He sits in winter's sleet, and the snow is round his feet,
But he cares not for the cold;
For his little cheerful heart thinks the snow as fair a part
As the summer's green and gold.
On the branches bare and brown, with their crystals for a crown,
Sits the tiny winter bird;
In the dark and stormy days lightening the lonely ways
With his constant cheery word.
To his mission he is true; God has work for him to do--
With his happy song to cheer;
In his sweet life's simple speech lessons high and glad to teach
In the dark days of the year.
Oh his little heart is strong, and he never thinks it wrong
That to him this lot is given;
Never envies birds that sing in the summer or the spring
Underneath a sunny heaven.
So he is a teacher sent with a lesson of content
To all spirits that are sad;
And his song, with richest freight, comes to all the desolate,
Bidding sorrow's self be glad.
"Wouldst thou choose thy time or way?" seems the blithesome tune to say--
"God hath ordered these for thee;
Where thy life can praise him best he hath set thee; only rest
And his purpose thou shalt see."
Ye around whose life the snow lieth heavily and low,
Take a lesson from the bird;
As God giveth you to say, strive to charm the gloom away,
Whether heeded or unheard.
God hath singers, many a one, that can praise him in the sun,
As the happy cherubim;
But I think the songs they raise who are toilers in dark ways
Are a sweeter sound to him.
Not by outer joy and sweetness does he judge of life's completeness,
But by surer test of worth;
It may be he gives the grace of his heavens highest place
To the lowest of the earth.