appears to have been a household joke with the ancient Greeks, for Antiphanes applies it to the discourses of Plato: “As the cold of certain cities is so intense that it freezes the very words we utter, which remain congealed till the heat of summer thaws them, so the mind of youth is so thoughtless that the wisdom of Plato lies there frozen, as it were, till it is thawed by the ripened judgment of mature age.”
“The moment their backs were turned, little Jacob thawed, and renewed his crying from the point where Quilp had frozen him.” —Dickens: Old Curiosity Shop.
Truth in person doth appear Like words congealed in northern air.
Everyone knows the incident of the “frozen horn” related by Munchausen. Pantagruel and his companions, on the confines of the Frozen Sea, heard the uproar of a battle, which had been frozen the preceding winter, released by a thaw. (Rabelais: Pantagruel, book iv. chap. 56.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894