When falls the snow on gray and silent days
How much they lose who do not seek the wood,
Where, thro’ the hush that wraps the woodland ways,
The storm has reached that wintry solitude!
Then come with me by some forgotten path,
Where late the Autumn sunlight wandered through,
And all the biting frost of Winter hath
But lately quenched the gentian’s heavenly blue.
The oaks alone their richer leafage hold,
That clinging raiment falls with Spring at last;
And still we catch in every rustling fold
The faded purple of the glowing past.
Above the snow such dainty things appear,
You wonder that the north wind left them there;
The latest treasures of the dying year,
they hold their own when all the woods are bare.
The feathery outlines of the goldenrod
Bring to your mind its fullest Autumn glow, -
And still, thro’ all the darkness of the wood,
Is blown the filmy veil of drifting snow.
The pine-tree stands in somber silence now,
Forgetful of the life that stirred its veins
When liquid notes fell from the topmost bough,
And thrilled the air made soft by April rains!
The fair young wheat that started with the May
Is safely harvested in golden sheaves,
And with the rustling Autumn passed way
The sudden glory of her changing leaves.
‘Tis thus the secret of the early Spring,
When first the winds of hope and promise blow,
The fruitage of her tenderest blossoming,
Is told-fulfiled-with Winter’s drifted snow.