Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

The pipe whereon, in olden day,
Th' Arcadian herdsman used to play
Sweetly, here soundeth not;
But merely breathes unwelcome fumes,
Meanwhile the city boor consumes
The rank weed-" piping hot."

All rural things are vilely mock'd,
On every hand the sense is shock'd
With objects hard to bear.
Shades-vernal shades! where wine is sold!

And for a turfy bank, behold

An Ingram's rustic chair!

Where are ye, London meads and bowers,
And gardens redolent of flowers

Wherein the zephyr wons?

Alas! Moor Fields are fields no more!
See Hatton's Garden brick'd all o'er;

And that bare wood,-St. John's.

No pastoral scene procures me peace;
I hold no leasowes in my lease,

No cot set round with trees;
No sheep-white hill my dwelling flanks;
And omnium furnishes my banks

With brokers, not with bees.

Oh well may poets make a fuss
In summer time, and sigh, " O rus!"
Of city pleasures sick :

My heart is all at pant to rest

In greenwood shades,-my eyes detest
This endless meal of brick.

THOMAS HOOD.

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small]

Hark! where the sweeping scythe now rips along,
Each sturdy mower, emulous and strong,
Whose writhing form meridian heat defies,
Bends o'er his work, and every sinew tries;
Prostrates the waving treasure at his feet,
But spares the rising clover short and sweet.
Come health ! come jollity! light-footed come;
Here hold your revels and make this your home;

Each heart awaits, and hails you as its own;
Each moisten'd brow, that scorns to wear a frown.
The unpeopled dwelling mourns the people strayed,
E'en the domestic laughing dairy.maid
Hies to the field, the general toil to share.
Meanwhile the farmer quits his elbow-chair,
His cool brick floor, his pitcher, and his case,
And braves the sultry beams, and gladly sees
His gates thrown open, and his team abroad,
The ready group attendant on his word
To turn the swath, the quivering load to rear,
Or piy the busy rake, the land to clear,
Summer's light garb itself now cumbrous grown,
Each his thin doublet in the shade throws down ;
Where oft the mastiff skulks with half-shut eye,
And rouses at the stranger passing by;
Whilst unrestrain'd the social converse flows,
And every breast love's powerful impulse knows,
And rival wits with more than rustic grace
Confess the presence of a pretty face.

BLOOMFIELD.

HAYMAKING.

Summer glows warm on the meadows, the speedwell, and goldcups,

and daisies, Darken ʼmid deepening masses of sorrel, and shadowy grasses Show the ripe hue to the farmer, and summon the scythe and the

haymakers Down from the village ; and now, even now, the air smells of the

mowing, And the sharp song of the scythe whistles daily, from dawn till the

gloaming Wears its cool star; sweet and welcome to all flaming faces a-field

now; Besprinkled with labour, and with the pure brew of the malt right cheery !

GEORGE MEREDITH.

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

Our ancestors took advantage of every natural holiday to keep it long and gladly. Rural plays, or as Shakspeare calls them, Whitsun pastorals, succeeded after a little interval, the games of May; and now, in June, a feast exclusively rural and popular took place at the time of sbeep-shearing. See the “Winter's Tale;' Drayton's Pastorals,” eclogue 9; and his “Polyolbion," song 14, where he tells how

The shepherd king, Whose flock hath chanced that year the earliest lamb to bring, In his gay baldric sits at his low grassy board, With flowers, curds, clouted cream, and country dainties stored ; And whilst the bagpipe plays, each lusty jocund swain Quaffs syllabubs in cans to all upon the plain, And to their country girls, whose nosegays they do wear; Some roundelays do sing; the rest the burthen bear.

The white fleeces of the sheep on these occasions, the brown hue of the shearers, the blue of the sky, the running silver of the waters, the green of the grass, the various colours of the flowers, and the straw-hatted damsels that wear them, make up a delightful picture to the imagination.

Haymaking is more toilsome, and is performed in modern times by less happy labourers, who chiefly come over from Ireland for that purpose. But they have at least fine

« ÎnapoiContinuați »