"It Snows" by Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

“It snows!” cries the School-boy—“hurrah!” and his shout
Is ringing through parlor and hall,
While swift, as the wing of a swallow, he’s out
And his playmates have answered his call:
It makes the heart leap but to witness their joy,—
Proud wealth has no pleasures, I trow,
Like the rapture that throbs in the pulse of the boy,
As he gathers his treasures of snow;
Then lay not the trappings of gold on thine heirs,
While health, and the riches of Nature, are theirs.

“It snows!” sighs the Imbecile—“Ah!” and his breath
Comes heavy, as clogged with a weight;
While from the pale aspect of Nature in death,
He turns to the blaze of his grate:
And nearer, and nearer, his soft-cushioned chair
Is wheeled toward the life-giving flame—
He dreads a chill puff of the snow-burdened air,
Lest it wither his delicate frame:
Oh! small is the pleasure existence can give,
When the fear we shall die only proves that we live!

“It snows!” cries the Traveller—“Ho!” and the word
Has quickened his steed’s lagging pace;
The wind rushes by, but its howl is unheard—
Unfelt the sharp drift in his face;
For bright through the tempest his own home appeared—
Ay, though leagues intervened, he can see;
There’s the clear, glowing hearth, and the table prepared,
And his wife with their babes at her knee.
Blest thought! how it lightens the grief-laden hour,
That those we love dearest are safe from its power.

“It snows!” cries the Belle—“Dear, how lucky!” and turns
From her mirror to watch the flakes fall;
Like the first rose of summer, her dimpled cheek burns
While musing on sleigh-ride and ball:
There are visions of conquest, of splendor, and mirth,
Floating over each drear winter’s day;
But the tintings of Hope, on this storm-beaten earth,
Will melt, like the snow-flakes, away;
Turn, turn thee to Heaven, fair maiden, for bliss,
That world has a fountain ne’er opened in this.

“It snows!” cries the Widow—“Oh God!” and her sighs
Have stifled the voice of her prayer;
Its burden ye’ll read in her tear-swollen eyes,
On her cheek, sunk with fasting and care.
’Tis night—and her fatherless ask her for bread—
But “He gives the young ravens their food,”
And she trusts, till her dark hearth adds horror to dread,
And she lays on her last chip of wood.
Poor sufferer! that sorrow thy God only knows—
’Tis a pitiful lot to be poor, when it snows!

Woman’s Record (1852) | Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788–1879)

  • This poem illustrates the ways different people in different circumstances can view the same event. It can give us a greater appreciation for the thoughts, hopes, and needs of others.
  • Read and copy James 1:27.
  • Read “Snow-bound” by Whittier for a very different take.
  • Think of ways you can help support someone in need this Christmas season. Discuss your idea with someone else and find a way to make it happen!

Additional Resources

“The Snow-Storm” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Another poetry study.

Online Poetry Anthology
Online Poetry Anthology

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