Poem: Now Winter Nights Enlarge by Thomas Campion

Thomas Campion was a great song-writer of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-turned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.
This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.
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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

2 Responses

  1. Robert Reavis says:

    I knew with all the ducks and geese moving through last week that another blast of winter was not far behind. Poems like this remind me of how even the snow, ice and grey skies sing praise and the long nights can have their hour. Thank you for the winter poem.

  2. David Wihowski says:

    Like many Midwesterners, I often find myself griping about winter weather. But some of the best moments with family and friends were when we were forced to sit around a table together playing board or card games, eating popcorn and hot cocoa made on the stove. Fortunately most of the places I grew up had very poor TV reception (and no cable), so a blizzard guaranteed family time.