The snow is sparkling in the sun — come, dearest, drive with me,
The horses stamp impatiently, and champ their bits with glee;
My sledge is small — a winter nest — too small, maybe, for two.
You smile, my love? That means 'tis large enough for me and you.
My geldings shake their bells, that gaily jingle through the air;
White grooves our trackers leave behind as o'er the snow they tear.
The driver shouts — our fiery steeds, obedient to his cry,
Through clouds of glitt' ring ice-dust like two angry dragons fly.
On plains, o'er which kind Nature's hand a fleecy sheet has flung,
Tree islands stand out darkly. Hark! the hounds are giving tongue!
Through winter's mantle crocuses their spikes are thrusting now,
And in the woods the squirrel peeps and leaps from bough to bough.
'Tis nightfall. How the watch-dogs bark! The moon begins to rise;
White branches meet above our heads; the stars look twice their size.
Frost-jewels decked the fragile spray you snatched and snapped in twain: —
But the glow upon your cheek has turned the gems to sparkling rain!