Thy scatter'd hair with sleet like ashes fill'd,
Thy breath congeal'd upon they lips, thy cheeks
Fring'd with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapt in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urg'd by storms along its slipp'ry way..."
The clear, bright, brief, bitter cold of day has passed, the sun's "slanting ray" sliding "ineffectually down the snowy vale", and now "the moon sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright" in "the wintry flood".
"Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev'ning in."
Excerpts from Books 4 and 5 of William Cowper's The Task.
Tonight, a low of -13°C, with gusting winds. (Although I've read widly diverging estimates of today's temperatures. It might have been colder). But the forecast calls for worse on Friday.