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Let your poets and your painters render, as loyally as they will, their homage to summer-the one by the glow of his language and imagery, the other by the brilliancy of his colours-still I hold it that Winter has his charms as well as his more worshipped season-brothers. True it is, he has but a scant cortege, and small pomp. No zephyrs breathe softly around him — no birds carol hymns at his advent; for him Aowers bloom not, plants bud not; the trees greet him not with the glory of their leaves ; the fields grow not green beneath his footsteps ; nor are the plains purple with the grape, or yelow with the golden grain. The sun looks coldly upon him, and gives him as little of his company as possible ; rising late, and setting early—as we see in the world a gay man of fashion hurry away from a shabby-looking acquaintance. Clouds and rain, storm and cold, sleet and frost-these are the ministrants upon winter ; and yet, with all these, there is something downright honest and lovable about him. Honest fellows have, very often, rough faces and rude manners; and it is a matter of notoriety that mothers very often are fondest of their most wild and ill-favoured children, just because they are such. But be the cause what it may, I love old Winter, “ frosty, but kindly," and I make much of him when he comes — treating him with all sorts of good cheer, warming his old bones with the blazing log, comforting his old heart with the best cheer I can give him ; and finally turning him out of doors, as the spring approaches, so merry and green-hearted, so softened and warmed, that he hardly knows himself. This, I believe, is the true philosophy of life: and I am particularly of this opinion to-night, for I have retired into the very heart of my sanctuary; I have shut to the door, barred the windows, drawn close the curtains, wheeled my easy-chair to the fire, set my table with the lamp on it beside me, placed my feet on the fender, and given myself up to thinking all sorts of pleasant things. Ay, there goes the wind howling outside, and the rain plashing in sheets against the window-panes! Isn't that enough to make any man feel pleasant, who has a roof over his head, and a fire under his nose? Let Mark Tapley go out into the “long, unlovely street,” to be jolly if he will: I shall be cheery within. There is no season or hour so favourable to the development of fancy and the enjoyment of contemplation, as a winter's night. Spring, and summer, and autumn draw the soul, as it were, out of ber mansion, and send her gadding about amid the fascinations of the external world ; but winter makes her stay at home, and turn her thoughts upon herself, and regulate the inner life. Come, let me look through my chamber, and feel all the snugness around me. There is a long, massive shadow of a man - a shadow that poor Peter Schlemihl would have given his soul to have projected – the legs stretching along the carpet, and the body dislocated against the skirting, and


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then reared upon the wall; the arm looks lusty enough to fell an elephant, and the head might put a giant to shame. The light is glinting playfully upon the folds of the thick curtains, and the legs of chairs and tables straggle about in fanciful distortion. And now the ruddy firelight throws out its blaze fitfully, making its own rival-shadows, only they are less stable than those of the lampdeepening and lightening, tlutterivg and flickering, coming and going, like witches and goblins in a dance upon Walpurgis night. A fire upon a winter's night is a microcosm. If you have any spiritual vision, you may see the whole world in it. Mighty mountain ranges, deep gorges, broad plains, interminable seas, and cities with their multiform buildings, tall spires, cupolas, pagodas; every sort of architecture, Greek, Roman, Gothic, Saracenic, Byzantine, Arabesque. And there, too, humanity in all its phases has its type ; so that you may moralise to your heart's content, and become a profound anthroposopher just by gazing between the bars of the grate. There you have the first effort of infant life, the little scintilla gleaming out of the blackness; perbaps you see it no more-gone in one little puff - or it may be that it gushes out in a strong bituminous jet, blazing up with a whizzing sound. Ah! that is boyhood - bright, joyous, vigorous ; flinging itself, heart and soul, into everything; living in and for the moment, and fed from the very fountain-head of animal life. But the flame by degrees grows steadier, quieter, and more tempered, as the supply of gas begins to fail, just like the boy when the exuberance of vital spirits is worked off. And then we have the flame broad and clear – the ardour of youth ; and this again subsides, and the flame itself goes out, leaving the red glow of the ignited mass — the steady, persevering, hopeful energy of manhood. This lasts long, provided you do not stir it with the poker, and derange its organisation; and so too will the man, if he gets fair play from within and from without; but they will not last always, for they are both of the earth, earthy.” The glow fades; first a little, as a greyish shadow steals across its brightness then it rallies for a moment, but the shade comes across it again and again, recurring at shorter and shorter intervals, till at last it loses all its ruddiness and its warmth, and the dim grey, ashy hue overspreads it, never, never again to disappear. Ah! 'tis so with man; disease assails him from without, the native infirmities of his mortal structure sap him from within-he baffles them for a while, he rallies, he sinks; bis eye loses its brightness, his cheek its bloom, his step its elasticity, and the shadow of the grave for the first time casts a gloom over him. Look now at yon mass, how it grows darker and darker-there is no heat in it; see how it shrinks together, and at last, with

a faint, feeble crash, falls to pieces, down into the pit beneath-dust and ashes! Just like man; the blood grows cold and colder, the form shrivels, the eye dims, and at last the shadow of death draws nearer and looms heavily over him; then the light goes out, and he sinks into the gravepit, dust and ashes too. Well, but it may be that the fire and the man, the spark material and divine, have each in their hour done their allotted work. Has not the blaze brightened everything around it?- has not the strong glow warmed the chilled limbs, cheered ihe heavy heart ?—nay, may it not have vapourised the water, and liberated therefrom the mighty steam-spirit, and sent him forth to pant and toil in his beneficent labours throughout the earth? And may not man, too, have fulfilled his mission wrought his work in youth and in age? may he not have made many an eye bright, many a cold, sad heart glad and warm-done works of goodness, of greatness-elevating man, pushing him forward and upwards by his invention or his industry? Assuredly, he may have done all this, and if so he has not lived in vain, nor shall his memory perish from amongst his kind. No; as the HEARTH is amongst all nations the symbol of the dearest and most sacred of human affections, so shall the grave wherein the ashes of the great and the good man repose be ever honoured in the hearts, and kept green by the love of his kind.

Well, well! we have rambled far away from the point at which we started, following the guidance of our own pleasant fancies. Let us come back to “winter and cold weather.” It is meet, dear friends, that you should have some fancies for your firesides, as we have for our own. Shall we not give you song and lay for your evening cheer? Ay, marry shall we; and so let us look through our red-leather case, and take somewhat from its stores to sing to you. Here is a song from an old acquaintance, and just in season too :


Dreary old Winter! weary old Winter !

Snow-blanchèd carl, all dripping and chill;
Ice chains have bound thee, winds whistle round thee,

Heavily, gloomily plodding on still.
Yet when we meet thee, kindly we greet thee,

Sit by the hearth-blaze and melt all thy snow;
With wassail and gladness we'll charm all thy sadness,
Make thy eye brighten, thy icy blood glow.

Dreary old Winter, weary old Winter,

We'll make thy eye brighter, thy icy blood glow.
Cheery old Winter! merry old Winter !

Laugh while with yule-wreath thy temples are bound;
Drain the spiced bowl now, cheer thy old soul now,

“Christmas waes hael!” pledge the holy toast round.
Broach butt and barrel; with dance and with carol

Crown we old Winter, of revels the king;
And when he's weary of living so merry,
He'll lie down and die on the green lap of spring.

Cheery old Winter! merry old Winter !

He'll lie down and die on the green lap of spring. Well, how do you like that, “masters mine and ladies fair?" Form your own judgments about it, for help of ours ye shall not have in the matter. We have made up our minds to say nothing about Slingsby, good or bad. He has got quite beyond our control, so we deliver him up to the public to use him as shall seem good in their sight. Bless us! here he comes again :



“ Did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night I"-Milton,
One winter night dreary,

Dejected and weary,
I kept my lone vigil of sorrow and care ;


My heart full to breaking
My soul seeking comfort, and finding despair !

All wildly and chilly

The wind whistled shrilly,
Drifting the clouds o'er the desolate sky;

Low moaned the ocean

In ceaseless commotion,
Dashing the spray of its billows on high !

Tearfully gleaming,

The young moon was beaming,
Struggling by fits through each gathering cloud;

Faint light now shedding,

Dark shades now spreading,
Over the moonshine their vapoury shroud !

“Ah! thus," thought I, sighing,

“ Froin birth to our dying,
Man's course is a struggle through trial and gloom ;

Joy gives scarce a promise

That Grief rends not from us,
O'er the light of our life looms the shade of the tomb!"

But soon, to my wonder,

The cloud burst asunder,
And down through the fissure now streamed the moon's light;

Soft fell its splendour,

So holy and tender,
In showers of sheen on the face of the night!

While all the cloud's margent

Was gleaming like argent,
Though earthward still sullen and dark was its shroud,

I knew that towards heaven

Its brightness was given-
A lining of silver spread over the cloud I

Then my soul rose in gladness,

And shook off its sadness,
I felt God can turn all our darkness to light-

To-day what is sorrow

Make joy on the morrow-
Dry tears that are hiding his smiles from our sight!

I looked up, confessing

That Trial is Blessing,
To Him if each grief be spread out and avowed;

What from earth Man sees glooming,

God above is illuming

“There's a lining of silver to every cloud !” There's a very good moral in that song of thine, Jonathan. One can always, somehow, take comfort who looks up at the heavens. But take care that you are something more than sentimental upon paper and amiable in ink, not like some cold blooded fellows who wax loving in their cups. The man who has learned to look at the bright side of things, and better still, to look beyond the things themselves, has learned a lore more precious than pearls. Come, let us see what is next at hand. Another winter piece :

The trees, the trees are black and bare,

And sorely shrunken from their prime,
The skeletons of what they were

In the rustling summer-time.

Drearily wave the barren boughs,

Drearily shiver the twigs forlorn,
Underneath the leaden brows

Of a

a weary sky all winter-worn.

Ah! the days bave cheerless seeming,

Ah, the clouds are cold and gray ;
Lone I wander dully dreaming,

Deeming thee a loiterer, May,

Yet be thou welcome, gusty time,

For all the darkness of thy days ;
I will forvive thee every crime,

With holly crown thee and with bays.
For thy dark days have glowing nights,

And thy bleak blasts are barrèd out,
And bright within are fires and lights,

And storms at sea are talked about.

and now

With voices low and thoughtful eyes,

That turn them to the fire alway,
As there they beard the sailors' cries--

In embers saw the fleering spray.
A swooping blast, the lulls between,

Comes booming louder then ;
Our hearts are gladdened, and their sheen

Comes brightly out on every brow.
Up flares the flickering fire-flame then,

Merrily dancing to the wind,
And blood-red glows the wine of Spain,

And kindly eyes grow doubly kind.
When clouds go farther up the sky,

For thee I will have welcome Spring;
Yet hear me, Winter, ere ye die,
To thee warm-bosomed pæans sing.

CALEDONIAN. There is nothing pleasanter of a winter's night than thus to crowd around the fireside when the wind is blowing cold and gustily against door and windowframe, and to think of those who are journeying shelterless upon the bleak roads, or tossing on the stormy seas; and if there be a ghost-story, or a tragical tale, or a song of some luckless true lovers, all the better. These old-world fancies are not yet all passed away, and we hope never shall. So here, then, is a pleasant rhyme of two lovers, just fit for a winter's evening :

In the gloomy mountain's lap

Lies the village dark and quiet ;
All have passed their labour-nap;

And the peasant, half-awaking,

A blind, yawning stretch is taking,
Ere he turns to rest again;

There is not a sound of riot,
Not a sound save that of pain,

Where some aged bones are aching ;
Lo! the moon is in the wane-

Even the moon a drowse is taking.
By the blossomed sycamore,

Filled with bees when day is o'er it,
Stands the Forge, with smoky door :

Idle chimney, blackened shed

All its merry din is dead ;
Broken shaft and wheel disused

Strew the umbered ground before it,
And the streamlet's voice is fused

Faintly with the cricket's chirrup,
As it tinkles clear and small
Round the glooming hearth and wall,

Hung with rusty shoe and stirrup.
Yes, the moon is in the wane :

Hark! the sound of horses tramping
Down the road with might and main ;

Through the slaty runnels crumbling,

Comes a carriage swinging, rumbling;
Round the steep quick corner turning,

Plunge the horses, puffd and champing:

Like the eyes of weary ghosts,
The red lamps are dimly burning.

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