Charles Kingsley

(12 June 1819 – 23 January 1875 / Devon, England)

Ode to the Northeast Wind


Welcome, wild Northeaster!
Shame it is to see
Odes to every zephyr;
Ne'er a verse to thee.
Welcome, black Northeaster!
O'er the German foam;
O'er the Danish moorlands,
From thy frozen home.
Tired are we of summer,
Tired of gaudy glare,
Showers soft and steaming,
Hot and breathless air.
Tired of listless dreaming,
Through the lazy day--
Jovial wind of winter
Turn us out to play!
Sweep the golden reed-beds;
Crisp the lazy dike;
Hunger into madness
Every plunging pike.
Fill the lake with wild fowl;
Fill the marsh with snipe;
While on dreary moorlands
Lonely curlew pipe.
Through the black fir-forest
Thunder harsh and dry,
Shattering down the snowflakes
Off the curdled sky.
Hark! The brave Northeaster!
Breast-high lies the scent,
On by holt and headland,
Over heath and bent.
Chime, ye dappled darlings,
Through the sleet and snow.
Who can override you?
Let the horses go!
Chime, ye dappled darlings,
Down the roaring blast;
You shall see a fox die
Ere an hour be past.
Go! and rest tomorrow,
Hunting in your dreams,
While our skates are ringing
O'er the frozen streams.
Let the luscious Southwind
Breathe in lovers' sighs,
While the lazy gallants
Bask in ladies' eyes.
What does he but soften
Heart alike and pen?
'Tis the hard gray weather
Breeds hard English men.
What's the soft Southwester?
'Tis the ladies' breeze,
Bringing home their trueloves
Out of all the seas.
But the black Northeaster,
Through the snowstorm hurled,
Drives our English hearts of oak
Seaward round the world.
Come, as came our fathers,
Heralded by thee,
Conquering from the eastward,
Lords by land and sea.
Come; and strong, within us
Stir the Vikings' blood;
Bracing brain and sinew;
Blow, thou wind of God!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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