1 WHAT! tho' thou com'st in sable mantle clad,
2 Yet, Winter! art thou welcome to my eye:
3 Thee here I hail, tho' terrors round thee wait,
4 And winds tempestuous howl along the sky.
5 But shall I then so soon forget the days
6 When Ceres led me thro' her wheaten mines!
7 When autumn pluck'd me, with his tawny hand,
8 Empurpled clusters from ambrosial vines!
9 So soon forget, when up the yielding pole
10 I saw ascend the silver-bearded hop!
11 When Summer, waving high her crown of hay,
12 Pour'd o'er the mead her odoriferous crop!
13 I must forget them — and thee too, O Spring!
14 Tho' many a chaplet thou hast weav'd for me:
15 For, now prepar'd to quit th' enchanting scenes,
16 Cold, weeping Winter! I come all to thee.
17 Hail to thy rolling clouds, and rapid storms!
18 Tho' they deform fair Nature's lovely face:
19 Hail to thy winds, that sweep along the earth!
20 Tho' trees they root up from their solid base.
21 How sicklied over is the face of things!
22 Where is the spice kiss of the southern gale!
23 Where the wild rose, that smil'd upon the thorn,
24 The mountain flower, and lilly of the vale!
25 How gloomy 'tis to cast the eye around,
26 And view the trees disrob'd of every leaf,
27 The velvet path grown rough with clotting showers,
28 And every field depriv'd of every sheaf!
29 How far more gloomy o'er the rain-beat heath,
30 Alone to travel in the dead of night!
31 No twinkling star to gild the arch of heaven,
32 No moon to lend her temporary light:
33 To see the lightning spread its ample sheet,
34 Discern the wild waste thro' its liquid fire,
35 To hear the thunder rend the troubled air,
36 As time itself and nature would expire:
37 And yet, O Winter! has thy poet seen
38 Thy face as smooth, and placid as the Spring,
39 Has felt, with comfort felt, the beam of heaven,
40 And heard thy vallies and thy woodlands ring.
41 What time the sun with burnish'd locks arose,
42 The long lost charms of nature to renew,
43 When pearls of ice bedeck'd the grassy turf,
44 And tree-tops floated in the silver dew.
45 Father of heaven and earth! this change is thine:
46 By thee the Seasons in gradation roll,
47 Thou great omniscient Ruler of the world!
48 Thou Alpha and Omega of the whole!
49 Here humbly bow we down our heads to thee!
50 'Tis ours the voice of gratitude to raise,
51 Thine to diffuse thy blessings o'er the land;
52 Thine to receive the incense of our praise.
53 Pure if it rises from the conscious heart,
54 With thee for ever does the symbol live;
55 Tho' small for all thy love is man's return,
56 Thou ask'st no more, than he has power to give.