The Wintry Night
Around the fire, one wintry night,
The farmer’s rosy children sat,
The faggot lent its cheerful light,
And jokes went round, and harmless chat.
When hark! a gentle hand they hear
Low tapping at the bolted door;
And, thus to gain their willing ear,
A feeble voice was heard implore:
“Cold blows the blast across the moor,
The sleet drives hissing in the wind;
Yon toilsome mountain lies before,
A dreary, treeless waste behind.
“My eyes are weak and dim with age,
No road, no path can I descry;
And these poor rags ill stand the rage
Of such a keen, inclement sky.
“So faint am I, these tottering feet
No more my palsied frame can bear;
My freezing heart forgets to beat,
And drifting snows my tomb prepare.
“Open now your welcome door,
And shield me from the biting blast;
Cold, cold it blows across the moor,
The weary moor that I have passed!”
With hasty steps the farmer ran,
And close before the fire they place
The poor half‑frozen beggar man,
With shaking limbs and pallid face.
The little children flocking came,
And warmed his stiffened hands in theirs;
And busily the kindly dame
A comfortable meal prepares.
Their welcome cheered his drooping soul;
And slowly down his wrinkled cheek,
The big round tear was seen to roll,
That told the thanks he could not speak.
The children, too, began to sigh,
And all their merry chat was o’er;
And yet they felt they knew not why
More glad than they had been before.
The Poetry of Things