The snow had begun in the gloaming, And busily all the night Had been heaping field and highway With a silence deep and white. Every pine and fir and hemlock Wore ermine too dear for an earl, And the poorest twig on the elm-tree Was ridged inch deep with pearl. From sheds new-roofed with Carrara Came Chanticleer's muffled crow, The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down, And still fluttered down the snow. I stood and watched by the window The noiseless work of the sky, And the sudden flurries of snow-birds, Like brown leaves whirling by. I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn Where a little headstone stood; How the flakes were folding it gently, As did robins the babes in the wood. Up spoke our own little Mabel, Saying, "Father, who makes it snow?" And I told of the good All-father Who cares for us here below. Again I looked at the snow-fall, And thought of the leaden sky That arched o'er our first great sorrow, When that mound was heaped so high. I remembered the gradual patience That fell from that cloud-like snow, Flake by flake, healing and hiding The scar of our deep-plunged woe. And again to the child I whispered, "The snow that husheth all, Darling, the merciful Father Alone can make it fall!" Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her; And she, kissing back, could not know That my kiss was given to her sister, Folded close under deepening snow.
James Russell Lowell - 1819-1891
from The Vision of Sir Launfal
And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays: Whether we look, or whether we listen, We hear life murmur, or see it glisten; Every clod feels a stir of might, An instinct within it that reaches and towers, And, groping blindly above it for light, Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers; The flush of life may well be seen Thrilling back over hills and valleys; The cowslip startles in meadows green, The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice, And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean To be some happy creature's palace; The little bird sits at his door in the sun, Atilt like a blossom among the leaves, And lets his illumined being o'errun With the deluge of summer it receives; His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings, And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings; He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,— In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best? Now is the high-tide of the year, And whatever of life hath ebbed away Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer, Into every bare inlet and creek and bay; Now the heart is so full that a drop over-fills it, We are happy now because God wills it; No matter how barren the past may have been, 'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green; We sit in the warm shade and feel right well How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell; We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing That skies are clear and grass is growing; The breeze comes whispering in our ear, That dandelions are blossoming near, That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing, That the river is bluer than the sky, That the robin is plastering his house hard by; And if the breeze kept the good news back, For other couriers we should not lack; We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,— And hark! how clear bold chanticleer, Warmed with the new wine of the year, Tells all in his lusty crowing!