Written in Germany on one of the coldest days of the century


Written in GERMANY,

On one of the coldest days of the Century.

A fig for your languages, German and Norse!
Let me have the song of the Kettle;
And the tongs and the poker, instead of that Horse
That gallops away with such fury and force
On this dreary dull plate of black metal.5
Our earth is no doubt made of excellent stuff;
But her pulses beat slower and slower:
The weather in Forty was cutting and rough,
And then, as Heaven knows, the Glass stood low enough;
And now it is four degrees lower.10
Here’s a Fly, a disconsolate creature, perhaps
A child of the field, or the grove;
And, sorrow for him! this dull treacherous heat
Has seduc’d the poor fool from his winter retreat,
And he creeps to the edge of my stove.15
Alas! how he fumbles about the domains
Which this comfortless oven environ;
He cannot find out in what track he must crawl,
Now back to the tiles, and now back to the wall,
And now on the brink of the iron.20
Stock-still there he stands like a traveller bemaz’d;
The best of his skill he has tried;
His feelers methinks I can see him put forth
To the East and the West, and the South and the North;
But he finds neither Guide-post nor Guide.25
See! his spindles sink under him, foot, leg and thigh;
His eyesight and hearing are lost;
Between life and death his blood freezes and thaws;
And his two pretty pinions of blue dusky gauze
Are glued to his sides by the frost.30
No Brother, no Friend has he near him—while I
Can draw warmth from the cheek of my Love;
As blest and as glad in this desolate gloom,
As if green summer grass were the floor of my room,
And woodbines were hanging above.35
Yet, God is my witness, thou small helpless Thing!
Thy life I would gladly sustain
Till summer comes up from the South, and with crowds
Of thy brethren a march thou should’st sound through the clouds,
And back to the forests again, (sic) 40