A Winter's Day
Written by a Scotch Clergyman [Robert Riccaltoun].
Now, gloomy soul! look out -- now comes thy turn;
With thee, behold all ravag'd nature mourn.
Hail the dim empire of thy darling night,
That spreads, slow-shadowing, o'er the vanquish'd light.
Look out, with joy; the ruler of the day,
Faint, as thy hopes, emits a glimmering ray:
Already exil'd to the utmost sky,
Hither, oblique, he turn'd his clouded eye.
Lo! from the limits of the wintery pole,
Mountainous clouds, in rude confusion, roll:
In dismal pomp, now, hovering on their way,
To a sick twilight, they reduce the day.
And hark! imprison'd winds, broke loose, arise,
And roar their haughty triumph through the skies.
While the driven clouds, o'ercharg'd with floods of rain,
And mingled lightning, burst upon the plain.
Now see sad Earth -- like thine, her alter'd state,
Like thee, she mourns her sad reverse of Fate!
Her smile, her wanton looks -- where are they now?
Faded her face, and wrapt in clouds her brow!
No more, th' ungrateful verdure of the plain;
No more, the wealth-crown'd labours of the swain;
These scenes of bliss, no more upbraid my fate,
Torture my pining thought, and rouze my hate.
The leaf-clad forest, and the tufted grave,
Erewhile the safe retreats of happy love,
Stript of their honours, naked, now appear;
This is -- my soul! the winter of their year!
The little, noisy songsters of the wing,
All, shivering on the bough, forget to sing.
Hail! reverend Silence! with thy awful brow!
Be Music's voice, for ever mute -- as now:
Let no intrusive joy my dead repose
Disturb: -- no pleasure disconcert my woes.
In this moss-cover'd cavern, hopeless laid,
On the cold cliff, I'll lean my aching head;
And, pleas'd with Winter's waste, unpitying, see
All nature in an agony with me!
Rough, rugged rocks, wet marshes, ruin'd towers,
Bare trees, brown brakes, bleak heaths, and rushy moors,
Dead floods, huge cataracts, to my pleas'd eyes --
(Now I can smile!) -- in wild disorder rise:
And now, the various dreadfulness combin'd,
Black Melancholy comes, to doze my mind.
See! Night's wish'd shades rise, spreading through the air,
And the lone, hollow gloom, for me prepare!
Hail! solitary ruler of the grave!
Parent of terrours! from thy dreary cave!
Let thy dumb silence midnight all the ground,
And spread a welcome horrour wide around. --
But hark! a sudden howl invades my ear!
The phantoms of the dreadful hour are near.
Shadows, from each dark cavern, now combine,
And stalk around, and mix their yells with mine.
Stop, flying Time! repose thy restless wing;
Fix here -- nor hasten to restore the spring:
Fix'd my ill fate, so fix'd let winter be --
Let never wanton season laugh at me!