January, 1885.

A poem by Hattie Howard

These winter days are passing fair!
As if a breath of spring
Had permeated all the air,
And touched each living thing
With thankfulness for such a boon -
Discounting with a scoff
The almanac's report that "June
Is yet a long way off!"

We quarrel with the calendar -
For May has been misplaced -
And doubt the tale oracular
Of "Janus, double-faced;"
For this "ethereal mildness" looks
Toward shadowy delights
Of roseate bowers, of cosy nooks,
Of coming thermal nights.

Let robes diaphanous succeed
Dense garments made of fur,
And overcoats maintain the lead -
Among the things that were!
The wisely-rented sealskin sacque,
By many a dame possessed,
Be quickly relegated back
To its moth-haunted chest!

While every portly alderman,
In linen suit arrayed,
Manipulates the palm-leaf fan
And seeks the cooling shade;
And he perspires who not in vain
Suggests his funny squibs,
By poking his unwelcome cane
In other people's ribs.

Who dares to fling opprobrium
On January now?
As to a potentate we come
With reverential bow,
Because it doth not yet appear
That Time hath ever seen
The ruler of th' inverted year
In more benignant mien.

O Boreas! do not lie low -
That is, if "lie" thou must -
Upon our planet; do not blow
With fierce and sudden gust,
But come so gently, tenderly -
As come thou surely wilt -
That we may have sweet dreams of thee,
Beneath "our crazy quilt!"

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