The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

'Tis Winter Now

A Hymn of Winter

Words: Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892)
From Hymns of the Spirit, (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864), Hymn 193, p. 128.

Music: Musical settings include Danby, an English traditional melody in The English Hymnal (London: Oxford University Press, 1906), #295. MIDI and Noteworthy Composer score can be found at The Cyberhymnal,

Meter: Long Meter

ďTis winter now; the fallen snow
Has left the heavíns all coldly clear;
Through leafless boughs the sharp winds blow,
And all the earth lies dead and drear.

And yet God's love is not withdrawn;
His life within the keen air breathes,
His beauty paints the crimson dawn,
And clothes the boughs with glittíring wreaths.

And though abroad the sharp winds blow,
And skies are chill, and frosts are keen,
Home closer draws her circle now,
And warmer glows her light within.

O God! who giv'st the winterís cold
As well as summerís joyous rays,
Us warmly in Thy love enfold
And keep us through lifeís wintry days.


Hymns of the Spirit was a text-only hymnal. Rev. Samuel Longfellow, a Unitarian minister, was the younger brother of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Samuel was a poet and lyricist, and edited two books of hymns, as well as other works.

A contemporary setting of this song, and a number of Christmas hymns and carols, has been composed by David Newman, editor of Art Song Central.

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