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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

It Snows

By Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788–1879)

[Born in Newport, N. H., 1788. Died in Philadelphia, Penn., 1879. Woman’s Record. 1852.]

“IT snows!” cries the School-boy—“hurrah!” and his shout

Is ringing through parlor and hall,

While swift, as the wing of a swallow, he’s out

And his playmates have answered his call:

It makes the heart leap but to witness their joy,—

Proud wealth has no pleasures, I trow,

Like the rapture that throbs in the pulse of the boy,

As he gathers his treasures of snow;

Then lay not the trappings of gold on thine heirs,

While health, and the riches of Nature, are theirs.

“It snows!” sighs the Imbecile—“Ah!” and his breath

Comes heavy, as clogged with a weight;

While from the pale aspect of Nature in death,

He turns to the blaze of his grate:

And nearer, and nearer, his soft-cushioned chair

Is wheeled toward the life-giving flame—

He dreads a chill puff of the snow-burdened air,

Lest it wither his delicate frame:

Oh! small is the pleasure existence can give,

When the fear we shall die only proves that we live!

“It snows!” cries the Traveller—“Ho!” and the word

Has quickened his steed’s lagging pace;

The wind rushes by, but its howl is unheard—

Unfelt the sharp drift in his face;

For bright through the tempest his own home appeared—

Ay, though leagues intervened, he can see;

There’s the clear, glowing hearth, and the table prepared,

And his wife with their babes at her knee.

Blest thought! how it lightens the grief-laden hour,

That those we love dearest are safe from its power.

“It snows!” cries the Belle—“Dear, how lucky!” and turns

From her mirror to watch the flakes fall;

Like the first rose of summer, her dimpled cheek burns

While musing on sleigh-ride and ball:

There are visions of conquest, of splendor, and mirth,

Floating over each drear winter’s day;

But the tintings of Hope, on this storm-beaten earth,

Will melt, like the snow-flakes, away;

Turn, turn thee to Heaven, fair maiden, for bliss,

That world has a fountain ne’er opened in this.

“It snows!” cries the Widow—“Oh God!” and her sighs

Have stifled the voice of her prayer;

Its burden ye’ll read in her tear-swollen eyes,

On her cheek, sunk with fasting and care.

’Tis night—and her fatherless ask her for bread—

But “He gives the young ravens their food,”

And she trusts, till her dark hearth adds horror to dread,

And she lays on her last chip of wood.

Poor sufferer! that sorrow thy God only knows—

’Tis a pitiful lot to be poor, when it snows!