This poem was first published in Poems in Wiltshire (1911), then in its shortened and amended form in Selected Poems (1925). The original version was subtitled 'December 17th, 1910.'
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Longer version (1909):

Loud shrieks the tempest through the tossing trees,
   Wild breathless Winter shatters at the door,
The haughty oaks bend low with quaking knees,
   The flying clouds a perfect deluge pour.

Along the hills, roused from their dreamless sleep,
   Faint in the gathering twilight, grey and bare,
The black fantastic shadows range and sweep,
   Or stream like banners in the moving air.

The gaunt old rook, returning from the fields,
   Helpless against the tempest's rising force,
Like a sere withered leaf the autumn yields,
   is backward hurled o'er half his crazy course.

Adown the hills a hundred torrents run,
   Racing impetuous to the level plain,
Till merging in the valley, one by one,
   They seek an outlet to the distant main.

Soon through the rift the shining moon appears,
   A dim reflection in a watery glass,
Seen but a moment through the dropping tears,
   Then doubly thick the murky shadows pass.

So all night long upon the quaking roof,
   And in the chimney-top the tempest howls,
Rattling along the tiles with thunderous hoof,
   Loud with the fury of ten thousand souls.

Till rosy morning breaks with gentle light,
   Soft as a babe upon the mother's breast;
Below the fields are gleaming silver-white,
   But the loud wind has roared itself to rest.

Even so must this poor soul be borne along,
   Like whirling leaves o'er Life's tempestuous wave,
Till it shall slumber at the sunset song,
   And wake to ecstasy beyond the grave.

Shorter version (1925):

Loud shrieks the tempest through the tossing trees,
   Wild breathless Winter shatters at the door,
The haughty oaks bend low with quaking knees,
   The flying clouds a perfect deluge pour.

Along the hills, roused from their dreamless sleep,
   Faint in the gathering twilight, grey and bare,
The black fantastic shadows range and sweep,
   Or stream like banners in the moving air.

Soon through the rift the shining moon appears,
   A dim reflection in a watery glass,
Seen but a moment through the dropping tears,
   Then doubly thick the murky shadows pass.

So all night long upon the quaking roof,
   And in the chimney-top the tempest howls,
Rattling along the tiles with thunderous hoof,
   Loud with the fury of ten thousand souls.

Till rosy morning breaks with gentle light,
   Soft as a babe upon the mother's breast;
Below, the fields are gleaming silver-white,
   But the loud wind has roared itself to rest.


Title photography by Richard Bradshaw

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