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Tangles his wings of fire in the trees,

Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.

I mind me how with a lover's care

From my Sunday coat

I brushed off the burs, and smoothed my hair,

And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat.

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As zigzag wavering to and fro
Crossed and recrossed the winged snow:
And ere the early bedtime came

The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts..

So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature's geometric signs,

In starry flake, and pellicle,
All day the hoary meteor fell;

And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below,-
A universe of sky and snow!

The old familiar sights of ours

Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers

Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,

Or garden wall, or belt of wood;

A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,

A fenceless drift what once was road;

The bridle-post an old man sat

With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;

The well-curb had a Chinese roof;

And even the long sweep, high aloof,

In its slant splendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa's leaning miracle.

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The cat's dark silhouette on the wall
A couchant tiger's seemed to fall;
And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons' straddling feet,
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,

And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October's wood.

What matter how the night behaved?
What matter how the north-wind raved ?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow.
O Time and Change!-with hair as gray
As was my sire's that winter day,
How strange it seems, with so much gone
Of life and love, to still live on!
Ah, brother! only I and thou
Are left of all that circle now,
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.
Henceforward, listen as we will,
The voices of that hearth are still;
Look where we may, the wide earth o'er,
Those lighted faces smile no more.
We tread the paths their feet have worn,
We sit beneath their orchard-trees,
We hear, like them, the hum of bees
And rustle of the bladed corn;
We turn the pages that they read,

Their written words we linger o'er,
But in the sun they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,

No step is on the conscious floor!

Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust,
(Since He who knows our need is just,)
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
Alas for him who never sees

The stars shine through his cypress-trees!
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
Nor looks to see the breaking day
Across the mournful marbles play!
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown,

That Life is ever lord of Death,

And Love can never lose its own!

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