'Twere getting dusk, one winter's night,
When up the clough there came in sight,
A lad who carried through the snow,
A banner with this 'ere motto...
His face was glum as he did pass,
His eyes were shiny... just like glass,
And as he went upon his way,
He nobbut this 'ere word did say...
And people sitting down to tea,
They heard him plan, as plain can be,
They thowt 'twere final football score,
As this 'ere word rang out once more...
A policeman on his lonely beat,
He stopped the lad up t' end of t' street,
He said, "Where't going wi' that theer?"
The lad just whispered in his ear...
"Don't go down t' clough." the policeman said,
"It's mucky road for thee to tread,
Canal's at bottom... deep and wide."
"That's not my road." the lad replied,
A young lass stopped him further up,
She said "Come in wi' me, and sup."
He said, "I'm takin none o' yon,
Besides... I must be getting on...
Next day some lads had just begun,
To tak' their whippets for a run,
When dogs got scratching in the snow,
And found flag with this 'ere motto...
That set them digging all around,
And 'twasn't long before they found,
A lad whose name they never learned,
Whose face was white, whose toes had turned...
'Twas very plain for to behold,
The lad had ta'en his death o' cold,
He'd got his feet wet early on,
And from his feet the cold had gone...
This story only goes to show,
That when the fields is white wi' snow,
It's inadvisable to go...
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1841)
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device
His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a faulchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
"Try not the Pass!" the old man said;
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"
And loud that clarion voice replied,
"O stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,
At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air
A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device
There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,