Frost at Midnight

Frost at Midnight

The frost performs its secret ministry

Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry

Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before.

The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,

Have left me to that solitude, which suits

Abstruser musings: save that at my side

My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.

'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs

And vexes meditation with its strange

And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,

This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,

With all the numberless goings on of life,

Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame

Lies on my low burnt fire, and quivers not;

Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.

Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,

Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,

Fill up the interspersed vacancies

And momentary pauses of the thought!

My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart

With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,

And think that thou shalt learn far other lore

And far other scenes! For I was reared

In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,

And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.

But thou, my babe! Shalt wander like a breeze

By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags

Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,

Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores

And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear

The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible

Of the eternal language, which thy God

Utters, who from eternity doth teach

Himself in all, and all thinks in himself.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge