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Short poem

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

The Snow-Storm

              1Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
              2Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
              3Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
              4Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
              5And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
              6The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
              7Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
              8Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
              9In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

            10Come see the north wind's masonry.
            11Out of an unseen quarry evermore
            12Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
            13Curves his white bastions with projected roof
            14Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
            15Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
            16So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
            17For number or proportion. Mockingly,
            18On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
            19A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
            20Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
            21Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
            22A tapering turret overtops the work.
            23And when his hours are numbered, and the world
            24Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
            25Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
            26To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
            27Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
            28The frolic architecture of the snow.


18] Parian: like marble from the Greek island of Paros.

21] Maugre: in spite of.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Poems< (1846: London: Chapman, 1847). PS 1624 .A1 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1841
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/12/24

Composition date: 1835
Rhyme: unrhyming

Other poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson