All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/Songs under the Ice

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SONGS UNDER THE ICE.


ONCE the shining King of the winter frost

From the North came down, and the valley crossed,

 Stealthily creeping;

And he laughed with pride as he came to see
How the wildwood rose and the great oak tree
 Alike were sleeping.

Over empty nests in the maples hung,
Where the summer birds their songs had sung,
 Noisy and jolly;
Over stubble-fields, where the plover's call
Had piped, in tune with the waterfall,
 Notes melancholy.

Then the fir tree buttoned its dark-green coat,
With the brown cones, close to its dusky throat,
 Grim and dreary;
While the sober pine, as the sunshine paled,
To the patient side of the mountain wailed
 Its Miserere.


So the King was proud, till he came to look
At the saucy face of a laughing brook,
 Shining so merry,
Gay, as when the leaves through the summer days
Drifted to and fro, bearing errant fays
 Across their ferry.

Then he frowned and stormedj as he bid her stay;
But she louder sang, as she kept her way,
 Merry and sparkling,
Singing bars of sunshine and rests of shade,
Of the Northern brave nor the spear afraid,
 Shining and darkling.

He worked all the night by the starry gleams;
He laid a raft, made of crystal beams,
 Over rift and eddy;
And he planked it over with drifts of snow,
And he nailed it fast to the weeds below,
 Staunch and steady.

But the rebel brook sang the same old tune,
And blinked, through a flaw in the midst, at the
 moon,
 Slyly once or twice:
"You may chain me under and keep me fast,
But you ll hear a song as I hurry past
 Underneath the ice."

There are hidden lives in this world unseen;
You may never see through their polished sheen,
 Nor their fetters know;

But the soul chants on what it needs must say,
In its rhythm rude, in its freeborn way,
 Underneath the snow.