The Beautiful Snow
Oh! the snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and the earth below!
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of the people you meet:
Beautiful snow! it can do nothing wrong.
Flying to kiss a fair lady’s cheek,
Clinging to lips in a frolicsome freak,
Beautiful snow from the heavens above,
Pure as an angel, gentle as love!
Oh! the snow, the beautiful snow!
How the flakes gather and laugh as they go
Whirling about in their maddening fun!
It plays to its glee with everyone.
It lights on the face and it sparkles the eye,
And even the dogs, with a bark and a bound,
Snap at the crystals that eddy around.
The town is alive and its heart in a glow,
To welcome the coming of beautiful snow!
How the wild crowd goes swaying along!
Hailing each other with humor and song!
How the gay sledges, like meteors, flash by,
Bright for a moment, then lost to the eye;
Dashing they go –
Over the crust of the beautiful snow –
Snow so pure when it falls from the sky,
To be trampled in mud by the crowd rushing by,
To be trampled and tracked by the thousands of feet,
Till it blends with the horrible filth in the street.
Once I was pure as the snow – but I fell!
Fell, like the snowflakes, from heaven – to hell;
Fell, to be trampled as the filth of the street;
Fell, to be scoffed, to be spit on and beat;
Dreading to die,
Selling my soul to whoever would buy,
Dealing in shame for a morsel of bread,
Hating the living and fearing the dead.
Merciful God! have I fallen so low?
And yet I was once like this beautiful snow!
Once I was fair as the beautiful snow,
With an eye like its crystals, a heart like its glow;
Once I was loved for my innocent grace,
Flattered and sought for the charms of my face!
God and myself, I have lost by my fall.
The veriest wretch that goes shivering by
Will take a wide sweep lest I wander too nigh;
For all that is on or about me, I know,
There is nothing that’s pure but the beautiful snow.
How strange it should be that this beautiful snow
Should fall on a sinner with nowhere to go!
How strange it would be, when the night comes again,
If the snow and the ice struck my desperate brain!
Too wicked for prayer, too weak for my moan
To be heard in the streets of the crazy town,
Gone mad in the joy of the snow coming down;
To lie and to die in my terrible woe,
With a bed and a shroud of the beautiful snow.
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