[An Excerpt from] “Winter” by James Thomson

by Ann Neilson

[An excerpt from] Winter [from The Seasons]
James Thomson
From Graham’s Magazine, February, 1854.

THROUGH the hushed air the whitening shower descends,
At first thin-wavering, till at last the flakes
Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day
With a continual flow. The cherished fields
Put on their winter robe of purest white:
‘Tis brightness all, save where the new snow melts
Along the mazy current. Low the woods
Bow their hoard head; and ere the languid sun,
Faint from the west, emits his evening ray,
Earth’s universal face, deep hid, and chill,
Is one wide dazzling waste, that buries wide
The works of man. Drooping, the laborer-ox
Stands covered o’er with snow, and then demands
The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which Providence assigns them. One alone,
The red-breast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,
In joyless fields and thorny thickets, leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man
His annual visit. Half-afraid, he first
Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth; then hopping o’er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is
Till, more familiar grown, the table crumbs
Attract his slender feet.

[Note: Graham’s Magazine, to my great annoyance, did not indicate any proper source or author for this poem, listing the author simply as “Thomson.” However, I sourced it back to this poem. You can read more about the author here.]