The short midwinter days are here,
The nights are frosty now and chill—
The solemn midnight of the year—
The snow lies deep on vale and hill.
No longer runs the streamlet nigh,
The ice has bound its waters fast;
An Arctic wind is sweeping by,
The bare trees shiver in the blast.
How changed the Schuylkill's tide! no more
It sparkles in the noonday light;
The ice extends from shore to shore,
Its strength increasing, day and night.
The skaters o'er its surface fly,
In rhythmic motion, all the day,
While dark clouds sweep across the sky,
Foreboding tempests on the way.
And soon we see the storm begin,
All day the snowflakes scurry past,
All night we hear the tempest's din,
The forests bend beneath the blast.
In whirling clouds the snow is hurled,
Along the hillside, down the glen;
Another day the whole bright world
Is shut by drifts beyond our ken.
But soon the sun resumes his sway,
His noontide beams are warm and bright;
The stubborn ice-bridge yields by day,
Though drear and sombre falls the night.
Alternate thaw and storm and cold,
With snowdrifts deep and changeful sky,
The earth in chill embrace enfold—
And so the month goes slowly by.
Midwinter days and nights so drear,
With storm-clouds sweeping o'er the sky—
The solemn midnight of the year
Soon pass and leave no token nigh.
Bare trees that quake beneath the blast,
Will yet be clothed in leafage bright,
And days so chill—the Winter past—
Be bathed in floods of Spring-time light.