The Frost Spirit and Others from Poems of Nature, Poems Subjective and Reminiscent and Religious Poems Volume II., the Works of Whittier

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He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes
     You may trace his footsteps now
On the naked woods and the blasted fields and the
     brown hill's withered brow.
He has smitten the leaves of the gray old trees
     where their pleasant green came forth,
And the winds, which follow wherever he goes,
     have shaken them down to earth.

He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes!
     from the frozen Labrador,
From the icy bridge of the Northern seas, which
     the white bear wanders o'er,
Where the fisherman's sail is stiff with ice, and the
     luckless forms below
In the sunless cold of the lingering night into
     marble statues grow

He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes
     on the rushing Northern blast,
And the dark Norwegian pines have bowed as his
     fearful breath went past.
With an unscorched wing he has hurried on,
     where the fires of Hecla glow
On the darkly beautiful sky above and the ancient
     ice below.

He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes and the quiet lake shall feel The torpid touch of his glazing breath, and ring to the skater's heel; And the streams which danced on the broken rocks, or sang to the leaning grass, Shall bow again to their winter chain, and in mournful silence pass. He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes! Let us meet him as we may, And turn with the light of the parlor-fire his evil power away; And gather closer the circle round, when that fire-light dances high, And laugh at the shriek of the baffled Fiend as his sounding wing goes by! 1830.


     "The Indians speak of a beautiful river, far to the south,
     which they call Merrimac."—SIEUR. DE MONTS, 1604.

Stream of my fathers! sweetly still
The sunset rays thy valley fill;
Poured slantwise down the long defile,
Wave, wood, and spire beneath them smile.
I see the winding Powow fold
The green hill in its belt of gold,
And following down its wavy line,
Its sparkling waters blend with thine.
There 's not a tree upon thy side,
Nor rock, which thy returning tide
As yet hath left abrupt and stark
Above thy evening water-mark;
No calm cove with its rocky hem,
No isle whose emerald swells begin
Thy broad, smooth current; not a sail
Bowed to the freshening ocean gale;
No small boat with its busy oars,
Nor gray wall sloping to thy shores;
Nor farm-house with its maple shade,
Or rigid poplar colonnade,
But lies distinct and full in sight,
Beneath this gush of sunset light.
Centuries ago, that harbor-bar,
Stretching its length of foam afar,
And Salisbury's beach of shining sand,
And yonder island's wave-smoothed strand,
Saw the adventurer's tiny sail,
Flit, stooping from the eastern gale;
And o'er these woods and waters broke
The cheer from Britain's hearts of oak,
As brightly on the voyager's eye,
Weary of forest, sea, and sky,
Breaking the dull continuous wood,
The Merrimac rolled down his flood;
Mingling that clear pellucid brook,
Which channels vast Agioochook
When spring-time's sun and shower unlock
The frozen fountains of the rock,
And more abundant waters given
From that pure lake, "The Smile of Heaven,"
Tributes from vale and mountain-side,—
With ocean's dark, eternal tide...!