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Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl

John Greenleaf Whittier

Book Overview: 

A 750-line idyllic poem about a snow-storm from the narrator’s childhood.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet

Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit

Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed

In a tumultuous privacy of storm.”



HE sun that brief December day

Rose cheerless over hills of gray,

And, darkly circled, gave at noon

A sadder light than waning moon.

Slow tracing down the thickening sky

Its mute and ominous prophecy,

A portent seeming less than threat,

It sank from sight before it set.


A chill no coat, however stout,

Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,

A hard, dull bitterness of cold,

That checked, mid-vein, the circling race

Of life-blood in the sharpened face,

The coming of the snow-storm told.

The w. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I’m sure I could have rated this better but it is just not the kind of poetry I’m into. However he is from my town, it’s a printing from a no longer running press in my town, and my library is pushing poetry this month.

2015: I read this almost every year, on the wintriest day. Miss you, Dad.

2009: My dad's favorite poem--and a perfect day to reread it!

This is a very good poem.
Whittier plays with the concept of an idyll throughout, making sure not only to present us with a beautified, perhaps untenable world, but with reflections on death that all but himself and his brother faced (as in: all but them died), far after the snow had melted.
The ope

This was a long poem, originally published as a small book. I first attempted to read it via audio, but soon found that it was going too quickly. This poem is about a family in post-Civil War Massachusetts reminiscing around a fireplace after a significant snowstorm. It has a nice, cozy feel about i

A mature, reflective piece that I was ready and in the right frame of mind for. Worked well for me.

At one time this little book containing Whittier's long poem about a family stuck inside due to a storm was read as inspiration of hope. The Civil War had divided us as a country, there was national mourning for the dead, and racial tensions were at an all time high. The poem invokes simple times wi

Being snow-bound for three days, in the midst of a New England blizzard, does not sound like too bad a fate in this 1866 poem by poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Written originally as a sort of family gift, to help members of the Whittier family remember loved ones who had passed away, Snow-Bound: A Wi

3.5 stars.

Beautifully atmospheric verses about the snow storm, other verses just an eesh trite, but it's definitely full of koselig/hygge!

It's really somewhere between a 3 and a 4. My favorites are Snowbound and Maud Muller as well as the ending of In School-Days. My edition is about pocket, lovely cover and equally lovely illustrations. It was a random happy find.

As Whittier recounts his memories of a New England snowstorm during his nineteenth century childhood, he hopes the reader will “Sit with me by the homestead hearth,/And stretch the hands of memory forth”. He describes the storm and aftermath, when the family and farm are completely cut off, isolated

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