Winter Song

WINTER SONG

1
Dear Boy, throw that Icicle down,
And sweep this deep Snow from the door:
Old Winter comes on with a frown;
A terrible frown for the poor.
In a Season so rude and forlorn,5
How can age, how can infancy bear
The silent neglect and the scorn
Of those who have plenty to spare?
2
Fresh broach’d is my Cask of old Ale,
Well-tim’d now the frost is set in;10
Here’s Job come to tell us a tale,
We’ll make him at home to a pin. [1] 
While my Wife and I bask o’er the fire,
The roll of the Seasons will prove,
That Time may diminish desire,15
But cannot extinguish true love.
3
O the pleasures of neighbourly chat,
If you can but keep scandal away,
To learn what the world has been at,
And what the great Orators say;20
Though the Wind through the crevices sing,
And Hail down the chimney rebound;
I’m happier than many a king
While the Bellows blow Bass to the sound.
4
Abundance was never my lot:25
But out of the trifle that’s given,
That no curse may alight on my Cot,
I’ll distribute the bounty of Heav’n;
The fool and the slave gather wealth:
But if I add nought to my store,30
Yet while I keep conscience in health,
I’ve a Mine that will never grow poor. [2] 

Notes

[1] [‘In or to a merry pin; almost drunk: an allusion to a sort of tankard, formerly used in the north, having silver pegs or pins set at equal distances from the top to the bottom: by the rules of good fellowship, every person drinking out of one of these tankards was to swallow the quantity contained between two pins; if he drank more or less, he was to continue drinking till he ended at a pin: by this means persons unaccustomed to measure their draughts were obliged to drink the whole tankard. Hence when a person was a little elevated with liquor, he was said to have drunk to a merry pin.’ Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, (1811). Thanks to Hugh Underhill for this reference. See also OED, ‘pin,’ sb. 1, 15.] BACK

[2] [1st edn, 1st state adds note:] This song pleases by natural and virtuous sentiment, and all the free animation of a good heart: though in diction it might have been a little more select, without injuring simplicity. C. L. Oct. 8th, 1801.] omitted in 1st edn, 2nd state and later edns BACK

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