Published on Academy of American Poets (


Brave Winter and I shall ever agree,
Though a stern and frowning gaffer is he.
I like to hear him, with hail and rain,
Come tapping against the window pane;
I joy to see him come marching forth
Begirt with the icicle gems of the north;
But I like him best when he comes bedight
In his velvet robes of stainless white.

A cheer for the snow—the drifting snow!
Smoother and purer than beauty’s brow!
The creature of thought scarce likes to tread
On the delicate carpet so richly spread.
With feathery wreaths the forest is bound,
And the hills are with glittering diadems crown’d;
’Tis the fairest scene we can have below.
Sing, welcome, then, to the drifting snow!

The urchins gaze with eloquent eye
To see the flakes go dancing by.
In the thick of the storm how happy are they
To welcome the first deep snowy day;
Shouting and pelting—what bliss to fall
Half-smother’d beneath the well-aim’d ball!
Men of fourscore, did ye ever know
Such sport as ye had in the drifting snow?

I’m true to my theme, for I loved it well.
When the gossiping nurse would sit and tell
The tale of the geese—though hardly believed—
I doubted and question’d the words that deceived.
I rejoice in it still, and love to see
The ermine mantle on tower and tree.
’Tis the fairest scene we can have below.
Hurrah! then, hurrah! for the drifting snow!


This poem appeared in Melaia and Other Poems (Charles Tilt, 1840). It is in the public domain.


Eliza Cook

Eliza Cook was born on December 24, 1818, in London, England. Self-educated as a child, she began writing poems at the age of fifteen and published her first poetry collection, Lays of a Wild Harp: A Collection of Metrical Pieces (John Bennett, 1835), two years later.

Cook also published poems in magazines such as Metropolitan Magazine, New Monthly Magazine, and Weekly Dispatch, which published her most popular poem, “The Old Arm-Chair.” In 1838, Cook published her second collection, Melaia and Other Poems, which was well received in both England and America. It was reissued in 1844.

Known as a poet of the working class, Cook wrote poems that advocated for political freedom for women and addressed questions of class and social justice. Despite her popularity, she was criticized for the ways in which she bucked gender conventions in both her writing and her life; Cook wore male clothing and had a relationship with American actress Charlotte Cushman, to whom she addressed a number of her poems.

In 1849, Cook started a penny-biweekly called Eliza Cook’s Journal, which contained poems, reviews, and social essays written mostly by her for a female audience. She continued the publication until 1854. Plagued by bad health in the last years of her life, Cook published little; she died on September 23, 1889, in Wimbledon, England.

Date Published: 2017-12-07

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