With a tip of the biretta to the Laudator.
Thomas Caulfield Irwin (1823-1892), December:
It is bleak December noon,
Winter-wild and rainy grey:
By the old road thinly strewn
Drifts of dead leaves skirt the way:
Oh! the long canals and drear,
And the floods o’erflow the weir,
And the old deserted Year
Seems dying with the day.
By the banks the leafless larch
Shakes its boughs in dismal plight;
The blank bridge’s lonely arch
Marks the sullen sky with white:
Beyond the current flows
Through banks of misty snows,
And the wind the water blows,
Here and there, a little bright.
From the dim and silent hill
Looks the moon with face of care
O’er the sad fields, frosty still,
And the icy brooklet there;
And nooked beside the way
The hamlet children play,
Whispering weirdly in the grey
Of the dumb cold evening air.
W.H. Auden, ed., Nineteenth Century Minor British Poets (New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1966), gives the poet’s name as William Caulfield Irwin (pp. 10, 194, 366), but he seems to be mistaken.