As Pure As The Driven Snow

Meaning of “As Pure as the Driven Snow”

The phrase “as pure as the driven snow” means a person who is morally pure, innocent and innocent. During a snowstorm, the snow blows and never settles. Hence its called ‘driven snow’ as no one walked on it and it is pure. Hence, this phrase is commonly used to compare people who are good at heart. You may also compare a few objects using the phrase to describe its whiteness or purity.

Origin of “As Pure as the Driven Snow”

The phrase “as pure as the driven snow” seems to have been used by William Shakespeare for the first time in his play, The Winter’s Tale, where Autolycus used it as “Lawn as white as driven snow” and in Macbeth where Malcolm has used it referring to Macbeth that he “will seem as pure as snow.” Since then, it has become quite popular and is in constant use in literature.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Hamlet:If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go; farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go; and quickly too. Farewell.” (Act III, Scene 1)

Hamlet speaks these lines to his beloved, Ophelia. He tells her that she should not marry him because he can never keep her happy. He uses this phrase “as pure as snow” to let her know that she is innocent at heart. Although Shakespeare has not used the word “driven” here, it means the same thing that Ophelia is too nice to marry Hamlet.

Example #2

Polar Bear by King Charles

Cold white skin she’s as pure as an angel
A vision of a maiden with a touch of the devil
Cold hands upon you sink into your core
She’s pure as the driven snow I’m sure
She’s the anchor ‘round your neck when you try to swim
She’s a snake that
Leads you to the apple of sin
Sliding serpent, creature of hell
Many times she’s come for me, I know her well

This is one of the stanzas from the Polar Bear. He berates himself for thinking lasciviously about the girl who is pure like an angel and cool-headed. In this stanza, the poet praises her beauty using different similes among which this phrase is prominent. He calls her purity similar to an angel as well as “the driven snow.” In other words, the meanings of this phrase are that he considers the girl chaste and beautiful, having the power to corrupt him.

Example #3

A Wandering Jew by Shelley

Lo! Four fair nuns to the alter draw near,
With solemn footstep, as while
A fainting novice they bear –
The roses from her cheek are fled,
But there the lily reigns instead’
Light as a sylph’s, her form confest,
Beneath the drapery of her vest,
A perfect grace and symmetry;
Her eyes, with rapture form’d to move,
To melt with tenderness and love,
Or beam with sensibility,
To Heaven were raised in pious prayer,
A silent eloquence of woe;
Now hung the pearly tear-drop there,
Sate on her cheek and fix’d despair;
And now she beat her bosom bare,
As pure as the driven snow.

The above lines are about the sorrowful situation of the nuns and apprentice nuns among them. According to the poet, the young girl who just began their lives and appear quite terrified. She tries to hide her feelings. The poet compares her innocence as pure as the driven snow. This means the young girl is very fair and pure.

Example #4

Dark Bureau by Earnest Dudley

Lewis Hull compressed his mouth in a tight line of impatience. Rex Bolt always took such a hell of a time to get to the point. No use trying to hurry him, though. He had to let the blither to tell his story his way.

“It was when I was sharing an office with Phil Gresham. He was writing with me then, and we shared and office and a secretary. All pure as driven snow, of course. Sharing the secretary, I mean.” He paused to allow Hull to laugh, and then slightly deflated went on. “One day Phil didn’t show up, and no one knew where he’d got to. You know what a vague character he was –.”

The novel is about an operation of the Scotland Yard against the criminal gangs in Europe. Working in its office called the Dark Bureau, Lewis Hull takes account of his working colleagues. He tells of Rex is always slow and Phil Gresham who sits with him with a beautiful secretary, who is as “pure as driven snow.” In other words, he means that the secretary is very beautiful as well as chaste.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “My mummy bought brand new curtains for the hall. The color white is as pure as the driven snow. I will have to keep my little brother away from staining it.”

Example #2: “Anna looks as pure as the driven snow in that new prom dress. She is also a very kind person.”

Example #3: “Children can be brutally honest when someone asks them life-related questions because they are as pure as the driven snow.”

Example #4: “Once upon a time all the land were as pure as the driven snow. Then the humans came along and polluted it.”

Example #5: “A few people sound as pure as the driven snow when they speak. However, they are not always honest.”