Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Appendix I. Early and Uncollected Verses
The Spirit of the North
 
SPIRIT of the frozen North,
  Where the wave is chained and still,
And the savage bear looks forth
  Nightly from his caverned hill!
Down from thy eternal throne,        5
  From thy land of cloud and storm,
Where the meeting icebergs groan,
  Sweepeth on thy wrathful form.
 
Spirit of the frozen wing!
  Dweller of a voiceless clime,        10
Where no coming on of spring,
  Gilds the weary course of time!
Monarch of a realm untrod,
  By the restless feet of men,
Where alone the hand of God,        15
  ’Mid his mighty works hath been!
 
Throned amid the ancient hills,
  Piled with undecaying snow,
Flashing with the path of rills,
  Frozen in their first glad flow;        20
Thou hast seen the gloomy north,
  Gleaming with unearthly light,
Spreading its pale banners forth,
  Checkered with the stars of night.
 
Thou hast gazed untrembling, where        25
  Giant forms of flame were driven,
Like the spirits of the air,
  Striding up the vault of heaven!
Thou hast seen that midnight glow,
  Hiding moon and star and sky,        30
And the icy hills below,
  Reddening to the fearful dye.
 
Dark and desolate and lone,
  Curtained with the tempest-cloud,
Drawn around thy ancient throne        35
  Like oblivion’s moveless shroud,
Dim and distantly the sun
  Glances on thy palace walls,
But a shadow cold and dun
  Broods along its pillared halls.        40
 
Lord of sunless depths and cold!
  Chainer of the northern sea!
At whose feet the storm is rolled,
  Who hath power to humble thee?
Spirit of the stormy north!        45
  Bow thee to thy Maker’s nod;
Bend to him who sent thee forth,
  Servant of the living God.

  1st month, 1829.
 
 
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