Snow-Bound is John Whittier’s nostalgic remembrance of being completely snowed-in with his family in 1866 as a snowstorm rages outside. Trapped in their home for a week, the family members gathered around the hearth and exchange stories by their roaring fire.
Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed…
Considered Whittier’s masterwork, “Snow-Bound” is lovingly dedicated to “The Household It Describes” and prefaced by quotations from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The Snow Storm,” and the Renaissance occultist Cornelius Agrippa on the powers of sunlight and firelight over “Spirits of Darkness.”
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER (1807–1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Frequently listed as one of the Fireside Poets, Whittier was heavily influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns.