"Now, if I fall, will it be my lot
To be cast in some lone, and lowly spot,
To melt, and to sink, unseen, or forgot?
And there will my course be ended?"
'T was this a feathery Snow-Flake said,
As down through measureless space it strayed,
Or, as half by dalliance, half afraid,
It seemed in mid air suspended.
"Oh! no," said the Earth, "thou shalt not lie
Neglected and lone on my lap to die,
Thou pure and delicate child of the sky!
For, thou wilt be safe in my keeping.
But then, I must give thee a lovelier form—
Thou wilt not be part of the wintry storm,
But revive,when the sunbeams are yellow and warm,
And the flowers from my bosom are peeping!
"And then thou shalt have thy choice, to be
Restored in the lily that decks the lea,
In the jessamine-bloom, the anemone;
Or aught of thy spotless whiteness:—
To melt, and be cast in a glittering bead,
With the pearls, that the night scatters over the mead,
In the cup where the bee and the fire-fly feed,
Regaining thy dazzling brightness.
"I'll let thee awake from thy transient sleep,
When Viola's mild blue eye shall weep,
In a tremulous tear; or, a diamond, leap
In a drop from the unlocked fountain:
Or, leaving the valley, the meadow and heath,
The streamlet, the flowers and all beneath,
Go up and be wove in the silvery wreath
Encircling the brow of the mountain.
"Or wouldst thou return to a home in the skies!
To shine in the Iris I'll let thee arise,
And appear in the many and glorious dyes
A pencil of sunbeams is blending!
But true, fair thing, as my name is Earth,
I'll give thee a new and vernal birth,
When thou shalt recover thy primal worth,
And never regret descending!"
"Then I will drop," said the trusting Flake;
"But, bear it in mind, that the choice I make
Is not in the flowers, nor the dew to wake;
Nor the mist, that shall pass with the morning.
For, things of thyself, they will die with thee;
But those that are lent from on high, like me,
They rise and will live, from thy dust set free,
To the regions above returning.
"And, if true to thy word, and just thou art,
Like the spirit that dwells in the holiest heart,
Unsullied by thee, thou wilt let me depart
And return to my native heaven.
For, I would be placed in the beautiful Bow,
From time to time, in thy sight to glow,
So thou may'st remember the Flake of Snow,
By the promise that God hath given!"