WAS it a fancy, bred of vagrant guess,
Or well-remember'd fact, that He was born
When half the world was wintry and forlorn,
In Nature's utmost season of distress?
And did the simple earth indeed confess
Its destitution and its craving need,
Wearing the white and penitential weed,
Meet symbol of judicial barrenness?
So be it; for in truth 'tis ever so,
That when the winter of the soul is bare,
The seed of heaven at first begins to grow,
Peeping abroad in desert of despair.
Full many a floweret, good, and sweet, and fair,
Is kindly wrapp'd in coverlet of snow.
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