friends unseen.
In vain for him the officious wife prepares
The fire fair-blazing, and the vestment warm;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their sire,
With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold,
Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerve
The deadly Winter seizes; shuts up sense;
And, o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows a stiffened corse,
Stretched cut, and bleaching in the northern blast

But what is this? our infant Winter sinks,
Divested of his grandeur, should our eye
Astonished shoot into the frigid zone;

Where, for relentless months, continual Night
Holds, o'er the glittering waste her starry reign.
There, through the prison of unbounded wilds,
Barred by the hand of nature from escape,
Wide roams the Russian exile. Nought around
Strikes his sad eye, but deserts lost in snow;
And heavy loaded groves; and solid floods,
That stretch athwart the solitary vast

Their icy horrors to the frozen main ;

And cheerless towns far distant, never blessed,
Save when its annual course the caravan

Bends to the golden coast of rich Cathay,
With news of human kind. Yet there life glows;
Yet cherished there, beneath the shining waste,
The furry nations harbour; tipt with jet,
Fair ermines, spotless as the snows they press;
Sables of glossy black; and dark embrowned;
Or beauteous freaked with many a mingled hue,
Thousands besides, the costly pride of courts.
There, warm together pressed, the trooping deer,
Sleep on the new-fallen snows; and scarce his head
Raised o'er the heapy wreath, the branching elk
Lies slumbering sullen in the white abyss.
The ruthless hunter wants nor dogs nor toils,
Nor with the dread of sounding bows he drives
The fearful flying race; with ponderous clubs,
As weak against the mountain heaps they push
Their beating breast in vain, and piteous bray

He lays them quivering in the ensanguined snows,
And with loud shouts rejoicing bears them home.
There through the piny forest half absorped,
Rough tenant of these shades, the shapeless bear,
With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn ;
Slow-paced, and sourer as the storms increase,
He makes his bed beneath the inclement drift;
And, with stern patience, scorning weak complaint,
Hardens his heart against assailing want.

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Still pressing on, beyond Tornea's lake,
And Hecla flaming through a waste of snow,
And farthest Greenland, to the pole itself,
Where, failing gradual, life at length goes out,
The Muse expands her solitary flight;

And, hovering o'er the wild stupendous scene,
Beholds new scenes beneath another sky.
Throned in his palace of cerulean ice,
Here Winter holds his unrejoicing court;
And through his airy hall the loud misrule
Of driving tempest is forever heard :
Here the grim tyrant meditates his wrath;
Here arms his winds with all-subduing frost;
Moulds his fierce hail, and treasures up his snows,
With which he now oppresses half the globe.
Thence winding eastward to the Tartar's coast,
She sweeps the howling margin of the main;
Where undissolving, from the first of time,
Snows swell on snows, amazing, to the sky;
And icy mountains, high on mountains piled,

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