A Dialogue between Earth and Cold

O cruel Cold, to life an enemy,1
A misery to man and2 posterity!3
Most envious Cold, to stupify man’s4 brain,
Destroys5 that monarchy where wit should reign.
Tyrant thou art,6 and make7 the waters clear                      5
In chains of ice lie fettered half the year,
Imprisoning each8 thing that dwells in me,
Shutting my porous doors, no light to9 see.
I10 smothered am, and almost at death’s door;11
Each hole is stopped and I can breathe no more,12            10
Congeal13 the air to massy clouds of snow,
And like great mountains14 on my body throw.
And all my plants and strong, great, fruitful trees
You nip to death, or clothe them in coarse frieze.
My fresh green robes, which make me fine and gay,         15
You strip me of, or change to black or gray.
For fear of cold, my moisture shrinks so low
My head wears bald; no hair thereon will grow.
You break the sunbeams, do15 their heat destroy,
Which takes16 away my comfort and my joy.                      20
You make my body stiff, and numb it so17
That nothing fluid in my veins can go.18

Why do you thus complain, poor Earth, and grieve?
I give you strength and make you long to live.
I do refresh19 you from the scorching sun;20                       25
I give you breath, which makes you strong become.21
I clothe you from the cold with milk-white snow,
Send down your sap to nourish you below.
If heat with you22 should dwell, and long time stay,
His thirst would drink your moisture all away.                  30
I take nought from you, nor do make you poor,
But, like a husband good, do keep your store.
My ice are locks and bars, all safe to keep;
From busy motion’t23 gives you quiet sleep.
For heat is active, and doth you molest,                                35
Doth24 make you work, and never lets25 you rest.
Heat spends your spirits, makes you cracked and dry,
Drinks all himself; with thirst you almost die.
With sweating labor26 you grow weak and faint—
I wonder why you make such great complaint.27               40

Both heat and cold, in each28 extreme degree,
Two hells they are, though contrary they be.
Two devils they are,29 and vex30 me with great pains;
One shoots hot arrows, th’other ties in chains.

  1. enemy,] Enemy! 1668
  2. A misery to man and] Troubler of Man, and Man’s 1664, 1668
  3. posterity!] Posterity; 1664
  4. man’s] Mens 1653
  5. Destroys] And spoil 1664, 1668
  6. thou art,] you are, 1664, 1668
  7. and make] to bind 1653
  8. Imprisoning each] Imprisons every 1653
  9. to] can 1653, 1664
  10. I] And 1653
  11. and almost at death’s door;] almost up to death, 1653
  12. and I can breathe no more,] so close, can take no breath. 1653
  13. Congeal] Congeales 1653
  14. And like great mountains] Like Mountaines great, they 1653
  15. You break the sunbeams, do] And breakes the Suns bright Beames, 1653
  16. Which takes] And take 1664, 1668
  17. You make my body stiff, and numb it so] And makes my Body stiff, so deadly numb’d, 1653
  18. nothing fluid in my veins can go.] in my Veines nothing will fluent run. 1653
  19. do refresh] shelter 1664, 1668
  20. scorching sun;] Sun’s scorching Heat, 1664; Sun’s scorching Heat; 1668
  21. which makes you strong become.] by me your strength grows great; 1664; by me your strength grows great. 1668
  22. If heat with you] For if that heat 1653
  23. motion’t] Motion 1653; Motion, ‘t 1668
  24. Doth] Does 1664, 1668
  25. lets] let 1653
  26. sweating labor] Sweating-labour, 1668
  27. complaint.] Complaint! 1668
  28. in each] each in 1664, 1668
  29. they are,] are, 1653
  30. and vex] torment 1653