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And still their shifting glow shall warm
The winters of my life again,
Their phantom banners wave sublime
Across the night's star-flowery plain.
They filled my heart with wild delight,
And back my yearning soul aspire
To Nature's altar crowned with song,
And bright with beauty's golden fire.


WAS there ever such a frost? people have
said this winter. Probably some of us really
experienced lower temperatures this last Christmas
than any of our forefathers ever felt in England.
The great historical frosts, the days when oxen
were roasted on the Thames, were not days so
remarkable for the intensity of the cold as for
its long duration.

It is remarkable, also, that the memorably
hard winters have followed very commonly on
wet summers. It was so in the first great frost
of which there is any record. That was in the
days of King Stephen, in the year eleven
hundred and fifty, when, after a wet summer, so
great a frost ensued on the ninth of December,
that horses and vehicles crossed the Thames
upon the ice as safely as if water were earth.
That frost held till Marchalmost a quarter of
a year.

About three hundred years later, or in fourteen
thirty-four, there was a great frost, which
began on the twenty-fourth of November and
continued till the tenth of February. This
also followed on a wet summer, which had
fearfully raised the price of corn. Goods and
provisions had to be unshipped at the mouth
of the river, and brought up by land into the

"In fifteen hundred and sixty-five," says
Holinshed, "the one-and-twentieth day of
December began a frost which continued so
extremely, that, on New Year's even, people went
over and alongst the Thames on the ice from
London-bridge to Westminster. Some played
at football so boldly as if it had been on the
dry land. Divers of the coast shot daily at
pricks set upon the Thames, and the people,
both men and women, went on the Thames in
greater numbers than in any street of the City
of London. On the thirty-first day of January
at night it began to thaw, and, five days after,
was no ice to be seen between London-bridge
and Lambeth, which sudden thaw caused great
floods and high waters that bare down bridges
and houses and drowned many people in
England, especially in Yorkshire."

In sixteen 'eighty-three the Thames was again
hard frozen, so that a great street ran from the
Temple to Southwark. The street was lined
with shops, and hackney-coaches plied in it.
This frost began early in December and lasted
till the seventh of February, and the pools were
covered with ice eighteen inches thick. The
frost fair on the Thames lasted a fortnight.
There is an engraving of it in the King's
Collection of the British Museum, showing the
surface of the Thames peopled with gallants and
ladies in the picturesque costume of the day, show
booths, boats upon wheels, a whirligig, football
players, men walking on stilts, "the booth with
the Phoenix on it, insured so long as the foundation
stands," a circus in which a bull is baited,
a fox that is being hunted, cocks being thrown
at, palings within which an ox is being roasted
whole. From Temple-stairs there is a street of
booths called Temple-street crossing the river.
There, say some of the doggerel lines under the
print, were:

Arts of all sorts, excelling Frankfort marts.
The genteel haberdasher there displayed
His curiosities for courted maid.
And who would not be proud to show her trimming,
Bought where the swans and boats erewhile were swimming?
There, brides new married, kettles, pans, and dishes,.
May buy upon the mansion of the fishes.

Another print of this fair, shows King Charles
the Second and his court descending Temple-
stairs to go upon the ice. These prints,
compared with those of similar scenes in seventeen
'sixty-three and in eighteen 'fourteen, show (if
the artist may be trusted, which is doubtful) that
the surface of the ice on the river was unusually
smooth. On the ninth of January, sixteen 'eighty-
four, Evelyn mentions that he walked across the
ice from Westminster-stairs to Lambeth Palace,
and dined with the archbishop. An account of
the frost and the breaking up of it, given in the
Gentleman's Magazine, says of the sixth of
February (Old Style, seventeenth according to
our reckoning): "This day the frost broke. In
the morning I saw a coach and six horses driven
from Whitehall almost to the (London) Bridge;
yet by three that day, next to Southwark the
ice was gone so as boats did row to and fro, and
the day after all the frost was gone." The ox-
roasting at this fair was on Candlemas-day, and
the king and queen came to eat some of the hot

Of the great frost of seventeen hundred and,
eighty-nine, Doctor Derham gives a particular
account, from which it appears that the lowest
temperature was equal to a degree and a half of
Fahrenheit. During this frost, although several
persons crossed the Thames at some distance
above the bridge, it was only at low water: for
then the great flakes of ice that came down stopped
one another at the bridge, and when the flood
came the ice broke and was carried with the
current up the river. We learn also that although
this frost was in the south of England very
rigorous, it was not felt in the north. "None
of our rivers or lakes are frozen over," wrote
the Bishop of Carlisle. From Edinburgh the
intelligence was, "We have not had much frost
to speak of, and it has not lasted long." But
it made itself memorable on the Continent by
its severity.

In January, seventeen hundred and sixteen,
the Thames was frozen over for some miles, and
there were booths and streets erected. The
cold never seems to have been more intense than
eleven degrees of Fahrenheit. Its power lay in
its long continuance. In seventeen hundred