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For the Children's Hour by  Carolyn S. Bailey

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WINTER

From Lowell's "Vision of Sir Launfal;" by permission of, and by special arrangement with, Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

[125]

Down swept the chill wind from the mountain peak,

From the snow five thousand summers old;

On open wold and hilltop bleak,

It had gathered all the cold,

And whirled it like sleet on the wanderer's cheek;

It carried a shiver everywhere

From the unleafed boughs and pastures bare.

The little brook heard it, and built him a roof

'Neath which he could house himself, winter-proof;

All night, by the white stars' frosty gleams,

He groined his arches, and matched his beams;

Slender and clear were his crystal spars

As the lashes of light that trim the stars:

He sculptured every summer delight

In his halls and chambers, out of sight;

Sometimes his tinkling waters slipt

Down through a frost-leaved forest crypt,

Long, sparking aisles of steel-stemmed trees

Bending to counterfeit a breeze;

Sometimes a roof no fretwork knew

But silvery mosses that downward grew;

[126]

Sometimes it was carved in sharp relief

With quaint arabesques of ice-fern leaf;

Sometimes it was simply smooth and clear

For the gladness of heaven to shine through, and here

He had caught the nodding bulrush tops

And hung them thickly with diamond drops,

That crystaled the beams of moon and sun,

And made a star of every one:

No mortal builder's most rare device

Could match this winter palace of ice.


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