Winter: A dirge
Once more the Sire of Storms his cloudy tent
Has pitched upon our Northern hemisphere,
And, from his shadowy seat,
Forc'd Autumn to retire.
The feeble race of flow'rs have breath'd their last,
And sad, and solemn, sounds the frequent knell
Of rural Beauty gone —
Of rural Pleasure lost!
Invidious Hoar-frost, perching on the spray,
Where late the wood-lark sang his sweet farewell,
Pierces, with fatal sting,
The green leaf's tender nerve.
Waving his ebon wand, the surly Pow'r
Calls forth from their dank cells the chilling train
Of foul unwholesome fogs,
And glooms of hideous hue.
The curtain, that enclos'd Morn's rosy couch,
No more its gay embroider'd folds displays,
As from it she descends
To greet the rising Sun.
Eve, like a Mourner, muffled in her weeds,
Beside the tomb of one she dearly lov'd,
Eyes the dull scene awhile —
Then, with a sigh, departs
To light her chariot on its dreary way.
Night, now, needs all her lamps; save when the Moon
Pours from her silver urn
The radiant flood around.
Faint Nature falls a prey to atrophy;
And all her living tribes seem sorrowful
Their common Parent, thus
Declining, to behold.
But those, to whom the God, who governs all,
Gave intellectual light, to see and judge,
They know that, by and by,
Her health will be restor'd.
They know that, by and by, the breath of Spring,
With renovated vigour, will inspire
Her faded form again,
And deck it with new charms.
Robert Potter (1755-1829)
from Walker's Hibernian Magazine, 1802
[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]
Thomas Stott biography