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The Frost


And let his weird and sleety beard

Stream loose upon the blast,
And, rustling, chime to the tinkling rime

From his bald head falling fast.

Let his baleful breath shed blight and death

On herb and flower and tree;
And brooks and ponds in crystal bonds

Bind fast, but what care we?

Let him push at the door,-in the chimney roar,

And rattle the window-pane;
Let him in at us spy with his icicle eye,

But he shall not entrance gain.

Let him gnaw, forsooth, with his freezing tooth,

On our roof-tiles, till he tire;
But we care not a whit, as we jovial sit

Before our blazing fire.

Come, lads, let's sing, till the rafters ring;

Come, push the can about;-
From our snug fire-side this Christmas-tide
We'll keep old Winter out.

Thomas Noel (1799–1861]


THE Frost looked forth, one still, clear night,
And he said, "Now I shall be out of sight;
So through the valley and over the height

In silence I'll take my way.
I will not go like that blustering train,
The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain,
Who make so much bustle and noise in vain,

But I'll be as busy as they!"

Then he went to the mountain, and powdered its crest, He climbed up the trees, and their boughs he dressed With diamonds and pearls, and over the breast

Of the quivering lake he spread

A coat of mail, that it need not fear
The downward point of many a spear
That he hung on its margin, far and near,

Where a rock could rear its head.


He went to the windows of those who slept,
And over each pane like a fairy crept;
Wherever he breathed, wherever he stepped,

By the light of the moon were seen
Most beautiful things. There were flowers and trees,
There were bevies of birds and swarms of bees,
There were cities, thrones, temples, and towers, and these

All pictured in silver sheen!
But he did one thing that was hardly fair,-
He peeped in the cupboard, and, finding there
That all had forgotten for him to prepare, —

Now, just to set them a-thinking,
I'll bite this basket of fruit,” said he;
“This costly pitcher I'll burst in three,
And the glass of water they've left for me
Shall 'tchick!' to tell them I'm drinking.”

Hannah Flagg Gould (1789-1865]

ONE night came Winter noiselessly and leaned

Against my window-pane.
In the deep stillness of his heart convened

The ghosts of all his slain.
Leaves, and ephemera, and stars of earth,

And fugitives of grass,-
White spirits loosed from bonds of mortal birth,
He drew them on the glass.

Charles G. D. Roberts (1860

THE FROST SPIRIT He comes,-he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes! You may

trace his footsteps now On the naked woods and the blasted fields and the brown

hill's withered brow.

The Frost Spirit


He has smitten the leaves of the gray old trees where their

pleasant green came forth, And the winds, which follow wherever he goes, have shaken

them down to earth.

He comes,-he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes! from the

frozen Labrador, From the icy bridge of the Northern seas, which the white

bear wanders o'er, Where the fisherman's sail is stiff with ice and the luckless

forms below In the sunless cold of the lingering night into marble statues


He comes,-he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes! on the rush

ing Northern blast, And the dark Norwegian pines have bowed as his fearful

breath went past. With an unscorched wing he has hurried on, where the fires of

Hecla glow On the darkly beautiful sky above and the ancient ice below.

He comes,-he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes! and the

quiet lake shall feel The torpid touch of his glazing breath, and ring to the

skater's heel; And the streams which danced on the broken rocks, or sang

to the leaning grass, Shall bow again to their winter chain, and in mournful silence


He comes,-he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes! Let us meet

him as we may, And turn with the light of the parlor-fire his evil power

away; And gather closer the circle round, when that firelight dances

high, And laugh at the shriek of the baffled Fiend as his sounding wing goes by!

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)


Lo, what wonders the day hath brought,

Born of the soft and slumbrous snow!
Gradual, silent, slowly wrought;
Even as an artist, thought by thought,

Writes expression on lip and brow.

Hanging garlands the eaves o'erbrim,

Deep drifts smother the paths below; The elms are shrouded, trunk and limb, And all the air is dizzy and dim

With a whirl of dancing, dazzling snow.


Dimly out of the baffled sight

Houses and church-spires stretch away; The trees, all spectral and still and white, Stand

up like ghosts in the failing light, And fade and faint with the blinded day.

Down from the roofs in gusts are hurled

The eddying drifts to the waste below; And still is the banner of storm unfurled, Till all the drowned and desolate world

Lies dumb and white in a trance of snow.

Slowly the shadows gather and fall,

Still the whispering snow-flakes beat;
Night and darkness are over all:
Rest, pale city, beneath their pall!

Sleep, white world, in thy winding-sheet!

Clouds may thicken, and storm-winds breathe:

On my wall is a glimpse of Rome, Land of my longing!-and underneath Swings and trembles my olive-wreath; Peace and I are at home, at home!

Elizabeth Akers (1832–1911) The Snow-Shower



WHAT heart could have thought of you?-
Past our devisal
(O filigree petal!)
Fashioned so purely,
Fragilely, surely,
From what Paradisal
Imagineless metal,
Too costly for cost?
Who hammered you, wrought you,
From argentine vapor?
“God was my shaper.
Passing surmisal,
He hammered, He wrought me,
From curled silver vapor,
To lust of His mind:
Thou couldst not have thought me!
So purely, so palely,
Tinily, surely,
Mightily, frailly,
Insculped and embossed,
With His hammer of wind,
And His graver of frost.”

Francis Thompson (1859?-1907]


STAND here by my side and turn, I pray,

On the lake below thy gentle eyes;
The clouds hang over it, heavy and gray,

And dark and silent the water lies;
And out of that frozen mist the snow
In wavering flakes begins to flow;

Flake after flake
They sink in the dark and silent lake.
See how in a living swarm they come

From the chambers beyond that misty veil;
Some hover in air awhile, and some

Rush prone from the sky like summer hail.


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