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THE charm of the changing sea fields and woodlands devoid of life and
sons of our northeastern corner beauty; or is there much to delight the
of the United States is widely unbiased person in its crystalline storms celebrated. The shifting pageant from and white landscapes, and even in its month to month, and even the varia rude onsets of cold and wind? What tions and uncertainties from day to has Emerson to say? What sentiments day, are not without pleasure-giving do Whittier, and Longfellow, and the stimulus; but if there is any portion of others express? the year that is open to doubt it is the Emerson found good in all of nawinter. By many its frosty vigor is ture's ways, and it is perhaps to be exregarded with critical disapproval, and pected that he would take a cheerful in recollection of the strenuous rigors view of winter. Yet he was essentially of this one season our New England a man of the study, and that he should year is sometimes described as con be wholly in love with the frigid sisting of “six months winter and the months was scarcely possible. The rest late in the fall."
point he most emphasizes in his winter “Yes,” said an old native of our west poems is this fact, that though the outern Massachusetts hills to me, “the door world may be storm-enveloped, winter here is a leetle too cold.”
and wind and flying flakes roughly bufa cautious man and ex fet those who brave the tumult, and pressed himself mildly. But another assail the dwellings with gusty viohill-towner who was not of this cau lence, this only serves to make the intious type declared that the New Eng- door world seem the more snug. His landers “spend half their time wishing “Snow Storm” illustrates this theme it wa'n't such blessed cold weather." effectively:
Probably all of us have heard nu Announced by all the trumpets of the merous shining comments on our win sky, ter that are far from respectful, and I Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the propose in what follows to appeal to fields, the facts to see if such criticisms are Seems nowhere to alight; the whited justified. Is it an imprisoning and
air dreary season, devastating and fright- Hides hills and woods, the river, and ful in its savagery, and with frozen
And veils the farm-house at the gar- Round every windward stake, or tree, den's end.
or door. The sled and traveler stopped, the And when his hours are numbered * **
courier's feet Delayed, all friends shut out, the To mimic in slow structures, stone by housemates sit
stone, Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed Built in an age, the mad wind's nightIn a tumultuous privacy of storm.
The frolic architecture of the snow. Strictly speaking, the first line is not truly descriptive of a snow storm, for In his poem entitled “May-Day," the beginnings of such a storm are very Emerson paints winter in darker tones, sure to be stealthy and quiet, and the but it might reasonably be inferred that storm certainly is not announced by “all this was chiefly for the purpose of givthe trumpets of the sky.” But the pic- ing his spring theme a more impressive ture of the whirl of white flakes in con- setting. He recalls that in winter trast with the cheer of the warm fireside is wholly delightful.
All was stiff and stark; After the storm has spent itself the Knee-deep snows choked all the ways. reader is bidden to
Firm-braced I sought my ancient
woods, Come see the north wind's masonry. Struggling through the drifted roads; Out of an unseen quarry * * *
The whited desert knew me not, * * * the fierce artificer
Snow-ridges masked each darling spot. Carves his white bastions with pro Eldest mason, Frost, had piled jected roof
Swift cathedrals in the wild ;
piped a tiny voice hard by, Gay and polite, a cheerful cry, Chic-chic-a-dee-dec! saucy note Out of sound heart and merry throat, As if it said, “Good day, good sir ! Fine afternoon, old passenger! Happy to meet you in these places, When January brings few faces."
The little bird flits about fearlessly, familiar and vigorously cheerful, and the poet exclaims,
Here was this atom in full breath
He interpreted the bird's song to mean that it liked
AFTER THE STORM
“has when summer beats With stifling beams on these retreats, Than noontide twilights which snow
Another writer who brings the chic
of winter in Longfellow is this from
The most gorous and refreshing bit
I chase the wild-fowl from the frozen a-dee into a winter poem is J. T. Trowbridge. He expresses himself in milder vein than Emerson, yet with a good deal of charm, when he says:
While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes a funeral train.
depressing, but there winter is natur-
ject of the poem makes it no surprise
that winter should be presented as To the poet the storm was gently more a foe than a friend. With such a pleasurable, and I have no doubt that topic, however, as the “Woods in Winhis genial and sympathetic nature ter,” we would expect something radifound in winter, as well as in the other cally different in tone, yet the poet deseasons, much of good.
livers himself with considerable uncer
Along the dreary landscape
His eyes went to and fro, The trees all clad in icicles,
The streams that did not flow.
What the poet's own feeling was as to winter is left uncertain; for the character of the human element in the poem accounts for the melancholy setting.
To Bryant we would look for a much more definite expression. He had a profound affection for his native hills in western Massachusetts, and there was a ruggedness in his personality that put him in sympathy with the rugged in nature. His view is sober, but not gloomy, in spite of the fact that the country he loved would impress most with a sense of vast loneliness, especially when the great heaving hills are
tainty, and we have touches of both gloom and brightness.
With solemn feet I tread the hill
That overbrows the lonely vale, he says in the first verse, and continues then:
O'er the bare upland, and away Through the long reach of desert
woods, The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.
Alas! how changed from the fair scene, When birds sang out their mellow
lay, And winds were soft, and woods were
green, And the song ceased not with the day!
But still wild music is abroad,
crowd; And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.
Chill airs and wintry winds; my ear
Has grown familiar with your song; I hear it in the opening year,
I listen and it cheers me long.
One gets scarcely a glimpse of winter in Holmes. He did not ramble far afield in his verse, and was a man of books and a townsman whose tastes did not often take him into the open country, either bodily or mentally. The only winter picture I find is a fragment in his “Pilgrim's Vision,” and this is more concerned with the domicile of the "Pilgrim sire” than with nature's aspect.
His home was a freezing cabin,
Too bare for the hungry rat; Its 'roof was thatched with ragged
grass, And bald enough of that;
The hole that served for casement
Was glazed with an ancient hat, And the ice was gently thawing
From the log whereon he sat.
THE FIRST LESSON IN SLIDING