This poem of about the time of the Civil War (1861-1865) in America is the personal testimony of a fallen girl who got right with God just before her tragic passing. Celebrated American poet Walt Whitman found the anonymous poem work and passed it on to others more than a hundred years ago. It still packs a powerful wallop!
OH! THE SNOW, THE BEAUTIFUL SNOW,
Filling the sky and the earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of people you meet.
Dancing, flirting, skimming along,
Beautiful snow! It can do no wrong; F
lying to kiss a fair lady's cheek,
Clinging to lips in frolicksome freak;
Beautiful snow from heaven above,
Pure as an angel, gentle as love!
Oh, the snow, the beautiful snow,
How the flakes gather and laugh as they go
Whirling about in maddening fun:
Chasing, laughing, hurrying by,
It lights on the face and it sparkles the eye;
And the dogs with a bark and a bound
Snap at the crystals as they eddy around;
The town is alive, and its heart is aglow,
To welcome the coming of beautiful snow!
How wild the crowd goes swaying along,
Hailing each other with humor and song;
How the gay sleighs like meteors flash by,
Bright for a moment, then lost to the eye:
Ringing, swinging, dashing they go,
Over the crest of the beautiful snow;
Snow so pure as it falls from the sky,
As to make one regret to see it lie,
To be trampled and tracked by thousands of feet
Till it blends with the filth in the horrible street.
ONCE I WAS PURE AS THE SNOW, BUT I FELL,
Fell like the snow flakes from heaven to hell;
Fell to be trampled as filth in the street,
Fell to be scoffed, to be spit on and beat;
Pleading, cursing, dreading to die,
Selling my soul to whoever would buy;
Dealing in shame for a morsel of bread,
Hating the living and fearing the dead.
MERCIFUL GOD! I HAVE FALLEN SO LOW!
AND YET I WAS ONCE LIKE THE BEAUTIFUL SNOW.
Once I was fair as the beautiful snow,
With an eye like a crystal, a heart like its glow;
Once I was loved for my innocent grace--
Flattered and sought for the charms of my face!
Fathers, Mothers, Sisters--all,
God and myself I have lost by my fall:
The veriest wretch that goes shivering by,
Will make a wide sweep lest I wander too night,
For all that is on or above me I know,
There is nothing so pure as the beautiful snow.
How strange it should be that this beautiful snow
Should fall on a sinner with nowhere to go!
How strange it should be when the night comes again
If the snow and the ice struck my desperate brain!
Fainting, freezing, dying, alone,
Too wicked for prayer, too weak for a moan
To be heard in the streets of the crazy town,
Gone mad in the joy of snow coming down:
To be and to die in my terrible woe,
With a bed and a shroud of the beautiful snow.
SINNER, DESPAIR NOT! CHRIST STOOPETH LOW
TO RESCUE THE SOUL THAT IS LOST IN SIN,
AND RAISE IT TO LIFE AND ENJOYMENT AGAIN.
Groaning, bleeding, dying--for then,
The Crucified hung on the cursed tree!
His accents of mercy fall soft on thine ear,
"Is there mercy for me? Will he hear my weak prayer?"
O God, in the stream that for sinners did flow,
WASH ME, AND I SHALL BE WHITER THAN SNOW.