A snowy night hangs, a savage night hangs,
A grey pelt above forests' wild tresses.
In white plumage of snow, in a white silk of snow,
Valleys, hills under rich snowy dresses.
In the wild of the woods, the age-slumbering woods,
Dwell a people, ill-natured, unspeaking.
In a palace of glass, on a bed all of glass
Lies a maiden with sun-bright hair, sleeping.
Go you, call here by name; go you, wake her again -
Then tall fir-trees will utter harsh creaking.
Then the tempest will moan, then the tempest will groan,
White-eyed winter complain with loud speaking.
Winter then, in alarm, winter then, fearing harm,
In a frenzy of frost will spin, swirling;
Like a horse without rein, like a grey-and-white flame,
The blind snowstorm will rush, rearing, whirling.
And the maid will sigh deep, stir in heavy-dreamed sleep,
With her fingers brush brows clear of hoar-frost,
She will gaze all around, unrestrained, all around,
Sad the grey wolves will howl in the forest.
Go you, rouse her again - and the spring comes again,
Over ploughland larks revel unstinting,
On the river, ice cracks, and away the floes break,
And the playful floods wash out the winter.