The Night-Wind

AT a lonely inn among the pines
I sit alone in the firelight’s glow,
Losing myself in the backlog’s mines,
And hearing the night-wind come and go.
And now it threatens, and now it grieves,
Pleads at the lintel, or slams a blind;
Now it prowls, sullen, about the eaves, —
This protean, bitter autumn wind.
Fiercely it swoops on the doorside yew,
As a vulture drops upon its prey;
And now in the throat of the sooty flue
I hear it howl, like a beast at bay.
Now it flies shrieking across the downs,
And now, like a ghost, it whispers me
Of people starving to death in towns,
And of wrecks a thousand leagues at sea!
Thomas Bailey Aldrich.