« PreviousContinue »
THE mill-wheel 's frozen in the stream,
There goes the squire to shoot at snipe,
You'd swear his breath was the smoke of a pipe,
In the frosty morning fog.
Hodge is breaking the ice for the kine,
Old and young cough as they go,
The round red sun forgets to shine,
And hark, how the cold winds blow!
In short, winter is come at last-a mighty evil to the shivering hypochondriacs, who are glad to catch at any excuse to be miserable; but a visitation which, by
those who are in no actual danger of dining with Duke Humphrey, or of being driven, from lack of raiment, to join in the exclamation of poor Tom, may very appropriately be hailed in the language of Satan," Evil, be thou my good!" The Spaniards have a proverb, that God sends the cold according to the clothes; and though the callousness and hardihood acquired by the ragged be the effect of exposure, and not an exemption from the general susceptibility, the adage is not the less true, and illustrates that beneficent provision of Nature, which, operating in various ways, compensates the poor for their apparent privations, converts the abused luxuries of the rich into severe correctives, and thus pretty nearly equalizes, through the various classes of mortals, the individual portions of suffering and enjoyment. In the distribution of the seasons, care seems to have been taken that mankind should have the full benefit of this system of equivalents. To an admirer of Nature, it is certainly melancholy to be no longer able to see the lusty green boughs wrestling with the wind, or dancing in the air to the sound of their own music; to lose the song of the lark, the nightingale, the blackbird, and the thrush; the sight of the waving corn, the green and flowery fields, the rich landscape, the blue and sunny skies. It appears a woeful contrast, when the glorious sun and the azure face of heaven are perpetually hidden from us by a thick veil of fog;, when the poached and swampy fields are silent and desolate, and seem, with a scowl, to warn us off their premises; when the leafless trees stand like gaunt skeletons,