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One little maiden, in that cottage home,
Like sunsbine on the uneasy ocean waves,
Alice. Or Willy, quite as oft.
Of this young maiden, now twelve summers old. 55 Now you must know that, in those early times,
When autumn days grew pale, there came a troop
Or walked the ground with girded loins, and threw 60 Spangles of silvery frost upon the grass,
And edged the brook with glistening parapets,
A beautiful race were the, with baby brows, And fair, bright locks, and voices like the sound
Of steps on the crisp snow, in which they talked vo With man, as friend with friend. A merry sight
It was, when, crowding round the traveller,
And, of the light wreaths of his smoking breath, 75 Wove a white fringe for his brown beard, and
Their slender laugh to see him wink and grin
reigned Among these Little People of the Snow! 80 To them the sun's warm beams were shafts of fire,
And the soft south wind was the wind of death.
Or scampered upward to the mountain's top, 85 And there defied eir enemy, the Spring;
Skipping and dancing on the frozen peaks,
That, too, must have been A merry sight to look at. 90 Uncle John.
You are right,
Mid-winter was the time, and Eva stood
The outer cold, with ample furry robe
And a broad kerchief, which her mother's hand
“ For sharp is the outer air, and, mark me well, 100 Go not upon the snow beyond the spot Where the great linden bounds the neighboring
field.” The little maiden promised, and went forth, And climbed the rounded snow-swells firm with
frost Beneath her feet, and slid, with balancing arms, 105 Into the hollows. Once, as up a drift
She slowly rose,
before her, in the way,
That gleamed like ice, and robe that only seemed 110 Of a more shadowy whiteness than her cheek.
On a smooth bank she sat.
She must have been
Uncle John. She was so, and, as Eva now
The tiny creature bounded from her seat; 115 “ And come,” she said, “ 'my pretty friend; to
A merry ramble over these bright fields,
On went the pair, until they reached the bound Where the great linden stood, set deep in snow, 25 Up to the lower branches.
“ Here we stop,”
this? This fear of the pure snow, the innocent snow, 130 That never harmed ought living? Thou may'st
For leagues beyond this garden, and return
135 And bring thee safely home. Thy mother, sure,
Counselled thee thus because thou hadst no guide."
By such smooth words was Eva won to break Her promise, and went on with her new friend,
Over the glistening snow and down a bank 140 Where a white shelf, wrought by the eddying wind
Like to a billow's crest in the great sea,
Entered the little pair that hill of snow, 145 Walking along a passage with white walls,
And a white vault above where snow-stars shed
And talked and tripped along, as, down the way, 150 Deeper they went into that mountainous drift.
And now the white walls widened, and the vault Swelled upward, like some vast cathedral dome, Such as the Florentine, who bore the name
Of Heaven's most potent angel, reared, long since, 155 Or the unknown builder of that wondrous fane,
The glory of Burgos. Here a garden lay,
137. The idea of sin is very lightly touched in the poem,
and there is no conscious temptation to evil on the part of the Snowmaiden. The absence of a moral sense in the Little People of the Snow is very delicately assumed here. It is with fairies that the poet is dealing, and not with diininutive human beings.
146. The star form of the snow-crystal gives a peculiar truth fulness to the poet's fancy
154. Michael Angelo, the great Florentine architect, sculptor, and painter.
156. In Bryant's Letters of a Traveller, second series, will be found an account of Burgos Cathedral.
Upon the mountain's side and in the clouds 160 Were ended. Here they taught the silent frost
To mock, in stem and spray, and leaf and flower,
Of plume-like leaves; here cedars, huge as those 165 Of Lebanon, stretched far their level bouglis,
Yet pale and shadowless; the sturdy oak
Of myrtle, roses in their bud and bloom, 170 Drooped by the winding walks; yet all seemed
Said the snow-maiden ; “touch not, with thy hand, 175 The frail creation round thee, and beware
To sweep it with thy skirts. Now look above.
These are the northern lights, such as thou seest 180 In the midwinter nights, cold, wandering flames,
That float, with our processions, through the air;
How, when the wind, in the long winter nights, 185 Swept the light snows into the hollow dell,
She and her comrades guided to its place
With shadowy aisles between, or bade them grow 190 Beneath their little hands, to bowery walks