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  Under The Snow  

 

    Over the mountains, under the snow
Lieth a valley cold and low,
'Neath a white, immovable pall,
Desolate, dreary, soulless all,
And soundless, save when the wintry blast
Sweeps with funeral music past.

    Yet was that valley not always so,
For I trod its summer-paths long ago;
And I gathered flowers of fairest dyes
Where now the snow-drift heaviest lies;
And I drank from rills that, with murmurous song,
Wandered in golden light along
Through bowers, whose ever-fragrant air
Was heavy with perfume of flowrets fair,--
Through cool, green meadows where, all day long,
The wild bee droned his voluptuous song;
While over all shone the eye of Love
In the violet-tinted heavens above.

    And through that valley ran veins of gold,
And the rivers o'er beds of amber rolled;--
There were pearls in the white sands thickly sown,
And rocks that diamond-crusted shone;--
All richest fruitage, all rarest flowers,
All sweetest music of summer-bowers,
All sounds the softest, all sights most fair,
Made Earth a paradise everywhere.

    Over the mountains, under the snow
Lieth that valley cold and low;
There came no slowly-consuming blight,
But the snow swept silently down at night,
And when the morning looked forth again,
The seal of silence was on the plain;
And fount and forest, and bower and stream,
Were shrouded all from his pallid beam.

    And there, deep-hidden under the snow,
Is buried the wealth of the long-ago--
Pearls and diamonds, veins of gold,
Priceless treasures of worth untold,
Harps of wonderful sweetness stilled
While yet the air was with music filled,--
Hands that stirred the resounding string
To melodies such as the angels sing,--
Faces radiant with smile and tear
That bent enraptured the strains to hear,--
And high, calm foreheads, and earnest eyes
That came and went beneath sunset skies.

    There they are lying under the snow,
And the winds moan over them sad and low.
Pale, still faces that smile no more,
Calm, dosed eyelids whose light is o'er,
Silent lips that will never again,
Move to music's entrancing strain,
White hands folded o'er marble breasts,
Each under the mantling snow-drift rests;
And the wind their requiem sounds o'er and o'er,
In the oft-repeated "no more--no more"

    "No more--no more!" I shall ever hear
That funeral dirge in its meanings drear,
But I may not linger with faltering tread
Anear my treasures--anear my dead.
On, through many a thorny maze,
Up slippery rocks, and through tangled ways,
Lieth my cloud-mantled path, afar
From that buried vale where my treasures are.

    But there bursts a light through the heavy gloom,
From the sun-bright towers of my distant home;
And fainter the wail of the sad "no more"
Is heard as slowly I near that shore;
And sweet home-voices come soft and low,
Half drowning that requiem's dirge-like flow.

    I know it is Sorrow's baptism stern
That hath given me thus for my home to yearn,--
That has quickened my ear to the tender call
That down from the jasper heights doth fall,--
And lifted my soul from the songs of Earth
To music of higher and holier birth,
Turning the tide of a yearning love
To the beautiful things that are found above;--
And I bless my Father, through blinding tears,
For the chastening love of departed years,--
For hiding my idols so low--so low--
Over the mountains, under the snow.

       - Mrs. J. C. Yule


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