Prologue to The Frozen Deep (1856), co-author Wilkie Collins.


Dickens, Charles


Volume 20 of The Works of Charles Dickens (1911). London: Chapman and Hall; pp. 486-487, https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Works_of_Charles_Dickens/91s4AAAAIAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=The%20frozen%20deep.


Chapman and Hall



Bibliographic Citation

Dickens, Charles. 'Prologue' to The Frozen Deep (1856), co-author Wilkie Collins. Printed in Volume 20 of The Works of Charles Dickens (1911). Dickens Search. Eds. Emily Bell and Lydia Craig. Accessed [date]. https://dickenssearch.com/verse/1856_The_Frozen_Deep_Prologue.


(Curtain rises; mists and darkness’ soft music throughout.)

One savage footprint on the lonely shore

Where one man listen’d to the surge’s roar,

Not all the winds that stir the mighty sea 

Can ever ruffle in the memory.

If such its interest and thrall, O then

Pause on the footprints of heroic men,

Making a garden of the desert wide

Where Parry conquer’d death and Franklin died.

To that white region where the Lost lie low,

Wrapt in their mantles of eternal snow, - 

Unvisited by change, nothing to mock

Those statues sculptured in the icy rock,

We pray your company; that hearts as true

(Though nothings of the air) may live for you;

Nor only yet that on our little glass

A faint reflection of those wilds may pass,

But that the secrets of the vast Profound 

Within us, an exploring hand may sound,

Testing the region of the ice-bound soul,

Seeking the passage at its northern pole,

Softening the horrors of its wintry sleep,

Melting the surface of that ‘Frozen Deep.’

Vanish, ye mists! But ere this gloom departs,

And to the union of three sister arts

We give a winter evening, good to know

That in the charms of such another show,

That in the fiction of a friendly play,

The Arctic sailors, too, put gloom away,

Forgot their long night, saw no starry dome,

Hail’d the warm sun, and were again at Home.

Vanish, ye mists! Not yet do we repair

To the still country of the piercing air;

But seek, before the cross the troubled seas,

An English hearth and Devon’s waving trees.

Publication Type






Dickens, Charles, “'Prologue',” Dickens Search, accessed June 25, 2022, https://dickenssearch.com/verse/1856_The_Frozen_Deep_Prologue.

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