The Frozen Gay

John Gay

O ROVING Muse! recall that wondrous year

When winter reigned in bleak Britannia’s air;

When hoary Thames, with frosted osiers crowned,

Was three long moons in icy fetters bound.

The waterman, forlorn, along the shore,

Pensive reclines upon his useless oar:

See harnessed steeds desert the stony town,

And wander roads unstable not their own;

Wheels o’er the hardened water smoothly glide,

And raze with whitened tracks the slippery tide;

Here the fat cook piles high the blazing fire,

And scarce the spit can turn the steer entire;

Booths sudden hide the Thames, long streets appear,

And numerous games proclaim the crowded fair.

So, when the general bids the martial train

Spread their encampment o’er the spacious plain,

Thick-rising tents a canvas city build,

And the loud dice resound through all the field.