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Farm Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Mortgage on the Farm by Anonymous
  2. Old McDonald Had a Farm by Anonymous
  3. The Farmer in the Dell by Anonymous
  4. The Farmer by Margaret E. Sangster
  5. Lines on the Death of a Farmer's Wife by James McIntyre
  6. Wheat by Hamlin Garland
  7. Cornfields by Mary Howitt
  8. Agriculture by Lydia Sigourney
  9. Threshing Time by C. L. Edson
  10. Joy In the Corn Belt by C. L. Edson
  11. The Growing Corn by Frederick J. Atwood
  12. Walls of Corn by Ellen P. Allerton
  13. A Ballad of the Corn by S. H. M. Byers
  14. The Hayloft by Robert Louis Stevenson
  15. The Fields of Corn by Ellen P. Allerton
  16. The Cornfield by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  17. The Old Cane Mill by Nellie Gregg Tomlinson
  18. The Old Pasture by Ellen P. Allerton
  19. The Old Home Barn by Edward Henry Elwell
  20. The Old Farmhouse by Ellen P. Allerton
  21. A Country Home by Ellen P. Allerton
  22. Sowing by Colfax Burgoyne Harman
  23. The Breaking of the Drought by Frederick J. Atwood
  24. The Cunning Old Crow by Anonymous
  25. Grandmother's Farm by Anonymous
  26. Amid the Corn by Hattie Howard
  27. Spring Work by Mary B. C. Slade
  28. Making Hay by Mary B. C. Slade
  29. Milking Time by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  30. The Hens by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  31. The Deserted Farm by Kate Louise Wheeler
  32. The American Farmer by Thomas Cogswell Upham
  33. The Fire-Flies in the Wheat by Harriet Prescott Spofford
  34. The Season in the Country by Alonzo Jackson Grover


For of all gainful professions, nothing is better, nothing more pleasing, nothing more delightful, nothing better becomes a well-bred man than agriculture.

– Cicero
  1. The Mortgage on the Farm

    by Anonymous

    'Tis gone at last, and I am glad; it stayed a fearful while,
    And when the world was light and gay, I could not even smile;
    It stood before me like a giant, outstretched its iron arm;
    No matter where I looked, I saw the mortgage on the farm.

    I'll tell you how it happened, for I want the world to know
    How glad I am this winter day whilst earth is white with snow;
    I'm just as happy as a lark. No cause for rude alarm
    Confronts us now, for lifted is the mortgage on the farm.

    The children they were growing up and they were smart and trim.
    To some big college in the East we'd sent our youngest, Jim;
    And every time he wrote us, at the bottom of his screed
    He tacked some Latin fol-de-rol which none of us could read.

    The girls they ran to music, and to painting, and to rhymes,
    They said the house was out of style and far behind the times;
    They suddenly diskivered that it didn't keep'm warm—
    Another step of course towards a mortgage on the farm.

    We took a cranky notion, Hannah Jane and me one day,
    While we were coming home from town, a-talking all the way;
    The old house wasn't big enough for us, although for years
    Beneath its humble roof we'd shared each other's joys and tears.

    We built it o'er and when 'twas done, I wish you could have seen it,
    It was a most tremendous thing—I really didn't mean it;
    Why, it was big enough to hold the people of the town
    And not one half as cosy as the old one we pulled down.

    I bought a fine pianner and it shortened still the pile,
    But, then, it pleased the children and they banged it all the while;
    No matter what they played for me, their music had no charm,
    For every tune said plainly: "There's a mortgage on the farm!"

    I worked from morn till eve, and toiled as often toils the slave
    To meet that grisly interest; I tried hard to be brave,
    And oft when I came home at night with tired brain and arm,
    The chickens hung their heads, they felt the mortgage on the farm.—

    But we saved a penny now and then, we laid them in a row,
    The girls they played the same old tunes, and let the new ones go;
    And when from college came our Jim with laurels on his brow,
    I led him to the stumpy field and put him to the plow.

    He something said in Latin which I didn't understand,
    But it did me good to see his plow turn up the dewy land;
    And when the year had ended and empty were the cribs,
    We found we'd hit the mortgage, sir, a blow between the ribs.

    To-day I harnessed up the team and thundered off to town,
    And in the lawyer's sight I planked the last bright dollar down;
    And when I trotted up the lanes a-feeling good and warm,
    The old red rooster crowed his best: "No mortgage on the farm!"

    I'll sleep almighty good to-night, the best for many a day,
    The skeleton that haunted us has passed fore'er away.
    The girls can play the brand-new tunes with no fears to alarm,
    And Jim can go to Congress, with no mortgage on the farm!

  2. Old McDonald Had a Farm

    by Anonymous

    Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
    And on that farm he had a cow, E-I-E-I-O.
    With a moo moo here and a moo moo there
    Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo
    Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.

  3. The Farmer in the Dell

    by Anonymous

    The farmer in the dell
    The farmer in the dell
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The farmer in the dell

    The farmer takes a wife
    The farmer takes a wife
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The farmer takes a wife

    The wife takes the child
    The wife takes the child
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The wife takes the child

    The child takes the nurse
    The child takes the nurse
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The child takes the nurse

    The nurse takes the cow
    The nurse takes the cow
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The nurse takes the cow

    The cow takes the dog
    The cow takes the dog
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The cow takes the dog

    The dog takes the cat
    The dog takes the cat
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The dog takes the cat

    The cat takes the mouse
    The cat takes the mouse
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The cat takes the mouse

    The mouse takes the cheese
    The mouse takes the cheese
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The mouse takes the cheese

    The cheese stands alone
    The cheese stands alone
    Heigh-ho, the derry-o
    The cheese stands alone

  4. The Farmer

    by Margaret E. Sangster

    The dawn is here! I climb the hill;
    The earth is young and strangely still;
    A tender green is showing where
    But yesterday my fields were bare....
    I climb and, as I climb, I sing;
    The dawn is here, and with it—spring!

    My oxen stamp the ground, and they
    Seem glad, with me, that soon the day
    Will bring new work for us to do!
    The light above is clear and blue;
    And one great cloud that swirls on high,
    Seems sent from earth to kiss the sky.

    The birds are coming back again,
    They know that soon the golden grainv Will wave above this fragrant loam;
    The birds, with singing, hasten home;
    And I, who watch them, feel their song
    Deep in my soul, and nothing wrong,
    Or mean or small, can touch my heart....
    Down in the vale the smoke-wreaths start,
    To softly curl above the trees;
    The fingers of a vagrant breeze
    Steal tenderly across my hair,
    And toil is fled, and want, and care!

    The dawn is here!
    I climb the hill;
    My very oxen seem to thrill—
    To feel the mystery of day.
    The sun creeps out, and far away
    From man-made law I worship God,
    Who made the light, the cloud, the sod;
    I worship smilingly, and sing!
    * * *
    The dawn is here, and with it—spring!

  5. Lines on the Death of a Farmer's Wife

    And her name it will long be praised
    By the large family she has raised,

    - James McIntyre
    Lines on the Death of a Farmer's Wife
    by James McIntyre

    This good woman when in this life,
    She was kind mother and good wife,
    And managed her household with care,
    She and her husband happy pair.

    And her name it will long be praised
    By the large family she has raised,
    She laid up treasures in the skies,
    And now enjoys the Heavenly prize.

    She rose each morn with happy smile,
    And ardent all the day did toil,
    For work it to her had a charm,
    And busy was each hand and arm.

  6. Wheat

    by Hamlin Garland

    The winds are tangled in the wheat.

    In many a yellow breezy mass,
    The rich wheat ripened far away.

    They drive home the cows from the pastures,
    Up through the long shady lane,
    Where the quail whistles loud in the wheat-fields
    That are yellow with ripening grain.

    Like liquid gold the wheat-field lies,
    A marvel of yellow and green,
    That ripples and runs, that floats and flies,
    With the subtle shadows, the change—the sheen
    That plays in the golden hair of a girl.

  7. Cornfields

    by Mary Howitt

    When on the breath of Autumn's breeze,
    From pastures dry and brown,
    Goes floating, like an idle thought,
    The fair, white thistle-down,—
    Oh, then what joy to walk at will
    Upon the golden harvest-hill!

    What joy in dreaming ease to lie
    Amid a field new shorn;
    And see all round, on sunlit slopes,
    The piled-up shocks of corn;
    And send the fancy wandering o'er
    All pleasant harvest-fields of yore!

    I feel the day; I see the field;
    The quivering of the leaves;
    And good old Jacob, and his house,—
    Binding the yellow sheaves!
    And at this very hour I seem
    To be with Joseph in his dream!

    I see the fields of Bethlehem,
    And reapers many a one
    Bending unto their sickles' stroke,
    And Boaz looking on;
    And Ruth, the Moabitess fair,
    Among the gleaners stooping there!

    Again, I see a little child,
    His mother's sole delight,—
    God's living gift of love unto
    The kind, good Shunammite;
    To mortal pangs I see him yield,
    And the lad bear him from the field.

    The sun-bathed quiet of the hills,
    The fields of Galilee,
    That eighteen hundred years ago
    Were full of corn, I see;
    And the dear Saviour take his way
    'Mid ripe ears on the Sabbath day.

    Oh, golden fields of bending corn,
    How beautiful they seem!
    The reaper-folk, the piled-up sheaves,
    To me are like a dream;
    The sunshine, and the very air
    Seem of old time, and take me there!

  8. Agriculture

    by Lydia Sigourney

    Saw you the farmer at his plough,
    As you were passing by?
    Or wearied 'neath his noon-day toil
    When summer suns were high?

    And thought you that his lot was hard?
    And did you thank your God
    That you and yours were not condemn'd
    Thus like a slave to plod?

    Come, see him at his harvest-home,
    When garden, field, and tree,
    Conspire, with flowing stores to fill
    His barn and granary.

    His healthful children gaily sport
    Amid the new-mown hay,
    Or gladly aid, with vigorous arm,
    His task as best they may.

    The dog partakes his master's joy,
    And guards the loaded wain,
    The feathery people clap their wings,
    And lead their youngling train.

    Perchance, the hoary grandsire's eye,
    The glowing scene surveys,
    And breathes a blessing on his race,
    Or guides their evening praise.

    The Harvest-Giver is their friend,
    The Maker of the soil,
    And Earth, the Mother, gives them bread,
    And cheers their patient toil.

    Come, join them round their wintry hearth,
    Their heartfelt-pleasures see,
    And you can better judge how blest.
    The farmer's life may be.

  9. Threshing Time

    by C. L. Edson

    I.
    There's dew on the stubble and fog in the air,
    And a red eye peeps over the hill,
    And a white flag of steam, flaring up with a scream,
    Has awakened the dull, drowsing doves from their dream
    On the aged, gray granary sill.
    And through dew on the grasses and fog in the air,
    The throng of the threshers is gathering there.
    With toiling and tugging, and lifting and lugging,
    They belt the steam engine that's wheezing and chugging—
    And pitchforks are gleaming and laborers laugh,
    Preparing to hurry the wheat from the chaff.

    The smoke and the vapor float over the trees,
    And a stamping horse rattles a chain;
    And men with red handkerchiefs looped at their throats
    Are climbing the mountains of barley and oats,
    The beautiful Alps of the gram.
    The smoke and the vapor floats over the trees,
    And the sun now has routed the fog on the breeze,
    While creaking and turning and slapping and churning,
    The belted red thresher has lisped out its yearning—
    Has mumbled its hunger in mournfulest note,
    And the first sheaf is ground in its ravenous throat.

    II.
    "Look out, fellers. Let 'er go!
    Pitch them first few bundles slow.
    Hold on son, don't gash my hands
    When you're cuttin' off them bands.
    Wheat's a-spilling. Hey, you Jack!
    Run that cussed wagon back!
    Grab a wheel, Bill, help him there.
    We ain't got no wheat to spare.
    Wheat's too high now, I'll be bound,
    To thresh and throw it on the ground.
    Belts off now! And I just said
    You boys would get her over-fed.
    You mustn't try to rush her through;
    The straw's still tough and damp with dew.
    When the sun gets two hours high
    You will find it's plenty dry.
    All right, let 'er go again;
    Now we're threshin' out the grain.
    See how plump them berries is.
    That's the stuff that does the biz.
    That there wheat's from college seed
    Of selected Turkey breed;
    The land was fall plowed just as soon—
    All right, boy, she s blowed for noon.
    Ease her down and hold her steady,
    Women folks says grub is ready."

    III.
    Now the thirsty sun swings lower on his torrid path to earth,
    And the yellow straw is piling toward the sky.
    Say, a feller learns at threshin what a drink of water's worth,
    For it tastes as sweet as cider when you're dry.

    At last the sun is setting, just a crimson ball of fire,
    And a coolness all the atmosphere pervades;
    The stalwart feeder's dusty arms at last begin to tire,
    And the last sheaf passes downward through the blades.

    Now the whistle's long drawn wailing is a song of seraphim,
    And the stars light up in heaven's purple deep;
    And the smoking and the joking, how it rests the weary limb
    Ere bedtime ushers in the perfect sleep.

    IV.
    The day is over,
    The world is fed.
    And the farmer sleeps
    On his feather bed.

  10. Joy In the Corn Belt

    by C. L. Edson

    The seed is in the clover,
    The ear is in the shuck,
    The melons shout, "Come out, come out,
    And eat this garden-truck."

    The yellow ears are for the steers,
    The white are for the swine;
    Their hair and hides and bacon sides
    Are all for me and mine.

    The cider mug is by its jug,
    The sweet potatoes fry;
    And ma is shovin in the oven
    Pumpkin custard pie!

  11. The Growing Corn

    by Frederick J. Atwood

    Upon a thousand hills the corn
    Stands tall and rank and glossy green;
    Its broad leaves stir at early morn,
    And dewy diamonds drop between.

    A myriad banners wave o'erhead,
    And countless silken pennons fly;
    The tasseled plumes bend low, 't is said,
    And only silken ears know why.

    Those bending plumes—those upturned ears—
    Methinks it is the old, old story!
    Dame Nature still, with rapture hears
    The song she heard in Eden's glory.

    And so is wrought this miracle
    Of life and growth unto perfection,—
    A mystery that none may tell,
    Save that God gives to it direction.

  12. Walls of Corn

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Smiling and beautiful, heaven's dome,
    Bends softly over our prairie home.

    But the wide, wide lands that stretched away
    Before my eyes in the days of May,

    The rolling prairies' billowy swell,
    Breezy upland and timbered dell,

    Stately mansion and hut forlorn,
    All are hidden by walls of corn.

    All wide the world is narrowed down,
    To the walls of corn, now sere and brown.

    What do they hold—these walls of corn,
    Whose banners toss on the breeze of morn?

    He who questions may soon be told;
    A great state s wealth these walls enfold.

    No sentinels guard these walls of corn,
    Never is sounded the warder's horn.

    Yet the pillars are hung with gleaming gold,
    Left all unbarred, though thieves are bold.

    Clothes and food for the toiling poor,
    Wealth to heap at the rich man's door;

    Meat for the healthy and balm for him
    Who moans and tosses in chamber dim;

    Shoes for the barefooted, pearls to twine
    In the scented tresses of ladies fine;

    Things of use for the lowly cot.
    Where (bless the corn!) want cometh not;

    Luxuries rare for the mansion grand,
    Gifts of a rich and fertile land;—

    All these things and so many more
    It would fill a book to name them o'er,

    Are hid and held in these walls of corn,
    Whose banners toss in the breeze of morn.

    Open the atlas, conned by rule,
    In the olden days of the district school.

    Point to the rich and bounteous land,
    That yields such fruit to the toiler's hand.

    "Treeless desert," they called it then,
    Haunted by beasts, forsaken by men.

    Little they knew what wealth untold,
    Lay hid where the desolate prairies rolled.

    Who would have dared, with brush or pen,
    As this land is now, to paint it then?

    And how would the wise ones have laughed in scorn,
    Had prophet foretold these walls of corn,
    Whose banners toss in the breeze of morn!

  13. A Ballad of the Corn

    by S. H. M. Byers

    Oh, the undulating prairies,
    And the fields of yellow corn,
    Like a million soldiers waiting for the fray.
    Oh, the rustling of the corn leaves
    Like a distant fairy's horn
    And the notes the fairy bugles seem to play.

    "We have risen from the bosom
    Of the beauteous mother earth,
    Where the farmer plowed his furrow straight and long.
    There was gladness and rejoicing
    When the summer gave us birth,
    In the tumult and the dancing and the song.

    "When the sumach turns to scarlet,
    And the vines along the lane
    Are garmented in autumn's golden wine—
    Then the land shall smile for plenty,
    And the toiler for his pain,
    When the soldiers of our army stand in line.

    "With our shining blades before us,
    And our banners flaming far,
    Want and hunger shall be slain forevermore.
    And the cornfield's lord of plenty
    In his golden-covered car
    Then shall stop at every happy toiler's door."

    Oh, the sunshine and the beauty
    On the fields of ripened corn,
    And the wigwams and the corn-rows where they stand.
    In the lanes I hear the music
    Of the faintly blowing horn
    And the blessed Indian summer's on the land.

  14. The Hayloft

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Through all the pleasant meadow-side
    The grass grew shoulder-high,
    Till the shining scythes went far and wide
    And cut it down to dry.

    Those green and sweetly smelling crops
    They led in waggons home;
    And they piled them here in mountain tops
    For mountaineers to roam.

    Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail,
    Mount Eagle and Mount High;—
    The mice that in these mountains dwell,
    No happier are than I!

    Oh, what a joy to clamber there,
    Oh, what a place for play,
    With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
    The happy hills of hay!

  15. The Fields of Corn

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    The harvest ends, and the song of the reaper
    Dies away to its closing strain.
    Skies of the midsummer, hotter and deeper,
    Bend over shorn fields and shocks of grain.

    Fierce is the breath of the July weather;
    Tropic heats on the wind are borne;
    The grass and the clover are dying together;
    Yet brave and green stands the fields of corn.

    Brave and green, and with banners streaming,
    Wooing the breezes at hottest noon;
    Wider flung when the world is dreaming.
    Spreading broadly beneath the moon.

    The days are cloudless, the air aquiver,
    Palpatant, pulsing with waves of heat;
    Crispy the aspen leaves quake and shiver,
    The cracked earth scorches unwary feet.

    The brown thrush, silent, flits through the hedges,
    Mute in their coverts the wood-birds hide;
    Farther the creek shrinks back from its edges,
    The springs cease flowing, the wells are dried.

    Still, while the grass and clover are dying,
    With strong roots deep in the prairie's breast,
    Plumed and tassled with banners flying,
    The tall corn tosses each lordly crest.

    Enter the field, a forest hangs over;
    Seen from above, 'tis a dark green sea,
    Gleaming with lights where the sun, like a lover,
    Showers his kisses so fierce and so free.

    Lo, through the cornfields a miracle passes,
    Vainly attempted by magic of old.
    Sunlight and salts and invisible gasses
    Here are transmitted to bars of gold.

    Triumph of alchemy; daily and nightly
    Wrought on tlie silence before our eyes
    Miracle, yet do we note it lightly;
    Wonders familiar wake no surprise.

    Sole dependence of many a toiler,
    Watching the night, noon and morn skies,
    Fearing, trembling, lest the drouth, the spoiler,
    Sear with hot fingers the fields of corn.

    Still, as yet, while the clover is dying,
    While the buds fall dead e'er the flowers are born.
    With life intact, and with banners flying,
    Green and beautiful stands the corn.

  16. The Cornfield

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    I went across the pasture lot
    When not a one was watching me.
    Away beyond the cattle barns
    I climbed a little crooked tree.

    And I could look down on the field
    And see the corn and how it grows.
    Across the world and up and down
    In very straight and even rows.

    And far away and far away-
    I wonder if the farmer man
    Knows all about the corn and how
    It comes together like a fan.

  17. The Old Cane Mill

    by Nellie Gregg Tomlinson

    "What's sorghum?" Don't you know sorghum?
    My gran'son nigh sixteen,
    Don t boys know nothin' nowadays?
    Beats all I ever seen.
    Why sorghum's the bulliest stuff
    Wuz ever made ter eat.
    You spread it thick on homemade bread;
    It's most oncommon sweet.

    "Come from?" Wall yer jist better bet
    It don't come from no can.
    Jus' b'iled down juice from sorghum cane,
    Straight I'way 'lasses bran'.
    "What's cane?" It's some like corn, yer know,
    An' topped with plumes o' seed.
    Grows straight an' tall on yaller clay
    That wouldn't grow a weed.

    Long in September when 'twuz ripe,
    The cane-patch battle field
    Wuz charged by boys with wooden swords,
    Good temper wuz their shield.
    They stripped the stalks of all their leaves,
    Then men, with steel knives keen
    Slashed off the heads and cut the stalks
    An' piled them straight an' clean.

    The tops wuz saved ter feed the hens,
    Likewise fer nex' year's seed.
    The farmer allus has ter save
    Against the futur's need.
    The neighbors cum from miles erbout
    An' fetched the cane ter mill.
    They stacked it high betwixt two trees,
    At Gran'dads, on the hill.

    An' ol' hoss turned the cane mill sweep,
    He led hisself erroun.
    The stalks wuz fed inter the press,
    From them the sap wuz groun'.
    This juice run through a little trough
    Ter pans beneath a shed;
    There it wuz b'iled an' skimmed and b'iled,
    Till it wuz thick an' red.

    Then it wuz cooled an' put in bar'ls
    An' toted off to town
    While us kids got ter lick the pan,
    Which job wuz dun up brown.
    Gee whiz! but we did hev good times
    At taffy pullin' bees.
    We woun' the taffy roun' girls' necks—
    Bob wuz the biggest tease.

    Inside the furnace, on live coals,
    We het cane stalks red hot,
    Then hit 'em hard out on the groun'—
    Yer oughter hear 'em pop!
    Sometimes a barefoot boy would step
    Inter the skimmin's hole,
    Er pinch his fingers in the mill,
    Er fall off from the pole.

    When winter winds went whis'lin' through
    The door an' winder cracks,
    An' piled up snow wuz driftin'
    Till yer couldn't see yer tracks,
    Then we all drawed roun' the table
    An' passed the buckwheat cakes,
    Er mebbe it wuz good corn bread.
    "What's sorghum?" Good lan' sakes.

    Wall, son, yer hev my symperthy;
    Yer've missed a lot, I swan.
    Oh, sure yer dance an' joy-ride
    Frum ev'nin' untel dawn,
    Yer've football, skates an' golf ter he'p
    The passin' time ter kill,
    But give me mem'ry's boyhood days,
    Erroun' the ol' cane mill.

  18. The Old Pasture

    by Isaac Cobb

    The green old pasture by the wood,
    Where grazed the oxen, sheep and cows,
    Where many a noble beech-tree stood,
    And many a maple spread its boughs,
    In fancy I behold once more,
    And look on scenes I knew of yore.

    The little knolls where mosses grew,
    The ragged stumps of fallen pines,
    The vernal flowers of modest hue,
    On upright stems and trailing vines,
    In memory again appear,
    And songs of birds I seem to hear.

    There was a brook where fishes dwelt,
    And dragon-flies on fierce wings played;
    Where blue-flags bloomed, and where we knelt
    To gather lilies as we strayed;—
    Where reeds and rushes erewhile throve,
    Which often into caps we wove.

    No wild beasts had their lurking bowers
    Within the precincts of the wood,
    Though childish fancy at late hours
    Looked thitherward in trembling mood;
    For bears and wolves too often were
    The theme of stories meant to scare.

    The squirrel lived in hollow trees,
    And sometimes burrowed in the ground:
    Oft chattering, his mate to please,
    He told of nuts and acorns found;
    He ruffed his fur ill very glee,
    And looked defiantly at me.

    The woodchuck had, beneath a knoll,
    A home which he himself had made.
    He never wandered from his hole,
    When boys or dogs to watch him staid;
    But still he found a chance to stray,
    And nibbled clover every day.

    The tuneful thrush, with answering note,
    To cheer his lonely bride essayed;
    The whip-poor-will swelled wide his throat,
    When evening ruled the solemn glade,—
    A terror oft to wicked youth,
    When they forgot to tell the truth.

    An old gray owl we sometimes heard,
    Though where he lived I never learned;
    He was a wondrous knowing bird,
    Though what he knew we scarce discerned:
    He hooted through the hours of night
    A solo to the moon's pale light.

    Such was the pasture that I knew,
    To which at morn I drove the cows;
    They loved the grasses which there grew,
    And on the leaves of shrubs to browse,
    But came at sunset down the lea,
    And waited at the bars for me.

    But now, alas! the iron rail
    Extends across that pasture green,
    And, rolling through the sylvan dale,
    The locomotive train is seen;
    While shrill, hoarse sounds transfix with fear
    The dwellers of the forest near.

    The wood, the brook, how changed are they!
    Where are our favorite birds and flowers?
    They cheer not as in childhood's day
    Our cherished haunts in sylvan bowers;
    No more the cows wait at the bars,
    As when there were no railway cars.

  19. The Old Home Barn

    by Edward Henry Elwell

    On a Painting by Harry Brown

    Yes, 'tis the same! The old home barn!
    Scene of my boyhood plays;
    How many memories, sweet and sad,
    Rise up from those old days.

    Through the open door again I ride
    On hayrack heaped full high,
    And toss to the mow the fragrant store,
    Born of the summer sky.

    I leap from the beam, and, buried deep,
    Emerge with laugh and shout;
    Hunt in the hay the stolen nest,
    The hidden eggs seek out.

    Old Dobbin neighs from behind his crib,
    I hear the oxen's tread,
    The breath of the kine comes sweet to me—
    But where is the colt I fed?

    On the floor the hens are scratching still;
    The stout farm-wagon, too, is there;
    The carryall that carried all
    In state to the county fair.

    How rung the barn with merry glee
    When the husking-bee came round,
    And cheeks were aglow with blushes deep,
    When the bright red ears were found.

    Through the open door, across the road,
    A picture framed I see,
    The fields, the wood, the hills afar,
    That hid the world from me.

    What lay beyond I pondered deep,
    A realm most fair it seemed;
    And much I wished to tread its ways
    Of which I long had dreamed.

    I've wandered far; the world so wide,
    That still has lured me on,
    Ne'er gave to me a scene so fair
    As that I gaze upon.

    The old home barn, in boyhood's days,
    A pleasure palace reared;
    To-day it stands a temple filled
    With memories e'er endeared.

    O Artist of the magic wand
    Which thus recalls the past,
    Your work shall hang in memory's hall
    So long as life shall last.

  20. The Old Farmhouse

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    A crystal spring, a sunny hill,
    A gray old house with mossy sill,
    Hemmed in by orchard trees,
    With massive trunks of age untold,
    Whose luscious fruits, like mounds of gold
    When autumn nights grow crisp and cold,
    Lay heaped about their knees.

    And when the trees, bare, gaunt and grim,
    Tnvsing aloft each naked limb,
    Breasted the sleety rain;
    When the summer sounds were heard no more,
    When birds had sought a southern shore,
    When flowers lay dead about the door,
    And winter reigned again:

    Then met the household band beside
    A clean swept hearth, a chimney wide,
    Where roared a maple fire.
    When all the streams were fettered fast,
    When fiercely blew the wintry blast,
    And clouds of snow went whirling past.
    The logs were piled the higher.

    How fondly memory recalls
    The cheer within those old gray walls,
    Beside that shining hearth.
    peaceful scene of calm content!
    Where happy faces came and went,
    And heart with heart was closely blent,
    In sadness as in mirth!

    I see them all: the aged sire
    Deep in some book; the glowing fire
    Gleams on his silver hair.
    The mother knits; her loving eye
    Smiles on the children flitting by;
    Her needles, clicking as they fly,
    Tell of her household care.

    A group of stalwart boys I see,
    Brimful of mirth—as boys will be—
    When evening tasks were done:
    And—least of all—a little maid,
    Her small head crowned with auburn braid,
    Who, when the merry games were played,
    Was foremost in the fun.

    How gay we were! what songs we sang,
    Till the old walls with echoes rang,
    While the wind roared without.
    Again we sat, wild-eyed and pale,
    And listened to some ancient tale—
    How witches rode upon the gale,
    Or white ghosts roamed about.

    'Twas long ago; those days are o'er:
    I hear those songs no more, no more,
    Yet listen while I weep.
    Time rules us all. No joys abide.
    That household band is scattered wide,
    And some lie on the green hillside,
    Wrapped in a dreamless sleep.

  21. A Country Home

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    A nook among the hills, a little farm,
    Whose fertile acres yield us daily bread:
    A homely, low-browed dwelling, snug and warm,
    With wide blue skies hung overhead.

    No costly splendor here no gilded glow;
    No dear bought pictures hang upon the walls;
    But bright and happy faces come and go,
    And through the windows God's sweet sunshine falls.

    We are not rich in heaps of hoarded gold;
    We are not poor, for we can keep at bay
    The poor man's hunting spectres, want and cold,
    Can keep from owing debts we cannot pay.

    With wholesome plenty is our table spread,
    With genial comfort glows our evening fire;
    The fierce night winds may battle overhead—
    Safe in our shelter, though strife be dire.

    When days grow long, and winter's storms are o'er,
    Here come the first birds of the early spring,
    And build their cunning nests beside the door,
    Teaching sweet lessons as they work and sing.

    Here come our friends—a dear and cherished few—
    Dearer, perchance, than if they numbered more:
    We greet them with a hand-clasp warm and true,
    And give them of the best we have in store.

    What though the rooms be small, and low the roof?
    What though we can but offer simple fare?
    It matters not; so friendships warp and woof
    Are spun of gold, for these we need not care.

    We hear the great world surging like a sea,
    But the loud roar of winds and waves at war,
    Subdued by distance, comes melodiously,
    A soft and gentle murmur, faint and far.

    We see the small go up, the great come down,
    And bless the peaceful safety of our lot.
    The broken scepter and the toppling crown,
    And crash of falling thrones—these shake us not.

    We have some weary toil to struggle through,
    Some trials, that we bravely strive to meet:
    We have our sorrows, as all mortals do;
    We have our joys, too, pure, and calm, and sweet.

    Is such a life too even in its flow?
    Too silent, calm, too barren of event?
    Its very joys to still? I do not know:
    I think he conquers all who wins content.

  22. Sowing

    by Colfax Burgoyne Harman

    The swain who sows,
    When cold wind blows,
    May gather golden grain;
    But who delays,
    Till summer days,
    His sowing reaps in vain.

  23. The Breaking of the Drought

    by Frederick J. Atwood

    Listen!—it rains; it rains!
    The prayer of the grass is heard;
    The thirsty ground drinks eagerly
    As a famished man eats bread.
    The moan of the trees is hushed,
    And the violets under the banks
    Lift up their heads so gratefully,
    And smilingly give thanks.

  24. The Cunning Old Crow

    by Anonymous

    On the limb of an oak sat a cunning old crow,
    And chatted away with glee,
    As he saw the old farmer go out to sow,
    And he cried, "It's all for me!

    "Look, look, how he scatters his seeds around;
    How wonderfully kind to the poor!
    If he'd empty it down in a pile on the ground,
    I could find it much better, I'm sure!

    "I've learned all the tricks of this wonderful man,
    Who has such regard for the crow
    That he lays out his grounds in a regular plan,
    And covers his corn in a row.

    "He must have a very great fancy for me;
    He tries to entrap me enough,
    But I measure his distance as well as he,
    And when he comes near, I'm off."

  25. Grandmother's Farm

    by Anonymous

    My grandmother lives on a farm
    Just twenty miles from town;
    She’s sixty-five years old, she says;
    Her name is Grandma Brown.

    Her farm is very large and fine;
    There’s meadow, wood and field.
    And orchards which all kinds of fruits
    Most plentifully yield.

    Butter she churns, and makes nice cheese;
    They are so busy there,
    If mother should stay with me too,
    I’d like to do my share.

    I go out with the haymakers,
    And tumble on the hay;
    They put me up upon the load,
    And home we drive away.

    I go into the pleasant fields
    And gather berries bright;
    They’ve many, many thousands there,
    All fresh and sweet and ripe.

    A pretty brook runs through the farm,
    Singing so soft and sweet:
    I sit upon the grassy bank,
    And bathe my little feet.

    A farmer I would like to be,
    They live so pleasantly;
    They must be happy while they work,
    Singing so cheerfully.

    I think I’ll save all that I get,
    And earn all that I can
    And buy me such a pleasant farm
    When I grow up a man.

  26. Amid the Corn

    by Hattie Howard

    When roasting ears are peeping through
    Their silken tassel curls,
    When corn leaves glisten in the dew
    Like ribbons strewn with pearls;
    When Phoebus' splendor is revealed
    And gilds the summer morn,
    I love to walk the furrowed field
    Among the rows of corn.

    It brings to mind those vanished days
    In adolescence sweet,
    When through familiar seas of maze
    With ardent, childish feet
    That never tired, the glebe I trod
    The "hired man" to warn
    Where grew the tares, or where a clod
    Obstructed hills of corn.

    A happy home upon the farm
    In memory holds a place,
    That city life with all its charm
    Can never quite efface.
    O give me back the days of yore!
    When I, a farmer born,
    In pantalet and pinafore
    Grew up amid the corn.

    O that I could to nature true
    From etiquette relax,
    And follow, as I used to do,
    Papa's unerring tracks!
    A scholar, who could wield the pen,
    Whose honors well were borne,
    Was he—this noblest, best of men—
    Who plowed and hoed the corn.

    I'd rather be, though dumb and droll,
    An effigy to-day,
    A man of straw upon a pole
    To scare the crows away,
    Than like a figure fashion-spun
    A palace to adorn,
    Disdainfully look down on one
    Who works amid the corn.

  27. Spring Work

    by Mary B. C. Slade

    Plough the land, plough the land;
    Hold the handles with each hand;
    Furrows keep straight and deep,
    Firm and steady stand.
    Quickly turn around we may,
    Ploughing back the other way;
    Plough the land, plough the land—
    Farmers understand.

    Sow the seed, sow the seed,
    Little birds will come and feed;
    Never mind, you will find
    Much they leave behind.
    Soon the tender blades will spring,
    Just as green as anything;
    Sow the seed, sow the seed,
    Pleasant work indeed.

    Now we rest, now we rest,
    After labor that is best;
    First you know, green will show
    Where the grain we sow.
    Soon you'll see a welcome sight,
    Field so pretty, green, and bright.
    Spring-time through, glad are you
    Farmer's work to do?

  28. Making Hay

    by Mary B. C. Slade

    Through the meadow-grass, dewy, and tall, and green,
    Drives, whirring and whizzing, the mowing-machine,
    The horses are prancing, the sharp blades shine,
    And the grass lies low in a level line.

    To and fro fly the birds, and chipper and chatter,
    And seem to be wondering what is the matter;
    While Bobolink's wife makes a frightened ado,
    As she looks for her nest where the horses went through.

    The day grows hot, and the daisies wither;
    The funny horse-tedder drives hither and thither,
    And scatters and tosses the grain as it goes,
    Like a monstrous grasshopper, stubbing his toes.

    Then the rake comes on where the tedder has been,
    And rakes up and drops out its lines of green;
    And the field so fair in the early morn,
    When the noontime comes, is all shaven and shorn.

    So the wilting grass, and the fading clover,
    They all day long pitch over and over;
    And men with their forks, as the sun goes down,
    Pile the little round heaps, like an Esquimaux town.

    While the daylight fades in the golden west,
    Let us lie on the odorous hay and rest;
    Our couch is as soft as a velvet throne,
    And sweet as a breeze from the spice-isles blown.

    To-morrow the carts for the hay will come,
    And the willing old oxen will carry it home;
    And the children shall ride to the barn away,
    On the very tip-top of the load of hay.

  29. Milking Time

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    When supper time is almost come,
    But not quite here, I cannot wait,
    And so I take my china mug
    And go down by the milking gate.

    The cow is always eating shucks
    And spilling off the little silk.
    Her purple eyes are big and soft-
    She always smells like milk.

    And Father takes my mug from me,
    And then he makes the stream come out.
    I see it going in my mug
    And foaming all about.

    And when it's piling very high,
    And when some little streams commence
    To run and drip along the sides,
    He hands it to me through the fence.

  30. The Hens

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    The night was coming very fast;
    It reached the gate as I ran past.

    The pigeons had gone to the tower of the church
    And all the hens were on their perch,

    Up in the barn, and I thought I heard
    A piece of a little purring word.

    I stopped inside, waiting and staying,
    To try to hear what the hens were saying.

    They were asking something, that was plain,
    Asking it over and over again.

    One of them moved and turned around,
    Her feathers made a ruffled sound,

    A ruffled sound, like a bushful of birds,
    And she said her little asking words.

    She pushed her head close into her wing,
    But nothing answered anything.

  31. The Deserted Farm

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    An unkept field, whose grasses greet the sun,
    · And pure, white daisies spread like fallen snow;
    The shady nooks, where trout brooks gaily run,
    And, 'mong the trees, the farm-house quaint and low.

    Like some worn soldier on the battle fields
    It stands upon the old familiar ground,
    And to the past it's former strength it yields,
    While naught but desolation broods around.

    'Neath shutters closed the phcebe builds her nest,
    While near the eaves the little sparrows fly; All undisturbed they sing their young to rest,
    As did a mother in the years gone by.

    The wicker gate is falling to decay,
    The narrow paths with growing weeds abound;
    The long, low shed thro' which the sunbeams stray,
    Is leaning eastward to the grassy ground.

    The barn door creaks upon it's hinges old;
    The prop that stayed it from the wfnds that blow
    No more stands guard against the heat and cold—
    The summer's rain and winter's drifts of snow.

    The lofts, once laden with the new mown hay,
    No longer echo with the merry din;
    From beam to beam, where children loved to play,
    The spiders many a silken cobweb spin.

    No more the tinkle of the distant bell
    Disturbs the hush of daylight's waning hours;
    The pasture bars, beside a covered well,
    Are twined with grape-vines and with fair wild flowers.

    The "Bouncing Bet" is growing near the gate,
    The climbing roses bloom beside the door;
    The brave "Sweet William," left alone to fate,
    Has struggled upward thro' the grass once more.

    The clover blossoms, pink and white and red,
    Fill all the balmy air with perfume sweet;
    The honey-suckle proudly bend s it's head
    Close to the door-stone worn by many feet.

    Where once a maiden slied a bit of green
    Within her shoe, and ·there expectant stood,
    To-day the self same "Grandma's pride" is seen,—
    A little bunch of fragrant southern-wood.

    The low-eaved porch supports the clinging vine,
    While thro' the roof the summer rain-drops fall;
    Upon thee floor a rusty hook and line,
    A well-worn bench and silence over all.

    A well-sweep, overgrown with moss and mould,
    Shelters a hornet's nest within it's nook;
    Above the running waters clear and cold
    An old tin dipper hangs upon it's hook.

    The dull-edged scythe swings idly in the sun,
    A grindstone crumbles 'neath the maple's shade;
    A cart-wheel and the faded coat of one
    Who long ago beneath the sod was laid.

    Tho' gone the smile of each familiar face
    And merry voices break no more the calm,
    Yet Memory sweet shall hallow all the place
    And flood with peace the old deserted farm.

  32. The American Farmer

    by Thomas Cogswell Upham

    The thoughtful farmer reads the Sacred Book,
    Then, with the wife and children of his heart,
    With mind serene, and reverential look,
    He humbly kneels, as is the Christian's part,
    And worships Thee, Our Father, Thee, who art
    The good man's hope, the poor man's only stay;
    Who hast a balm for sorrow's keenest dart,
    A smile for those to thee who humbly pray,
    Which, like the morning sun, drives every cloud away.

    Thou Lord of heaven above and earth below,
    Our Maker and our Guide, our hope, our all!
    Be thou the farmer's friend. In want and woe,
    Teach him to look to thee, on thee to call;
    Nor let his steps in error's pathway fall.
    With him preserve his loved, his native land;
    In innocence and honor let her stand;
    And centuries yet to come, oh, hold her in thy hand!

  33. The Fire-Flies in the Wheat

    by Harriet Prescott Spofford

    Ah, never of a summer night
    Will life again be half as sweet
    As in that country of delight
    Where straying, staying, with happy feet,
    We watched the fire-flies in the wheat.

    Full dark and deep the starless night,
    Still throbbing with the summer heat;
    There was no ray of any light,
    But dancing, glancing, far and fleet,
    Only the fire-flies in the wheat.

    In that great country of delight,
    Where youth and love the borders meet,
    We paused and lingered for the sight,
    While sparkling, darkling, flashed the sheet
    Of splendid fire-flies in the wheat.

    That night the earth seemed but a height
    Whereon to rest our happy feet,
    Watching one moment that wide flight
    Where lightening, brightening, mount and meet
    Those burning fire-flies in the wheat.

    What whispered words whose memory might
    Make an old heart with madness beat,
    Whose sense no music can recite,
    That chasing, racing, rhythmic beat
    Sings out with fire-flies in the wheat.

    O never of such blest despite
    Dreamed I, whom fate was wont to cheat—
    And like a star your face, and white—
    While mingling, tingling, wild as sleet,
    Stormed all those fire-flies through the wheat.

    Though of that country of delight
    The farther bounds we shall not greet,
    Still, sweet of all, that summer night,
    That maddest, gladdest night most sweet,
    Watching the fire-flies in the wheat!

  34. The Season in the Country

    by Alonzo Jackson Grover

    I love to muse these pensive days,
    The Indian summer through,
    And climb the hills and tread the ways
    In boyhood's haunts anew.

    A thousand voices of the air,
    The sea, the earth, the sky,
    Enchanting whisper to me there,
    Like spirits from on high.

    The falling leaves speak mournfully,
    The fading flowers sigh;
    The sea pours forth grand minstrelsy,
    Benignant smiles the sky.

    The beauteous hills bedeck themselves
    In scarlet, gray and gold;
    Green laurel droops and ivy clings
    O'er cragged rocks and old.

    The mountains rise in grandeur up
    Above the ocean's beds,
    And sombre clouds their curtains loop
    In beauty round their heads.

    The birds ring out their parting songs, The brooks run laughing by,
    The squirrels in the chestnut woods
    Gather their stores on high.

    The speckled trout and darting pike
    In shallow waters spawn;
    The bobolink's metallic notes
    Are tinkling in the lawn.

    The farmer in the orchard shakes
    The golden apples down,
    Or in the meadow ample ricks
    Of gathered hay will crown.

    The partridge on his drumming log
    The listening sportsman hears;
    And lo! a musket's sharp report,
    Resounding, strikes my ears.

    I see and hear all these, and more,
    Through autumn's dreamy haze,
    And long to drop the added years
    Since childhood's happy days.