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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

From the ‘Ode to Winter’

By Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)

(See full text.)

BUT howling winter fled afar,

To hills that prop the polar star,

And loves on deer-borne car to ride

With barren Darkness by his side,

Round the shore where loud Lofoden

Whirls to death the roaring whale,

Round the hall where Runic Odin

Howls his war-song to the gale;

Save when adown the ravaged globe

He travels on his native storm,

Deflowering Nature’s grassy robe,

And trampling on her faded form:—

Till light’s returning lord assume

The shaft that drives him to his polar field;

Of power to pierce his raven plume

And crystal-covered shield.

O sire of storms! whose savage ear

The Lapland drum delights to hear,

When Frenzy with her bloodshot eye

Implores thy dreadful deity,

Archangel! power of desolation!

Fast descending as thou art,

Say, hath mortal invocation

Spells to touch thy stony heart?

Then, sullen Winter, hear my prayer,

And gently rule the ruined year;

Nor chill the wanderer’s bosom bare,

Nor freeze the wretch’s falling tear;—

To shuddering Want’s unmantled bed

Thy horror-breathing agues cease to lead,

And gently on the orphan head

Of innocence descend.—

But chiefly spare, O king of clouds!

The sailor on his airy shrouds;

When wrecks and beacons strew the steep,

And spectres walk along the deep.

Milder yet thy snowy breezes

Pour on yonder tented shores,

Where the Rhine’s broad billow freezes,

Or the dark-brown Danube roars.