by John Greenleaf Whittier
How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
In graceful counterfeit of flowers,
These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!
A wizard of the Merrimac,
So old ancestral legends say,
Could call green leaf and blossom back
To frosted stem and spray.
The settler saw his oaken flail
Take bud, and bloom before his eyes;
From frozen pools, he saw the pale,
Sweet summer lilies rise.
The beechen platter sprouted wild,
The pipkin wore its old-time green
The cradle o’er the sleeping child
Became a leafy screen.
And, while the dew on leaf and flower
Glistened in moonlight clear and still,
Learned the dusk wizard’s spell of power,
And caught his trick of skill.
The one, with bridal blush of rose,
And sweetest breath of woodland balm,
And one whose matron lips unclose
In smiles of saintly calm.
Fill soft and deep, O winter snow!
The sweet azalea’s oaken dells,
And hide the bank where roses blow,
And swing the azure bells!
Overlay the amber violet’s leaves,
The purple aster’s brookside home,
Guard all the flowers her pencil gives
A life beyond their bloom.
And she, when spring comes round again
By greening slope and singing flood
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain,
Her darlings of the wood.
Whittier was a Quaker. He was a staunch abolitionist and a great lover of nature.