THE GREAT FROST – John Gay (1716)
from Trivia: Or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London
O roving Muse, recall that wonderous 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,
Sees harnessed steeds desert the stony town,
And wander roads unstable, not their own;
Wheels o’er the hardened waters smoothly glide,
And rase with whitenened 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.