Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
351. The First Snow-Fall
 
By James Russell Lowell
 
 
THE SNOW had begun in the gloaming,
  And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
  With a silence deep and white.
 
Every pine and fir and hemlock        5
  Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
  Was ridged inch deep with pearl.
 
From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
  Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,        10
The stiff rails softened to swan’s-down,
  And still fluttered down the snow.
 
I stood and watched by the window
  The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,        15
  Like brown leaves whirling by.
 
I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
  Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
  As did robins the babes in the wood.        20
 
Up spoke our own little Mabel,
  Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
  Who cares for us here below.
 
Again I looked at the snow-fall,        25
  And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
  When that mound was heaped so high.
 
I remembered the gradual patience
  That fell from that cloud like snow,        30
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
  The scar that renewed our woe.
 
And again to the child I whispered,
  “The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father        35
  Alone can make it fall!”
 
Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
  And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
  Folded close under deepening snow.        40
 

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