January 1, 1829

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Winter is come again. The sweet south westIs a forgotten wind, and the strong earthHas laid aside its mantle to be boundBy the frost fetter. There is not a soundSave of the skaiter's heel, and there is laidAn icy finger on the lip of streams,And the clear icicle hangs cold and still,And the snow-fall is noiseless as a thought.Spring has a rushing sound, and Summer sendsMany sweet voices with its odors out,And Autumn rustleth its decaying robeWith a complaining whisper. Winter's dumb!God made his ministry a silent one,And he has given him a foot of steelAnd an unlovely aspect, and a breathSharp to the senses -- and we know that HeTempereth well, and hath a meaning hidUnder the shadow of his hand. Look up!And it shall be interpreted -- Your homeHath a temptation now. There is no voiceOf waters with beguiling for your ear,And the cool forest and the meadows greenWitch not your feet away; and in the dellsThere are no violets, and upon the hillsThere are no sunny places to lie down.You must go in, and by your cheerful fireWait for the offices of love, and hearAccents of human tenderness, and feastYour eye upon the beauty of the young.It is a season for the quiet thought,And the still reckoning with thyself. The yearGives back the spirits of its dead, and timeWhispers the history of its vanished hours;And the heart, calling its affections up,Counteth its wasted ingots. Life stands stillAnd settles like a fountain, and the eyeSees clearly through its depths, and noteth allThat stirred its troubled waters. It is wellThat Winter with the dying year should come!

© Willis Nathaniel Parker