The Winter Rainbow



THOU Winter, thou art keen, intensely keen;
Thy cutting frowns experience bids me know,
For in thy weather days and days I’ve been,
As grinning north‑winds horribly did blow,
And pepper’d round my head their hail and snow:
Throughout thy reign ’tis mine each year to prove thee;
And, spite of every storm I've beetled in,
With all thy insults, Winter, I do love thee,
Thou half enchantress, like to pictur’d Sin!
Though many frowns thy sparing smiles deform,
Yet when thy sunbeam shrinketh from its shroud,
And thy bright rainbow gilds the purple storm,
I look entranced on thy painted cloud:
And what wild eye with nature’s beauties charm’d,
That hang enraptur’d o’er each ‘witching spell,
Can see thee, Winter, then, and not be warm’d
To breathe thy praise, and say, “I love thee well!”

John Clare, 1793 – 1864



The Poetry of Things

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