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Pastoral Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Useful Plow by Anonymous
  2. Farm Breakfast by John Clare
  3. The Laughing Corn by Carl Sandburg
  4. Farmer's Boy by John Clare
  5. Farm-Yard Song by J. T.Trowbridge
  6. John Barleycorn by Robert Burns
  7. Driving Home the Cows by Kate Putnam Osgood
  8. The Old Oaken Bucket by Samuel Woodworth
  9. A Farm Walk by Christina Rossetti
  10. The Windmill by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  11. At the Mill by Freeman E. Miller
  12. The Old Mill by the River by Isaac McLellan
  13. To a Mouse by Robert Burns
  14. For a' That and a' That by Robert Burns
  15. "To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent" by John Keats
  16. A Song of Early Autumn by Richard Watson Gilder
  17. The Old Farm by O. Henry
  18. The Orchard by John Jarvis Holden
  19. The Scarecrow by Annie Stone
  20. The Harvest Moon by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  21. The Goose Explains by Amos Russel Wells
  22. The Country Life by Richard Henry Stoddard
  23. Living on a Farm by Anonymous
  24. The Corn Song by John Greanleaf Whittier
  25. I worked for chaff, and earning wheat by Emily Dickinson
  26. The Old Barn by Madison Cawein
  27. The Mill-Water by Madison Cawein
  28. The Farmstead by Madison Cawein
  29. The Old Homestead by William Henry Venable
  30. The Old Gray Wall by Bliss Carman
  31. In an Old Barn by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  32. The Stack Behind the Barn by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  33. The Furrow by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  34. The Sower by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  35. The Old Grist-Mill by Richard Henry Stoddard
  36. The Old Discarded Mill by James Hampton Lee
  37. Putting in the Seed by Robert Frost
  38. A Time to Talk by Robert Frost
  39. My Neighbor's Mill by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  40. Thistle Down by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  41. A Picture by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  42. The Sower by Mathilde Blind
  43. Reapers by Mathilde Blind
  44. Apple-Gathering by Mathilde Blind
  45. A Green Cornfield by Christina Rossetti
  46. The Rain Upon The Corn by Ed Blair
  47. September by Ellen P. Allerton
  48. Berrying Song by Lucy Larcom
  49. The Road to the Pool by Grace Hazard Conkling
  50. The Stake and Rider Fence by W. E. Hutchinson
  51. Songs in a Cornfield by Christina Rossetti
  52. The Picnic by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
  53. The Mill Stream by Susan Francis Preston Clapp
  54. Shadows by Caroline W. D. Rich
  55. Calling the Cows by Hannah Augusta Moore
  56. New-Mown Hay by Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
  57. The Barley Field by Jean Blewett
  58. Nutting Song by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  59. Song of the Milkmaid by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  1. The Useful Plow

    With what content and merriment
    Their days are spent, whose minds are bent
    To follow the useful plow.

    The Useful Plow
    by Anonymous. A pastoral poem in the truest sense, The Useful Plow describes the beauty of everyday life and work in the country.

    A country life is sweet!
    In moderate cold and heat
    To walk in the air how pleasant and fair!
    In every field of wheat
    The fairest of flowers adorning the bowers,
    And every meadow's brow
    So that I say no courtier may
    Compare with them who clothe in gray
    And follow the useful plow

    They rise with the morning lark,
    And labor till almost dark,
    Then folding their sheep they hasten to sleep
    While every pleasant park
    Next morning is ringing with birds that are singing
    On each green tender bough.
    With what content and merriment
    Their days are spent, whose minds are bent
    To follow the useful plow.

  2. Farm Breakfast

    by John Clare

    Maids shout to breakfast in a merry strife,
    And the cat runs to hear the whetted knife,
    And dogs are ever in the way to watch
    The mouldy crust and falling bone to catch.
    The wooden dishes round in haste are set,
    And round the table all the boys are met;
    All know their own save Hodge who would be first,
    But every one his master leaves the worst.
    On every wooden dish, a humble claim,
    Two rude cut letters mark the owner's name;
    From every nook the smile of plenty calls,
    And rusty flitches decorate the walls,
    Moore's Almanack where wonders never cease—
    All smeared with candle snuff and bacon grease.

  3. The Laughing Corn

    The ears ripen in late summer
    And come on with a conquering laughter,

    The Laughing Corn
    Carl Sandburg
    by Carl Sandburg. Sandburg describes a scene of corn ripening on the stalk in this American farm poem.

    There was a high majestic fooling
    Day before yesterday in the yellow corn.

    And day after to-morrow in the yellow corn
    There will be high majestic fooling.

    The ears ripen in late summer
    And come on with a conquering laughter,
    Come on with a high and conquering laughter.

    The long-tailed blackbirds are hoarse.
    One of the smaller blackbirds chitters on a stalk
    And a spot of red is on its shoulder
    And I never heard its name in my life.

    Some of the ears are bursting.
    A white juice works inside.
    Cornsilk creeps in the end and dangles in the wind.
    Always—I never knew it any other way—
    The wind and the corn talk things over together.
    And the rain and the corn and the sun and the corn
    Talk things over together.

    Over the road is the farmhouse.
    The siding is white and a green blind is slung loose.
    It will not be fixed till the corn is husked.
    The farmer and his wife talk things over together.

  4. Farmer's Boy

    by John Clare

    He waits all day beside his little flock
    And asks the passing stranger what's o'clock,
    But those who often pass his daily tasks
    Look at their watch and tell before he asks.
    He mutters stories to himself and lies
    Where the thick hedge the warmest house supplies,
    And when he hears the hunters far and wide
    He climbs the highest tree to see them ride—
    He climbs till all the fields are blea and bare
    And makes the old crow's nest an easy chair.
    And soon his sheep are got in other grounds—
    He hastens down and fears his master come,
    He stops the gap and keeps them all in bounds
    And tends them closely till it's time for home.

  5. Farm-Yard Song

    by J. T.Trowbridge. This classic poem describes a day's work on the farm.

    Over the hill the farm-boy goes,
    His shadow lengthens along the land,
    A giant staff in a giant hand;
    In the poplar-tree, above the spring,
    The katydid begins to sing;
    The early dews are falling;—
    Into the stone-heap darts the mink;
    The swallows skim the river's brink;
    And home to the woodland fly the crows,
    When over the hill the farm-boy goes,
    Cheerily calling,—
    "Co', boss! co', boss! co'! co'! co'!"
    Farther, farther over the hill,
    Faintly calling, calling still,—
    "Co', boss! co', boss! co'! co'!"

    Into the yard the farmer goes,
    With grateful heart, at the close of day;
    Harness and chain are hung away;
    In the wagon-shed stand yoke and plow;
    The straw's in the stack, the hay in the mow;
    The cooling dews are falling;—
    The friendly sheep his welcome bleat,
    The pigs come grunting to his feet,
    The whinnying mare her master knows,
    When into the yard the farmer goes,
    His cattle calling,—
    "Co', boss! co', boss! co'! co'! co'!"
    While still the cow-boy, far away,
    Goes seeking those that have gone astray,—
    "Co', boss! co', boss! co'! co'!"

    Now to her task the milkmaid goes.
    The cattle come crowding through the gate,
    Lowing, pushing, little and great;
    About the trough, by the farm-yard pump,
    The frolicsome yearlings frisk and jump,
    While the pleasant dews are falling;—
    The new-milch heifer is quick and shy,
    But the old cow waits with tranquil eye;
    And the white stream into the bright pail flows,
    When to her task the milkmaid goes,
    Soothingly calling,—
    "So, boss! so, boss! so! so! so!"
    The cheerful milkmaid takes her stool,
    And sits and milks in the twilight cool,
    Saying, "So! so, boss! so! so!"

    To supper at last the farmer goes.
    The apples are pared, the paper read,
    The stories are told, then all to bed.
    Without, the crickets' ceaseless song
    Makes shrill the silence all night long;
    The heavy dews are falling.
    The housewife's hand has turned the lock;
    Drowsily ticks the kitchen clock;
    The household sinks to deep repose;
    But still in sleep the farm-boy goes.
    Singing, calling,—
    "Co', boss! co', boss! co'! co'! co'!"
    And oft the milkmaid, in her dreams,
    Drums in the pail with the flashing streams,
    Murmuring, "So, boss! so!"

  6. John Barleycorn

    by Robert Burns, 1782. In John Barleycorn the reader experiences a harvest from the other perspective - the barleycorn's. In this farm poem, Burns, the "Plowman Poet," creatively uses personification to unfold the story of the harvest through the eyes of some barley corn.

    There was three kings into the east,
    Three kings both great and high,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn should die.

    They took a plough and plough'd him down,
    Put clods upon his head,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn was dead.

    But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
    And show'rs began to fall;
    John Barleycorn got up again,
    And sore surpris'd them all.

    The sultry suns of Summer came,
    And he grew thick and strong;
    His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,
    That no one should him wrong.

    The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
    When he grew wan and pale;
    His bending joints and drooping head
    Show'd he began to fail.

    His colour sicken'd more and more,
    He faded into age;
    And then his enemies began
    To show their deadly rage.

    They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
    And cut him by the knee;
    Then tied him fast upon a cart,
    Like a rogue for forgerie.

    They laid him down upon his back,
    And cudgell'd him full sore;
    They hung him up before the storm,
    And turned him o'er and o'er.

    They filled up a darksome pit
    With water to the brim;
    They heaved in John Barleycorn,
    There let him sink or swim.

    They laid him out upon the floor,
    To work him farther woe;
    And still, as signs of life appear'd,
    They toss'd him to and fro.

    They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
    The marrow of his bones;
    But a miller us'd him worst of all,
    For he crush'd him between two stones.

    And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
    And drank it round and round;
    And still the more and more they drank,
    Their joy did more abound.

    John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
    Of noble enterprise;
    For if you do but taste his blood,
    'Twill make your courage rise

    'Twill make a man forget his woe;
    'Twill heighten all his joy;
    'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
    Tho' the tear were in her eye.

    Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
    Each man a glass in hand;
    And may his great posterity
    Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

  7. Driving Home the Cows

    The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes;
    For the heart must speak when the lips are dumb,

    – Kate Putnam Osgood
    Driving Home the Cows
    by Kate Putnam Osgood

    Out of the clover and blue-eyed grass
    He turned them into the river lane;
    One after another he let them pass,
    Then fastened the meadow bars again.

    Under the willows and over the hill,
    He patiently followed their sober pace;
    The merry whistle for once was still,
    And something shadowed the sunny face.

    Only a boy! and his father had said
    He never could let his youngest go:
    Two already were lying dead,
    Under the feet of the trampling foe.

    But after the evening work was done,
    And the frogs were loud in the meadow-swamp,
    Over his shoulder he slung his gun,
    And stealthily followed the footpath damp.

    Across the clover, and through the wheat,
    With resolute heart and purpose grim:
    Though the dew was on his hurrying feet,
    And the blind bat's flitting startled him.

    Thrice since then had the lanes been white,
    And the orchards sweet with apple-bloom;
    And now, when the cows came back at night,
    The feeble father drove them home.

    For news had come to the lonely farm
    That three were lying where two had lain;
    And the old man's tremulous, palsied arm
    Could never lean on a son's again.

    The summer day grew cool and late:
    He went for the cows when the work was done;
    But down the lane, as he opened the gate,
    He saw them coming one by one:

    Brindle, Ebony, Speckle, and Bess,
    Shaking their horns in the evening wind;
    Cropping the buttercups out of the grass,
    But who was it following close behind?

    Loosely swung in the idle air
    The empty sleeve of army blue;
    And worn and pale, from the crisping hair,
    Looked out a face that the father knew.

    For close-barred prisons will sometimes yawn,
    And yield their dead unto life again;
    And the day that comes with a cloudy dawn,
    In golden glory at last may wane.

    The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes;
    For the heart must speak when the lips are dumb,
    And under the silent evening skies
    Together they followed the cattle home.

  8. A Farm Walk

    by Christina Rossetti

    The year stood at its equinox
    And bluff the North was blowing,
    A bleat of lambs came from the flocks,
    Green hardy things were growing;
    I met a maid with shining locks
    Where milky kine were lowing.

    She wore a kerchief on her neck,
    Her bare arm showed its dimple,
    Her apron spread without a speck,
    Her air was frank and simple.

    She milked into a wooden pail
    And sang a country ditty,
    An innocent fond lovers' tale,
    That was not wise nor witty,
    Pathetically rustical,
    Too pointless for the city.

    She kept in time without a beat
    As true as church-bell ringers,
    Unless she tapped time with her feet,
    Or squeezed it with her fingers;
    Her clear unstudied notes were sweet
    As many a practised singer's.

    I stood a minute out of sight,
    Stood silent for a minute
    To eye the pail, and creamy white
    The frothing milk within it;

    To eye the comely milking maid
    Herself so fresh and creamy:
    "Good day to you," at last I said;
    She turned her head to see me:
    "Good day," she said, with lifted head;
    Her eyes looked soft and dreamy,

    And all the while she milked and milked
    The grave cow heavy-laden:
    I've seen grand ladies plumed and silked,
    But not a sweeter maiden;

    But not a sweeter, fresher maid
    Than this in homely cotton,
    Whose pleasant face and silky braid
    I have not yet forgotten.

    Seven springs have passed since then, as I
    Count with a sober sorrow;
    Seven springs have come and passed me by,
    And spring sets in to-morrow.

    I've half a mind to shake myself
    Free just for once from London,
    To set my work upon the shelf
    And leave it done or undone;

    To run down by the early train,
    Whirl down with shriek and whistle,
    And feel the bluff North blow again,
    And mark the sprouting thistle
    Set up on waste patch of the lane
    Its green and tender bristle,

    And spy the scarce-blown violet banks,
    Crisp primrose leaves and others,
    And watch the lambs leap at their pranks
    And butt their patient mothers.

    Alas, one point in all my plan
    My serious thoughts demur to:
    Seven years have passed for maid and man,
    Seven years have passed for her too;

    Perhaps my rose is overblown,
    Not rosy or too rosy;
    Perhaps in farm-house of her own
    Some husband keeps her cosey,
    Where I should show a face unknown.
    Good by, my wayside posy.

  9. The Old Oaken Bucket

    by Samuel Woodworth.

    How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood,
    When fond recollection presents them to view!
    The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild-wood,
    And every loved spot which my infancy knew!
    The wide-spreading pond, and the mill that stood by it,
    The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell,
    The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
    And e'en the rude bucket that hung in the well―
    The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket which hung in the well.

    That moss-covered vessel I hailed as a treasure,
    For often at noon, when returned from the field,
    I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,
    The purest and sweetest that nature can yield.
    How ardent I seized it, with hands that were glowing,
    And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell;
    Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing,
    And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well―
    The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket arose from the well.

    How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it
    As poised on the curb it inclined to my lips!
    Not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
    The brightest that beauty or revelry sips.
    And now, far removed from the loved habitation,
    The tear of regret will intrusively swell.
    As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,
    And sighs for the bucket that hangs in the well―
    The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket that hangs in the well!

  10. The Windmill

    O beautiful, awful summer day,
    What hast thou given, what taken away?

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The Windmill
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The famous "Fireside Poet" Longfellow writes a moderately long country poem about a picturesque windmill.

    The summer sun is sinking low;
    Only the tree-tops redden and glow:
    Only the weathercock on the spire
    Of the neighboring church is a flame of fire;
    All is in shadow below.

    O beautiful, awful summer day,
    What hast thou given, what taken away?
    Life and death, and love and hate,
    Homes made happy or desolate,
    Hearts made sad or gay!

    ... On the road of life one mile-stone more!
    In the book of life one leaf turned o'er!
    Like a red seal is the setting sun
    On the good and the evil men have done,—
    Naught can to-day restore!

    Behold! a giant am I!
    Aloft here in my tower,
    With my granite jaws I devour
    The maize, and the wheat, and the rye,
    And grind them into flour.

    I look down over the farms;
    In the fields of grain I see
    The harvest that is to be,
    And I fling to the air my arms,
    For I know it is all for me.

    I hear the sound of flails
    Far off, from the threshing-floors
    In barns, with their open doors,
    And the wind, the wind in my sails,
    Louder and louder roars.

    I stand here in my place,
    With my foot on the rock below,
    And whichever way it may blow,
    I meet it face to face,
    As a brave man meets his foe.

    And while we wrestle and strive,
    My master, the miller, stands
    And feeds me with his hands;
    For he knows who makes him thrive,
    Who makes him lord of lands.

    On Sundays I take my rest;
    Church-going bells begin
    Their low, melodious din;
    I cross my arms on my breast,
    And all is peace within.

  11. At the Mill

    by Freeman E. Miller

    The water-wheel goes 'round and 'round
    With heavy sighs of mournful sound,
    While dismal cries and weary moans
    Unite with sad and tearful groans,
    And weeping waves of water throw
    Afar the echoes of their sadness,
    And cadences of plaintive woe
    Dispel each little note of gladness.

    My daily life goes 'round and 'round,
    And rest for me is never found;
    The sobbing dirges of distress
    Are more than songs of happiness;
    The shadows of despairing doom
    Condemn to-day and curse to-morrow,
    And muffled terrors fill the gloom
    Which offers anguish to my sorrow.

    But hope, O, heart, for future weal!
    The waters rest beyond the wheel;
    So life may sing when toil is done
    And all its battles lost or won.
    There lives a sweeter music there,
    Of gentle and melodious measure.
    Where weeping never comes and where
    The ages perish into pleasure.

  12. The Old Mill by the River

    by Isaac McLellan

    Here in the years when life was bright
    With dewy mornings and sunset light,
    In the pleasant season of leafy June,
    In each idle, holiday afternoon
    I lov'd to wander with willow wand—
    I lov'd on the river border to stand
    And take the trout or the yellow bream
    That leap'd, that glanc'd athwart the stream.

    With broken window, with hingeless door,
    Thro' which the slanting sunbeams pour;
    With leaning gable, and settling wall,
    O'er which the draperied ivies fall;
    With rafter moldy, worm-eaten beam,
    O'er which the silken cobwebs stream,
    Fast by the river-banks serene
    The old forsaken mill is seen.
    Its roof shows many a chasm and rent,
    Its creaking vane is crack'd and bent,
    In and out the swallows fly
    Under the eaves their dwellings lie.
    The leather-wing'd bats, when day is dim,
    Thro' vacant rooms and granaries skim;
    Its shingles that ages ago were new,
    Splendid with painters' lavish hue,
    Are faded now and swing in the gale,
    Scarce held by the loosen'd rusty nail;
    The clapboards rattle and clank amain
    In gusts of the snow-fall and the rain,
    For the dust of many a lapsing year
    Hath writ its wasteful chronicle here.
    The dam o'er which the waters pour
    Is settling and crumbling by the shore;
    The slippery logs and mossy stone
    Yield to the current one by one;
    And swift thro' many a rent abyss
    The spouting rivulets foam and hiss,
    And soon must the crazy fabric decay,
    And the torrent sweep uncheck'd away.
    The water-wheel so black and vast,
    With beam like a battle-vessel's mast
    That once would churn with mighty sweep
    The boiling waters so dark and deep,
    Lies now a wreck in humbled pride,
    Trembling with each assault of the tide.
    Under the crumbling, blacken'd wheel
    The crystal bubbles circle and reel;
    Over and under the eddies boil
    Round molder'd timber and rotting post;
    In many a circling ripple they coil
    In sudden plunge, in wild turmoil,
    Now seen an instant, then quickly lost.

  13. To a Mouse

    by Robert Burns. This farm poem was inspired by true events. The story goes that "To a Mouse" was written while the Scotch farmer and plowman poet Robert Burns was plowing a field. As one of Burns' editors wrote: "John Blane, who had acted as gaudsman to Burns, and who lived sixty years afterward, had a distinct recollection of the turning up of the mouse. Like a thoughtless youth as he was, he ran after the creature to kill it, but was checked and recalled by his master, who he observed became thereafter thoughtful and abstracted. Burns, who treated his servants with the familiarity of fellow-labourers, soon afterward read the poem to Blane."


    Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
    O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
    Wi’ bickerin brattle!
    I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
    Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

    I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
    Has broken Nature’s social union,
    An’ justifies that ill opinion,
    Which makes thee startle,
    At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
    An’ fellow-mortal!

    I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
    What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
    A daimen-icker in a thrave
    ’S a sma’ request:
    I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
    An’ never miss ’t!

    Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
    It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
    An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
    O’ foggage green!
    An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
    Baith snell an’ keen!

    Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
    An’ weary Winter comin fast,
    An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
    Thou thought to dwell,
    Till crash! the cruel coulter past
    Out thro’ thy cell.

    That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
    Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
    Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
    But house or hald,
    To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
    An’ cranreuch cauld!

    ... But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!

    Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
    The present only toucheth thee:
    But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
    On prospects drear!
    An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
    I guess an’ fear!

  14. For a' That and a' That

    by Robert Burns. This famer's poem pays homage to the dignity of honest labor. Money doesn't make the man, and though he be poor, an honest man who works hard can still hold his head high. To be truly noble does not require having a noble title.

    Is there, for honest poverty,
    That hings his head, an' a' that?
    The coward slave, we pass him by,
    We dare be poor for a' that!
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Our toils obscure, an' a' that;
    The rank is but the guinea's stamp;
    The man's the gowd for a' that,

    What tho' on hamely fare we dine,
    Wear hoddin-gray, an' a' that;
    Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
    A man's a man for a' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Their tinsel show an' a' that;
    The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
    Is king o' men for a' that. ...

    Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord
    Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
    Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
    He's but a coof for a' that:
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    His riband, star, an' a' that,
    The man o' independent mind,
    He looks and laughs at a' that.

    A prince can mak a belted knight,
    A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
    But an honest man's aboon his might,
    Guid faith he mauna fa' that!
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Their dignities, an' a' that,
    The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
    Are higher rank than a' that.

    Then let us pray that come it may,
    As come it will for a' that,
    That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
    May bear the gree, an' a' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    It's coming yet, for a' that,
    That man to man, the warld o'er,
    Shall brothers be for a' that.

  15. "To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent"

    by John Keats. Here, the famous poet John Keats gives us a poem about country life vs city life.

    To one who has been long in city pent,
    'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
    And open face of heaven,— to breathe a prayer
    Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
    Who is more happy when with heart's content,
    Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
    Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
    And gentle tale of love and languishment?
    Returning home at evening, with an ear
    Catching the notes of Philomel,— and eye
    Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
    He mourns that day so soon has glided by,
    E'en like the passage of an angel's tear
    That falls through the clear ether silently.

  16. Ploughman Singing

    by John Clare. "O happiness, how simple is thy track." Singing has lifted the workers spirit in every age and here Clare writes a poem about the country worker doing just the same.

    Here morning in the ploughman's songs is met
    Ere yet one footstep shows in all the sky,
    And twilight in the east, a doubt as yet,
    Shows not her sleeve of grey to know her bye.
    Woke early, I arose and thought that first
    In winter time of all the world was I.
    The old owls might have hallooed if they durst,
    But joy just then was up and whistled bye
    A merry tune which I had known full long,
    But could not to my memory wake it back,
    Until the ploughman changed it to the song.
    O happiness, how simple is thy track.
    —Tinged like the willow shoots, the east's young brow
    Glows red and finds thee singing at the plough.

  17. A Song of Early Autumn

    by Richard Watson Gilder. This country poem paints in beautiful verse the country life in Autumn.

    When late in summer the streams run yellow,
    Burst the bridges and spread into bays;
    When berries are black and peaches are mellow,
    And hills are hidden by rainy haze;

    When the goldenrod is golden still,
    But the heart of the sunflower is darker and sadder;
    When the corn is in stacks on the slope of the hill,
    And slides o er the path the striped adder;

    When butterflies flutter from clover to thicket,
    Or wave their wings on the drooping leaf;
    When the breeze comes shrill with the call of the cricket,
    Grasshopper's rasp and rustle of sheaf;

    When high in the field the fern leaves wrinkle,
    And brown is the grass where the mowers have mown;
    When low in the meadow the cow bells tinkle,
    And small brooks crinkle o er stock and stone;

    When heavy and hollow the robin's whistle,
    And shadows are deep in the heat of noon;
    When the air is white with the down o the thistle,
    And the sky is red with the harvest moon;

    O then be chary young Robert and Mary,
    No time let slip not a moment wait!
    If the fiddle would play it must stop its tuning;
    And they who would wed must be done with their mooning;
    So let the churn rattle see well to the cattle,
    And pile the wood by the barn yard gate!

  18. The Old Farm

    by O. Henry

    Just now when the whitening blossoms flare
    On the apple trees and the growing grass
    Creeps forth, and a balm is in the air;
    With my lighted pipe and well-filled glass
    Of the old farm I am dreaming,
    And softly smiling, seeming
    To see the bright sun beaming
    Upon the old home farm.

    And when I think how we milked the cows,
    And hauled the hay from the meadows low;
    And walked the furrows behind the plows,
    And chopped the cotton to make it grow
    I'd much rather be here dreaming
    And smiling, only seeming
    To see the hot sun gleaming
    Upon the old home farm.

  19. The Orchard

    by John Jarvis Holden

    O pleasant orchard, emerald leaves
    And shining fruit the summer weaves
    Into a jewel of design
    Finer than man will e'er refine;
    But not until the springtime shows
    Her beauty in the lovely blows
    Of pear and apple, peach and cherry,
    To prove the world at last is merry.

  20. The Scarecrow

    by Annie Stone

    Here is the scarecrow, see him stand
    Upon the newly planted land;
    A figure rugged and forlorn,
    A silent watcher of the corn.

    His dangling legs, his arms spread wide,
    A lone man of the countryside;
    Uncouth, the butt of pen and tongue,
    Unheralded, unsought, unsung

    To you, old scarecrow, then this lay
    To cheer you on your lonely way;
    Would that all men, their whole lives through,
    Served some good purpose same as you.

  21. The Harvest Moon

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
    And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
    And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
    Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
    Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
    And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
    Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
    With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
    All things are symbols: the external shows
    Of Nature have their image in the mind,
    As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
    The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
    Only the empty nests are left behind,
    And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

  22. The Goose Explains

    by Amos Russel Wells

    It was a goose who sadly cried,
    "Alas! Alas! The farm is wide,
    And large the barnyard company,
    But no one ever looks at me;
    There really seems to be no use,
    Or praise, or glory, for a goose.
    They pet the dog whose bark and bite
    Scare tramps by day and thieves by night;

    But when I bravely stand on guard,
    And drive intruders from the yard,
    They laugh at me. The kitten plays,
    And all admire her cunning ways;
    But when I venture in the room,
    To play, in turn, some stick or broom
    Soon drives me out. Those birds they call
    Canaries cannot sing at all
    In my sweet fashion; yet their lay
    Is praised—from mine folks turn away.
    They prize the horse who pulls the cart;
    But when I try to do my part,
    And mount the shafts to help him draw,
    They whip me off. Last week I saw
    Two stupid horses pull a plow,
    I watched the work, I learned just how;
    Then, with my bill, I did the same
    In flower-beds, and got only blame.
    It really seems of little use
    To try to help—when one's a goose!"

  23. The Country Life

    Richard Henry Stoddard (b. 1825,—) was born at Hingham, Mass., but removed to New York City while quite young. His first volume of poems, "Foot-prints," appeared in 1849, and has been followed by many others. Of these may be mentioned "Songs of Summer," "Town and Country," "The King's Bell," "Abraham Lincoln" (an ode), and the "Book of the East," from the last of which the following selection is abridged. Mr. Stoddard's verses are full of genuine feeling, and some of them show great poetic power. NOTE.—5. The Indian pipe is a little, white plant, bearing a white, bell-shaped flower.

    Not what we would, but what we must,
    Makes up the sum of living:
    Heaven is both more and less than just,
    In taking and in giving.
    Swords cleave to hands that sought the plow,
    And laurels miss the soldier's brow.

    Me, whom the city holds, whose feet
    Have worn its stony highways,
    Familiar with its loneliest street,—
    Its ways were never my ways.
    My cradle was beside the sea,
    And there, I hope, my grave will be.

    Old homestead! in that old gray town
    Thy vane is seaward blowing;
    Thy slip of garden stretches down
    To where the tide is flowing;
    Below they lie, their sails all furled,
    The ships that go about the world.


    Dearer that little country house,
    Inland with pines beside it;
    Some peach trees, with unfruitful boughs,
    A well, with weeds to hide it:
    No flowers, or only such as rise
    Self-sown—poor things!—which all despise.

    Dear country home! can I forget
    The least of thy sweet trifles?
    The window vines that clamber yet,
    Whose blooms the bee still rifles?
    The roadside blackberries, growing ripe,
    And in the woods the Indian pipe?

    Happy the man who tills his field,
    Content with rustic labor;
    Earth does to him her fullness yield,
    Hap what may to his neighbor.
    Well days, sound nights—oh, can there be
    A life more rational and free?

  24. Living on a Farm

    by Anonymous

    How brightly through the mist of years,
    My quiet country home appears!
    My father busy all the day
    In plowing corn or raking hay;
    My mother moving with delight
    Among the milk pans, silver-bright;
    We children, just from school set free,
    Filling the garden with our glee.
    The blood of life was flowing warm
    When I was living on a farm.

    I hear the sweet churchgoing bell,
    As o'er the fields its music fell,
    I see the country neighbors round
    Gathering beneath the pleasant sound;
    They stop awhile beside the door,
    To talk their homely matters o'er
    The springing corn, the ripening grain,
    And "how we need a little rain;"
    "A little sun would do no harm,
    We want good weather for the farm."

    When autumn came, what joy to see
    The gathering of the husking bee,
    To hear the voices keeping tune,
    Of girls and boys beneath the moon,
    To mark the golden corn ears bright,
    More golden in the yellow light!
    Since I have learned the ways of men,
    I often turn to these again,
    And feel life wore its highest charm.
    When I was living on the farm.

  25. The Corn Song

    by John Greanleaf Whittier (From Whittier's "Songs of Labor.") Notes.—8. According to the ancient fable, Apollo, the god of music, sowed the isle of Delos, his birthplace, with golden flowers, by the music of his lyre.

    Heap high the farmer's wintry hoard!
    Heap high the golden corn!
    No richer gift has Autumn poured
    From out her lavish horn!

    Let other lands, exulting, glean
    The apple from the pine,
    The orange from its glossy green,
    The cluster from the vine;

    We better love the hardy gift
    Our rugged vales bestow,
    To cheer us, when the storm shall drift
    Our harvest fields with snow.

    Through vales of grass and meads of flowers
    Our plows their furrows made,
    While on the hills the sun and showers
    Of changeful April played.

    We dropped the seed o'er hill and plain,
    Beneath the sun of May,
    And frightened from our sprouting grain
    The robber crows away.

    All through the long, bright days of June,
    Its leaves grew green and fair,
    And waved in hot midsummer's noon
    Its soft and yellow hair.

    And now, with Autumn's moonlit eves,
    Its harvest time has come;
    We pluck away the frosted leaves
    And bear the treasure home.

    There, richer than the fabled gift
    Apollo showered of old,
    Fair hands the broken grain shall sift,
    And knead its meal of gold.

    Let vapid idlers loll in silk,
    Around their costly board;
    Give us the bowl of samp and milk,
    By homespun beauty poured!

    Where'er the wide old kitchen hearth
    Sends up its smoky curls,
    Who will not thank the kindly earth
    And bless our farmer girls!

    Then shame on all the proud and vain,
    Whose folly laughs to scorn
    The blessing of our hardy grain,
    Our wealth of golden corn!

    Let earth withhold her goodly root;
    Let mildew blight the rye,
    Give to the worm the orchard's fruit,
    The wheat field to the fly:

    But let the good old crop adorn
    The hills our fathers trod;
    Still let us, for his golden corn,
    Send up our thanks to God!

  26. I worked for chaff, and earning wheat

    by Emily Dickinson

    I worked for chaff, and earning wheat
    Was haughty and betrayed.
    What right had fields to arbitrate
    In matters ratified?

    I tasted wheat, — and hated chaff,
    And thanked the ample friend;
    Wisdom is more becoming viewed
    At distance than at hand.

  27. The Old Barn

    by Madison Cawein

    Low, swallow-swept and gray,
    Between the orchard and the spring,
    All its wide windows overflowing hay,
    And crannied doors a-swing,
    The old barn stands to-day.

    Deep in its hay the Leghorn hides
    A round white nest; and, humming soft
    On roof and rafter, or its log-rude sides,
    Black in the sun-shot loft,
    The building hornet glides.

    Along its corn-crib, cautiously
    As thieving fingers, skulks the rat;
    Or in warped stalls of fragrant timothy,
    Gnaws at some loosened slat,
    Or passes shadowy.

    A dream of drouth made audible
    Before its door, hot, smooth, and shrill
    All day the locust sings… What other spell
    Shall hold it, lazier still
    Than the long day's, now tell:—

    Dusk and the cricket and the strain
    Of tree-toad and of frog; and stars
    That burn above the rich west's ribbéd stain;
    And dropping pasture bars,
    And cow-bells up the lane.

    Night and the moon and katydid,
    And leaf-lisp of the wind-touched boughs;
    And mazy shadows that the fireflies thrid;
    And sweet breath of the cows,
    And the lone owl here hid.

  28. The Mill-Water

    by Madison Cawein

    The water-flag and wild cane grow
    'Round banks whereon the sunbeams sow
    Fantastic gold when, on its shores,
    The wind sighs through the sycamores.

    In one green angle, just in reach,
    Between a willow-tree and beech,
    Moss-grown and leaky lies a boat
    The thick-grown lilies keep afloat.

    And through its waters, half awake,
    Slow swims the spotted water-snake;
    And near its edge, like some gray streak,
    Stands gaunt the still fly-up-the-creek.

    Between the lily-pads and blooms
    The water-spirits set their looms,
    That weave the lace-like light that dims
    The glimmering leaves of under limbs.

    Each lily is the hiding-place
    Of some dim wood-imp's elvish face,
    That watches you with gold-green eyes
    Where bubbles of its breathing rise.

    I fancy, when the waxing moon
    Leans through the trees and dreams of June,
    And when the black bat slants its wing,
    And lonelier the green-frogs sing;

    I fancy, when the whippoorwill
    In some old tree sings wild and shrill,
    With glow-worm eyes that dot the dark,
    Each holding high a firefly spark

    To torch its way,—the wood-imps come:
    And some float rocking here; and some
    Unmoor the lily leaves and oar
    Around the old boat by the shore.

    They climb through oozy weeds and moss;
    They swarm its rotting sides and toss
    Their firefly torches o'er its edge
    Or hang them in the tangled sedge.

    The boat is loosed. The moon is pale.
    Around the dam they slowly sail.
    Upon the bow, to pilot it,
    A jack-o'-lantern gleam doth sit.

    Yes, I have seen it in my dreams!—
    Naught is forgotten! naught, it seems!—
    The strangled face, the tangled hair
    Of the drown'd woman trailing there.

  29. The Farmstead

    by Madison Cawein

    Yes, I love the homestead. There
    In the spring the lilacs blew
    Plenteous perfume everywhere;
    There in summer gladioles grew
    Parallels of scarlet glare.

    And the moon-hued primrose cool
    Satin-soft and redolent;
    Honeysuckles beautiful,
    Filling all the air with scent;
    Roses red or white as wool.

    Roses, glorious and lush,
    Rich in tender-tinted dyes,
    Like the gay tempestuous rush
    Of unnumbered butterflies,
    Clustering o'er each bending bush.

    Here japonica and box,
    And the wayward violets;
    Clumps of star-enamelled phlox,
    And the myriad flowery jets
    Of the twilight four-o'-clocks.

    Ah, the beauty of the place!
    When the June made one great rose,
    Full of musk and mellow grace,
    In the garden's humming close,
    Of her comely mother face!

    Bubble-like, the hollyhocks
    Budded, burst, and flaunted wide
    Gypsy beauty from their stocks;
    Morning glories, bubble-dyed,
    Swung in honey-hearted flocks.

    Tawny tiger-lilies flung
    Doublets slashed with crimson on;
    Graceful slave-girls, fair and young,
    Like Circassians, in the sun
    Alabaster lilies swung.

    Ah, the droning of the bee;
    In his dusty pantalants
    Tumbling in the fleurs-de-lis;
    In the drowsy afternoons
    Dreaming in the pink sweet-pea.

    Ah, the moaning wildwood-dove!
    With its throat of amethyst
    Rippled like a shining cove
    Which a wind to pearl hath kissed,
    Moaning, moaning of its love.

    And the insects' gossip thin—
    From the summer hotness hid—
    In lone, leafy deeps of green;
    Then at eve the katydid
    With its hard, unvaried din.

    Often from the whispering hills,
    Borne from out the golden dusk,—
    Gold with gold of daffodils,—
    Thrilled into the garden's musk
    The wild wail of whippoorwills.

    From the purple-tangled trees,
    Like the white, full heart of night,
    Solemn with majestic peace,
    Swam the big moon, veined with light;
    Like some gorgeous golden-fleece.

    She was there with me.—And who,
    In the magic of the hour,
    Had not sworn that they could view,
    Beading on each blade and flower
    Moony blisters of the dew?

    And each fairy of our home,—
    Firefly,—its taper lit
    In the honey-scented gloam,
    Dashing down the dusk with it
    Like an instant-flaming foam.

    And we heard the calling, calling,
    Of the screech-owl in the brake;
    Where the trumpet-vine hung, crawling
    Down the ledge, into the lake
    Heard the sighing streamlet falling.

    Then we wandered to the creek
    Where the water-lilies, growing
    Thick as stars, lay white and weak;
    Or against the brooklet's flowing
    Bent and bathed a bashful cheek.

    And the moonlight, rippling golden,
    Fell in virgin aureoles
    On their bosoms, half unfolden,
    Where, it seemed, the fairies' souls
    Dwelt as perfume,—unbeholden;—

    And the moonlight, rippling golden,
    Fell in virgin aureoles
    On their bosoms, half unfolden,
    Where, it seemed, the fairies' souls
    Dwelt as perfume,—unbeholden;—

    Then the low, melodious bell
    Of a sleeping heifer tinkled,
    In some berry-briered dell,
    As her satin dewlap wrinkled
    With the cud that made it swell.

    And, returning home, we heard,
    In a beech-tree at the gate,
    Some brown, dream-behaunted bird,
    Singing of its absent mate,
    Of the mate that never heard.

    And, you see, now I am gray,
    Why within the old, old place,
    With such memories, I stay;
    Fancy out her absent face
    Long since passed away.

    She was mine—yes! still is mine:
    And my frosty memory
    Reels about her, as with wine
    Warmed into young eyes that see
    All of her that was divine.

    Yes, I loved her, and have grown
    Melancholy in that love,
    And the memory alone
    Of perfection such whereof
    She could sanctify each stone.

    And where'er the poppies swing—
    There we walk,—as if a bee
    Bent them with its airy wing,—
    Down her garden shadowy
    In the hush the evenings bring.

  30. The Old Homestead

    by William Henry Venable

    Enshrined among roses
    The Homestead reposes
    With vines mantled o'er;
    Ground-ivy and clover
    Are running all over
    The stone at the door.

    Pinks, lilies, are blowing,
    Blue violets showing
    Gold hearts to the June;
    Bees going and coming
    Keep evermore humming
    Their Hyblean tune.

    'Twas here that I wasted
    Youth's flower and tasted
    Love's first honey-dew;
    A boy here I slumbered,
    By care unencumbered,
    Long, balmy nights through.

    The wood-birds each morning
    Gave musical warning
    For shadows to fly;
    Their rhapsody choral
    Foretold the auroral
    First flush of the sky.

    With rising emotion
    Akin to devotion
    The scene I behold;—
    With fond recollections
    Of tender affections
    Too sweet to be told.

  31. The Old Gray Wall

    by Bliss Carman

    Time out of mind I have stood
    Fronting the frost and the sun,
    That the dream of the world might endure,
    And the goodly will be done.

    Did the hand of the builder guess,
    As he laid me stone by stone,
    A heart in the granite lurked,
    Patient and fond as his own?

    Lovers have leaned on me
    Under the summer moon,
    And mowers laughed in my shade
    In the harvest heat at noon.

    Children roving the fields
    With early flowers in spring,
    Old men turning to look,
    When they heard a bluebird sing,

    Have seen me a thousand times
    Standing here in the sun,
    Yet never a moment dreamed
    Whose likeness they gazed upon.

    Ah, when will ye understand,
    Mortals who strive and plod, —
    Who rests on this old gray wall
    Lays a hand on the shoulder of God!

  32. In an Old Barn

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Tons upon tons the brown-green fragrant hay
    O'erbrims the mows beyond the time-warped eaves,
    Up to the rafters where the spider weaves,
    Though few flies wander his secluded way.
    Through a high chink one lonely golden ray,
    Wherein the dust is dancing, slants unstirred.
    In the dry hush some rustlings light are heard,
    Of winter-hidden mice at furtive play.

    Far down, the cattle in their shadowed stalls,
    Nose-deep in clover fodder's meadowy scent,
    Forget the snows that whelm their pasture streams,
    The frost that bites the world beyond their walls.
    Warm housed, they dream of summer, well content
    In day-long contemplation of their dreams.

  33. The Stack Behind the Barn

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    September is here, with the ripened seeds,
    And the homely smell of the autumn weeds,
    My heart goes back to a vanished day,
    And I am again a boy at play
    In the stack behind the barn.

    Dear memory of the old home-farm,—
    The hedge-rows fencing the crops from harm,
    The cows, too heavy with milk for haste,
    The barn-yard, yellow with harvest waste,
    And the stack behind the barn.

    Dear, dear, dear the old garden-smell,
    Sweet William and phlox that I loved so well,
    And the seeding mint, and the sage turned grey,
    But dearer the smell of the tumbled hay
    In the stack behind the barn.

    In the side of the stack we made our nest,
    And there was the play-house we loved the best.
    A thicket of goldenrod, bending and bright,
    Filled us with glory and hid us from sight
    In the stack behind the barn.

    Then, when the stack, with the year, ran low,
    And our frosty, morning cheeks were aglow,
    When time had forgotten the dropping leaves,
    What joy to drop from the barn's wide eaves
    To the stack behind the barn!

    O childhood years! Your heedless feet
    Have slipped away with how much that's sweet!
    But dreams and memory master you,
    Till the make-believe of Life is through
    I still may play as the children do
    In the stack behind the barn.

  34. The Furrow

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    How sombre slope these acres to the sea
    And to the breaking sun! The sun-rise deeps
    Of rose and crocus, whence the far dawn leaps,
    Gild but with scorn their grey monotony.
    The glebe rests patient for its joy to be.
    Past the salt field-foot many a dim wing sweeps;
    And down the field a first slow furrow creeps,
    Pledge of near harvests to the unverdured lea.

    With clank of harness tramps the serious team.
    The sea air thrills their nostrils. Some wise crows
    Feed confidently behind the ploughman's feet.
    In the early chill the clods fresh cloven steam,
    And down its griding path the keen share goes.
    So, from a scar, best flowers the future's sweet.

  35. The Sower

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    A brown, sad-coloured hillside, where the soil
    Fresh from the frequent harrow, deep and fine,
    Lies bare; no break in the remote sky-line,
    Save where a flock of pigeons streams aloft,
    Startled from feed in some low-lying croft,
    Or far-off spires with yellow of sunset shine;
    And here the Sower, unwittingly divine,
    Exerts the silent forethought of his toil.

    Alone he treads the glebe, his measured stride
    Dumb in the yielding soil; and though small joy
    Dwell in his heavy face, as spreads the blind
    Pale grain from his dispensing palm aside,
    This plodding churl grows great in his employ;&mdash
    Godlike, he makes provision for mankind.

  36. The Old Grist-Mill

    by Richard Henry Stoddard

    Beside the stream the grist-mill stands,
    With bending roof and leaning wall;
    So old, that when the winds are wild,
    The miller trembles lest it fall:
    And yet it baffles wind and rain,
    Our brave old Mill! and will again.

    Its dam is steep, and hung with weeds:
    The gates are up, the waters pour,
    And tread the old wheel’s slippery round,
    The lowest step forevermore.
    Methinks they fume, and chafe with ire,
    Because they cannot climb it higher.

    From morn to night in autumn time,
    When harvests fill the neighboring plains,
    Up to the mill the farmers drive,
    And back anon with loaded wains:
    And when the children come from school
    They stop, and watch its foamy pool.

    The mill inside is small and dark;
    But peeping in the open door
    You see the miller flitting round,
    The dusty bags along the floor,
    The whirling shaft, the clattering spout,
    And the yellow meal a-pouring out!

    All day the meal is floating there,
    Rising and falling in the breeze;
    And when the sunlight strikes its mist
    It glitters like a swarm of bees:
    Or like the cloud of smoke and light
    Above a blacksmith’s forge at night.

    All day the meal is floating there,
    Rising and falling in the breeze;
    And when the sunlight strikes its mist
    It glitters like a swarm of bees:
    Or like the cloud of smoke and light
    Above a blacksmith’s forge at night.

    I stand beside the stream of Life,
    And watch the current sweep along:
    And when the flood-gates of my heart
    Are raised it turns the wheel of Song:
    But scant, as yet, the harvest brought
    From out the golden fields of Thought!

  37. The Old Discarded Mill

    by James Hampton Lee

    Eloquent, though so still,
    It stands by the fretting shoals,—
    The old discarded mill,
    Of the days that tried men's souls;
    Of the days when the water's flow
    First turned its wonderful wheel;
    Of a hundred years ago,
    When wood was King of Steel.

    Of the roof and the old mill-race
    The storms of the years have left
    But a semblance and a trace;—
    Yet the stream sweeps on, bereft!—
    Why sit by the foaming shoals,
    O man, while the mills decay?
    Give wings to your shrinking souls!
    Arise and achieve—today!

    Alone in the woods it stands,
    Enwrapped in a gray-mist dream
    That man will return whose hands
    Will harness it to the stream.—
    For the mill's with the stream in love,
    And the stream with the mill, as well!
    The water the wheel above
    Would be, there its love to tell!

    Came one from the city's heart
    Who loved as loves the sun;—
    Saw the mill and stream apart,
    And joined them again as one!—
    As a man finds the sweetest words
    When close to his heart she's pressed,
    So the water sings now with the birds;—
    It again has the wheel caressed!

  38. Putting in the Seed

    by Robert Frost

    You come to fetch me from my work to-night
    When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
    If I can leave off burying the white
    Soft petals fallen from the apple tree.
    (Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
    Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;)
    And go along with you ere you lose sight
    Of what you came for and become like me,
    Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
    How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
    On through the watching for that early birth
    When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,

    The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
    Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.

  39. A Time to Talk

    by Robert Frost

    When a friend calls to me from the road
    And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
    I don’t stand still and look around
    On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
    And shout from where I am, What is it?
    No, not as there is a time to talk.
    I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
    Blade-end up and five feet tall,
    And plod: I go up to the stone wall
    For a friendly visit.

  40. The Gum-Gatherer

    by Robert Frost

    There overtook me and drew me in
    To his down-hill, early-morning stride,
    And set me five miles on my road
    Better than if he had had me ride,
    A man with a swinging bag for load
    And half the bag wound round his hand.
    We talked like barking above the din
    Of water we walked along beside.
    And for my telling him where I’d been
    And where I lived in mountain land
    To be coming home the way I was,
    He told me a little about himself.
    He came from higher up in the pass
    Where the grist of the new-beginning brooks
    Is blocks split off the mountain mass—
    And hopeless grist enough it looks
    Ever to grind to soil for grass.
    (The way it is will do for moss.)
    There he had built his stolen shack.
    It had to be a stolen shack
    Because of the fears of fire and loss
    That trouble the sleep of lumber folk:
    Visions of half the world burned black
    And the sun shrunken yellow in smoke.
    We know who when they come to town
    Bring berries under the wagon seat,
    Or a basket of eggs between their feet;
    What this man brought in a cotton sack
    Was gum, the gum of the mountain spruce.
    He showed me lumps of the scented stuff
    Like uncut jewels, dull and rough.
    It comes to market golden brown;
    But turns to pink between the teeth.

    I told him this is a pleasant life
    To set your breast to the bark of trees
    That all your days are dim beneath,
    And reaching up with a little knife,
    To loose the resin and take it down
    And bring it to market when you please.

  41. Pea Brush

    by Robert Frost

    I walked down alone Sunday after church
    To the place where John has been cutting trees
    To see for myself about the birch
    He said I could have to bush my peas.

    The sun in the new-cut narrow gap
    Was hot enough for the first of May,
    And stifling hot with the odor of sap
    From stumps still bleeding their life away.

    The frogs that were peeping a thousand shrill
    Wherever the ground was low and wet,
    The minute they heard my step went still
    To watch me and see what I came to get.

    Birch boughs enough piled everywhere!—
    All fresh and sound from the recent axe.
    Time someone came with cart and pair
    And got them off the wild flower’s backs.

    They might be good for garden things
    To curl a little finger round,
    The same as you seize cat’s-cradle strings,
    And lift themselves up off the ground.

    Small good to anything growing wild,
    They were crooking many a trillium
    That had budded before the boughs were piled
    And since it was coming up had to come.

  42. My Neighbor's Mill

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    I love to sit here at the window-sill
    When the sun falls asleep in the West,
    And watch the gray Twilight walk over the hill
    In garments of night partly dressed,
    And see, through the rooms of my neighbor’s mill,
    How she creeps like an unbidden guest.

    I love the low hum of the numberless wheels—
    They echo the heart-beats of time,
    Each unto my pen its purpose reveals,
    Like the magic of meter and rhyme;
    Or, as to the soul that in penitence kneels,
    Doth the sound of a slow vesper chime.

    We have been friends together, this old mill and I,
    Yes, friends that are true, tried, and strong;
    If over us gather a gray winter sky
    We faced it sometimes with a song,
    Or braved it in silence, scarce knowing why,
    As together we labored along.

    I fancy sometimes as I sit here alone
    With the calm of the night in my heart,
    When from the low roof the pigeons have flown,
    And the stars their sweet stories impart,
    That this mill unto me in a strange undertone
    Is speaking as heart unto heart.

    That it bids me look into the granary room
    Where the yellow wheat is packed;
    And anon to glance in with the sundown’s bloom
    Where the snowy flour is sacked,
    So I look—and it seems in the deepening gloom
    There clouds upon clouds are stacked.

    What else do I scan through the moonlight’s lace
    That scallops the window panes;
    Why, the dear old miller’s honest face,
    He’s counting his losses and gains,
    And methinks on his visage I can trace
    A look that my own heart pains.

    Ah! think of the thousands his bounty feeds—
    We beggars encircle his door,
    While he scatters alike his bundle of seeds
    To the humble, the rich, and the poor.
    Sure there’s a reward for such generous deeds,
    A reward that is brighter than ore!

    But the lights have gone out of my neighbor’s mill,
    And pale grows the red in the West;
    The Night has crept up to my own window-sill
    And pillowed my head on her breast,
    While over the way—how peaceful and still!
    The old mill’s asleep and at rest.

  43. Thistle Down

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    I saw a little child one day
    Blowing some thistle down away.
    How light they flew! The wings of thought
    Grew weary as their course was sought,
    And e’en the boy, with heart as light,
    Sighed when he failed to trace their flight;
    But as by chance, out of the air,
    One fell upon his sunny hair.

    I saw the tiny sail unfurl,
    And faintly fan a slender curl.
    A fairy’s boat it seemed to be,
    And yet a pirate sailed the sea,
    And anchored on a golden wave
    That hid no evil deed—no grave.
    That thought! Did Heaven foresee the doom?
    From off his curl I shook the bloom.

    I know not where it chanced to fall,
    In garden, park, or castle wall;
    A desert’s sand may scorch its root,
    A crystal brook it may pollute;
    A different course from mine it took,
    And I the path at once forsook.
    I only know that summer day,
    Far from the child ’twas blown away.

  44. A Picture

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    I strolled last eve across the lonely down,
    One solitary picture struck my eye.
    A distant ploughboy stood against the sky—
    How far he seemed, above the noisy town!

    Upon the bosom of a cloud the sod
    Laid its bruised cheek, as he moved slowly by,
    And, watching him, I asked myself if I
    In very truth stood half as near to God.

  45. The Sower

    by Mathilde Blind

    The winds had hushed at last as by command;
    The quiet sky above,
    With its grey clouds spread o'er the fallow land,
    Sat brooding like a dove

    There was no motion in the air, no sound
    Within the tree-tops stirred,
    Save when some last leaf, fluttering to the ground,
    Dropped like a wounded bird:

    Or when the swart rooks in a gathering crowd
    With clamorous noises wheeled,
    Hovering awhile, then swooped with wranglings loud
    Down on the stubbly field.

    For now the big-thewed horses, toiling slow
    In straining couples yoked,
    Patiently dragged the ploughshare to and fro
    Till their wet haunches smoked.

    Till the stiff acre, broken into clods,
    Bruised by the harrow's tooth,
    Lay lightly shaken, with its humid sods
    Ranged into furrows smooth.

    There looming lone, from rise to set of sun,
    Without or pause or speed,
    Solemnly striding by the furrows dun,
    The sower sows the seed.

    The sower sows the seed, which mouldering,
    Deep coffined in the earth,
    Is buried now, but with the future spring
    Will quicken into birth.

    Oh, poles of birth and death! Controlling Powers
    Of human toil and need!
    On this fair earth all men are surely sowers,
    Surely all life is seed!

    All life is seed, dropped in Time's yawning furrow,
    Which with slow sprout and shoot,
    In the revolving world's unfathomed morrow,
    Will blossom and bear fruit.

  46. Reapers

    by Mathilde Blind

    Sun-tanned men and women, toiling there together;
    Seven I count in all, in yon field of wheat,
    Where the rich ripe ears in the harvest weather
    Glow an orange gold through the sweltering heat.

    Busy life is still, sunk in brooding leisure:
    Birds have hushed their singing in the hushed tree-tops;
    Not a single cloud mars the flawless azure;
    Not a shadow moves o'er the moveless crops;

    In the glassy shallows, that no breath is creasing,
    Chestnut-coloured cows in the rushes dank
    Stand like cows of bronze, save when they flick the teasing
    Flies with switch of tail from each quivering flank.

    Nature takes a rest—even her bees are sleeping,
    And the silent wood seems a church that's shut;
    But these human creatures cease not from their reaping
    While the corn stands high, waiting to be cut.

  47. Apple-Gathering

    by Mathilde Blind

    Essex flats are pink with clover,
    Kent is crowned with flaunting hops,
    Whitely shine the cliffs of Dover,
    Yellow wave the Midland crops;

    Sussex Downs the flocks grow sleek on,
    But, for me, I love to stand
    Where the Herefordshire beacon
    Watches o'er his orchard land.

    Where now sun, now shadow dapples—
    As it wavers in the breeze—
    Clumps of fresh-complexioned apples
    On the heavy-laden trees:

    Red and yellow, streaked and hoary,
    Russet-coated, pale or brown—
    Some are dipped in sunset glory,
    And some painted by the dawn.

    What profusion, what abundance!
    Not a twig but has its fruits;
    High in air some in the sun dance,
    Some lie scattered near the roots.

    These the hasty winds have taken
    Are a green, untimely crop;
    Those by burly rustics shaken
    Fall with loud resounding plop.

    In this mellow autumn weather,
    Ruddy 'mid the long green grass,
    Heaped-up baskets stand together,
    Filled by many a blowsy lass.

    Red and yellow, streaked and hoary,
    Pile them on the granary floors,
    Till the yule-log's flame in glory
    Loudly up the chimney roars;

    Till gay troops of children, lightly
    Tripping in with shouts of glee,
    See ripe apples dangling brightly
    On the red-lit Christmas-tree.

  48. A Green Cornfield

    by Christina Rossetti

    "And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest."

    The earth was green, the sky was blue:
    I saw and heard one sunny morn
    A skylark hang between the two,
    A singing speck above the corn;

    A stage below, in gay accord,
    White butterflies danced on the wing,
    And still the singing skylark soared
    And silent sank, and soared to sing.

    The cornfield stretched a tender green
    To right and left beside my walks;
    I knew he had a nest unseen
    Somewhere among the million stalks:

    And as I paused to hear his song
    While swift the sunny moments slid,
    Perhaps his mate sat listening long,
    And listened longer than I did.

  49. The Rain Upon The Corn

    by Ed Blair

    How sweet the music of the rain,
    At evening or morn,
    When clouds with trails that reach the ground
    Pass o'er the fields of corn.
    Man's work is done. The toiling days
    Of heat and anxious care
    Are ended, and the falling rain
    With music fills the air.

    How long and hard the fight since first
    Was turned the lifeless sod,
    Since first the harrow surged its way
    To pulverize each clod,
    How long since planting of the seed,
    The sacrifice each morn,
    To keep the weeds from growing where
    Now stands the field of corn.

    Out from my window to the fields
    I cast a grateful eye,
    I see the raindrops falling down
    From out the cloudy sky,
    And as they fall upon the fields
    New hopes in me are born,
    For plenty dwells when July rains
    Fall on the fields of corn.

  50. An Autumn Picture

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    The mill turns by the waterfall;
    The loaded wagons go and come;
    All day I hear the teamster's call,
    All day I hear the thresher's hum:
    And many a shout and many a laugh
    Come breaking through the clouds of chaff.

    The brook glides toward the sleeping lake,
    Now bubbling over shining stones
    Now under clumps of brush and brake,
    Hushing its brawls to murmuring tones,
    And now it takes its winding path
    Through meadows green with aftermath.

    The frosty twilight early falls,
    But household fires burn warm and red.
    The cold may creep without the walls,
    And growing things be stark and dead—
    No matter, so the hearth be bright
    When household faces meet at night.

  51. September

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    'Tis autumn in our northern land.
    The summer walks a queen no more;
    Her sceptre drops from out her hand;
    Her strength is spent, her passion o'er.
    On lake and stream, on field and town,
    The placid sun smiles calmly down.

    The teeming earth its fruit has borne;
    The grain fields lie all shorn and bare;
    And where the serried ranks of corn
    Wave proudly in the summer air,
    And bravely tossed their yellow locks,
    Now thickly stands the bristling shocks.

    On sunny slope, on crannied wall
    The grapes hang purpling in the sun;
    Down to the turf the brown nuts fall,
    And golden apples, one by one.
    Our bins run o'er with ample store—
    Thus autumn reaps what summer bore.

    The mill turns by the waterfall;
    The loaded wagons go and come;
    All day I hear the teamster's call,
    All day I hear the threshers hum;
    And many a shout and many a laugh
    Comes breaking through the clouds of chaff.

    Gay, careless sounds of homely toil!
    With mirth and labor closely bent
    The weary tiller of the soil
    Wins seldom wealth, but oft content.
    'Tis better still if he but knows
    What sweet, wild beauty round him glows.

    The brook glides toward the sleeping lake—
    Now babbling over sinning stones;
    Now under clumps of bush and brake,
    Hushing its brawl to murmuring tones;
    And now it takes its winding path
    Through meadows green with aftermath.

    The frosty twilight early falls,
    But household fires burn warm and red.
    The cold may creep without the walls,
    And growing things lie stark and dead—
    No matter, so the hearth be bright
    When household faces meet to-night.

  52. Berrying Song

    by Lucy Larcom

    Ho! for the hills in summer!
    Ho! for the rocky shade,
    Where the groundpine trails under the fern-leaves.
    Deep in the mossy glade.
    Up in the dewy sunrise,
    Waked by the robin's trill;
    Up and away, a-berrying,
    To the pastures on the hill!

    Red lilies blaze out of the thicket;
    Wild roses blush here and there:
    There's sweetness in all the breezes,
    There's health in each breath of air.
    Hark to the wind in the pine-trees!
    Hark to the tinkling rill!
    Oh, pleasant it is a-berrying
    In the pastures on the hill!

    We'll garland our baskets with blossoms,
    And sit on the rocks and sing,
    And tell one another old stories,
    Till the trees long shadows fling;
    Then homeward, with laughter and carol,
    Mocking the echoes shrill.
    Oh, merry it is a-berrying
    In the pastures on the hill!

  53. Sleighing

    by Helen Lee Carey

    Here are we nestled, warm and snug,
    Within the cutter's perfumed rug,
    And swiftly o'er the light road skim
    Toward the hills far and dim
    Lie on the cold horizon's rim.

    Away, away! the snow is white,
    The air is clear, the moon is bright,
    To backward glance the village spires,
    Tipped with their pale up-pointing fires,
    Fade as a holy thought expires.

    Away! to-night our company
    The spirits of the frost shall be;
    We'll chase the flying bells whose play
    On moonlit meadows far away
    Is softened to a murmur gay.

    Away through villages that lie
    Like silver jewels, gliding by
    The river's gleaming stream of steel,
    Whose fringe of ice the waves conceal
    That echo back our sleigh-bells' peal.

    Here stands a quiet farm-house; there
    A stretch of glistening fields lies bare;
    Here thickets, robed in white array
    Climb the sleep banks, and sharply lay
    Dark shadows o'er our rapid way.

    The shaken trees their crystals fling,
    That shatter with an airy ring;
    And hark! a mocking ripple swells
    From where the covered streamlet wells
    And tinkles through its icy cells.

    Away again! yon pine-trees tall
    Close round us a mysterious wall;
    Through their great harps the solemn moan
    Of winds is sweeping, long and lone,
    In melancholy minor tone.

    Away through spicy forests, hung
    With mantles by the storm-winds flung,
    From out whose solitude the sigh
    Of breezes brings some weird, wild cry,
    To scare us as we glimmer by.

    Ah, see! the watch-fire on the lake,
    Where merry skaters pleasure take!
    Their voices, as we onward go,
    Die to a light cadenza low,
    As sounds through dreams of music flow.

    The prospect widens; on before
    Stretches the broad lake's dazzling floor;
    And far, where pearly vapors rise,
    Shine through a mist the peaceful skies
    And azure hills of paradise.

    The distance shuts like wings behind;
    Before, it opens silver-lined;
    The angel of the radiant night
    Leads ever on before our flight,
    And past us stream its robes of light.

  54. The Road to a Pool

    by Grace Hazard Conkling

    I know a road that leads from town,
    A pale road in a Watteau gown
    Of wild-rose sprays, that runs away
    All fragrant-sandaled, slim and gray.

    It slips along the laurel grove
    And down the hill, intent to rove,
    And crooks an arm of shadow cool
    Around a willow-silvered pool.

    I never travel very far
    Beyond the pool where willows are:
    There is a shy and native grace
    That hovers all about the place,

    And resting there I hardly know
    Just where it was I meant to go,
    Contented like the road that dozes
    In panniered gown of briar roses.

  55. The Stake and Rider Fence

    by W. E. Hutchinson

    I love to let my fancy go wandering where it will,
    To the happy days of boyhood, to the meadow and the hill;
    To the brooks and quiet places, to the woods that seemed immense,
    But they always linger fondly at the stake-and-rider fence.

    Here, cicadas sing their loudest, and the crickets draw the bow,
    And the 'hoppers and the locusts join the chorus, soft and low;
    And you hear the bees a humming like a fiddle with one string,
    While the air just seems to vibrate with a soothing kind of ring.

    There the squirrel scolds and chatters as he runs along the rail,
    And you hear the rain-crow calling, and the whistle of the quail;
    And the catbird, and the blue jay, scold with vigor most intense,
    As they build among the branches by the stake-and-rider fence.

    There grew the tasseled milkweed with its bursting silken pods,
    And the stately, waving branches of the yellow goldenrod;
    The mullein stalk and asters, with teasels growing dense,
    God's garden, in the angle of the stake-and-rider fence.

    It was homely, but I loved it, and I wouldn't trade, would you?
    For all the hothouse beauties that a florist ever knew.
    Yes, I'd give up earthly honors, and count it recompense,
    Just to wander through the meadow by the stake-and-rider fence.

  56. Mending Wall

    by Robert Frost

    Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.
    I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    "Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
    Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    "Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
    That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
    But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father's saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

  57. Songs in a Cornfield

    by Christina Rossetti

    A song in a cornfield
    Where corn begins to fall,
    Where reapers are reaping,
    Reaping one, reaping all.
    Sing pretty Lettice,
    Sing Rachel, sing May;
    Only Marian cannot sing
    While her sweetheart's away.

    Where is he gone to
    And why does he stay?
    He came across the green sea
    But for a day,
    Across the deep green sea
    To help with the hay.
    His hair was curly yellow
    And his eyes were gray,
    He laughed a merry laugh
    And said a sweet say.
    Where is he gone to
    That he comes not home?
    To-day or to-morrow
    He surely will come.
    Let him haste to joy
    Lest he lag for sorrow,
    For one weeps to-day
    Who'll not weep to-morrow:

    To-day she must weep
    For gnawing sorrow,
    To-night she may sleep
    And not wake to-morrow.

    May sang with Rachel
    In the waxing warm weather,
    Lettice sang with them,
    They sang all together:—

    "Take the wheat in your arm
    Whilst day is broad above,
    Take the wheat to your bosom,
    But not a false false love.
    Out in the fields
    Summer heat gloweth,
    Out in the fields
    Summer wind bloweth,
    Out in the fields
    Summer friend showeth,
    Out in the fields
    Summer wheat groweth:
    But in the winter
    When summer heat is dead
    And summer wind has veered
    And summer friend has fled,
    Only summer wheat remaineth,
    White cakes and bread.
    Take the wheat, clasp the wheat
    That's food for maid and dove;
    Take the wheat to your bosom,
    But not a false false love."

    A silence of full noontide heat
    Grew on them at their toil:
    The farmer's dog woke up from sleep,
    The green snake hid her coil
    Where grass stood thickest; bird and beast
    Sought shadows as they could,
    The reaping men and women paused
    And sat down where they stood;
    They ate and drank and were refreshed,
    For rest from toil is good.

    While the reapers took their ease,
    Their sickles lying by,
    Rachel sang a second strain,
    And singing seemed to sigh:—

    "There goes the swallow,—
    Could we but follow!
    Hasty swallow stay,
    Point us out the way;
    Look back swallow, turn back swallow, stop swallow.

    "There went the swallow,—
    Too late to follow:
    Lost our note of way,
    Lost our chance to-day;
    Good by swallow, sunny swallow, wise swallow.

    "After the swallow
    All sweet things follow:
    All things go their way,
    Only we must stay,
    Must not follow: good by swallow, good swallow."

    Then listless Marian raised her head
    Among the nodding sheaves;
    Her voice was sweeter than that voice;
    She sang like one who grieves:
    Her voice was sweeter than its wont
    Among the nodding sheaves;
    All wondered while they heard her sing
    Like one who hopes and grieves:—

    "Deeper than the hail can smite,
    Deeper than the frost can bite,
    Deep asleep through day and night,
    Our delight.

    "Now thy sleep no pang can break,
    No to-morrow bid thee wake,
    Not our sobs who sit and ache
    For thy sake.

    "Is it dark or light below? O, but is it cold like snow? Dost thou feel the green things grow Fast or slow?

    "Is it warm or cold beneath,
    O, but is it cold like death?
    Cold like death, without a breath,
    Cold like death?"

    If he comes to-day
    He will find her weeping;
    If he comes to-morrow
    He will find her sleeping;
    If he comes the next day
    He'll not find her at all,
    He may tear his curling hair,
    Beat his breast and call.

  58. The Picnic

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    They had a picnic in the woods,
    And Mother couldn't go that day,
    But the twins and Brother and I could go;
    We rode on the wagon full of hay.

    There were more little girls than ten, I guess.
    And the boy that is Joe B. Kirk was there.
    He found a toad and a katydid,
    And a little girl came whose name was Clare.

    Miss Kate-Marie made us play a song
    Called "Fare-you-well, says Johnny O'Brown."
    You dance in a ring and sing it through,
    And then some one kneels down.

    She kissed us all and Joe B. Kirk;
    But Joe B. didn't mind a bit.
    He walked around and swung his arms
    And seemed to he very glad of it.

    Then Mr. Jim said he would play,
    But Miss Marie, she told him then,
    It's a game for her and the little folks,
    And he could go and fish with the men.

    Mr. Wells was there and he had a rope
    To tie to a limb and make it swing.
    And Mrs. Wells, Mr. Wells's wife,
    Gave me a peach and a chicken wing.

    And I had a little cherry pie
    And a piece of bread, and after we'd played
    Two other songs, I had some cake
    And another wing and some lemonade.

  59. The Mill Stream

    by Susan Francis Preston Clapp

    The mill stream flows o'er common ground,
    Yet wandering there, I stand spell-bound;
    And dreamy thoughts will o'er me steal
    While listening to the water-wheel.

    As round it rolls, I hear a chant
    Whose music grows significant,
    Till my whole being is possessed
    With something of the wheel's unrest.

    Mine ear hath caught an undertone
    To which my soul makes answering moan;
    Two plaintive voices seem to meet,
    In murmuring eddies, at my feet.

    Vague longings, when answered here,
    Foreshadowings of another sphere,
    Now join the water's plaintive flow,
    As onward, onward still they go.

    Forever striving to be free,
    My soul is in strange sympathy
    With the waters basely bound
    To turn the mill-wheel round and round.

    Within man's limitation set,
    The troubled waters foam and fret,
    But left unfettered in their course,
    Glide on serenely to their source.

  60. Shadows

    by Caroline W. D. Rich

    Upon the river's bank I lie
    Beneath the cloud-flecked, azure sky,
    While sedge, and fern, and waving tree,
    In Nature's looking-glass I see—
    The hay-rack, with its fragrant load
    Passing along the grass-grown road—
    The teamster with his easy swing,
    The mower's scythe, with backward fling,
    The falling grass, the rhythmic tread,
    Mirrored upon the river's bed.
    The swallows flitting to and fro,
    Meet shadow-swallows down below—
    While nearer, with their busy hum,
    The bumble-bees and blue-flies come.

  61. Calling the Cows

    by Hannah Augusta Moore

    'T was a vision of the morning,
    'T was a vision of the mist,
    Ere the purple hills of dawning
    By the sun's first rays were kissed.

    Up floated, through gray shadows,
    To my chamber's silent gloom.
    The tuneful voice of Gracie—
    Its music filled my room.

    It called me from my roving
    In the land of pleasant dreams,
    The land of happy loving,
    By soft, untroubled streams.

    Fair as an Easter lily,
    And beautiful and tall,
    Stood Gracie—from the shadows
    Making her winsome call.

    "Soh, Fan! soh, Fan! soh, Pinkie!
    Soh, Pinkie! and soh, Fan!"
    Paint ye a morning picture
    More spirit-like who can!

    The breathings of the river
    To phantom shapes had grown;
    They curled about the mountain,
    They through the vale were blown.

    Lightly they clung to Gracie,
    Standing on dew-drops there;
    Lightly they veiled her features
    And flowing golden hair.

    Was it a mortal maiden,
    Thus, half-revealed, that stood,
    On an oread of the mountain,
    Or a dryad of the wood?

    Or, from the darkling river
    Had a fair naiad sprung,
    Wearing the form of Gracie,
    With Gracie's silver tongue?

    "Soh, Fan! soh, Fan! soh, Pinkie!
    Soh, Pinkie! and soh, Fan!"
    Paint ye a morning picture
    More spirit-like who can.

  62. New-Mown Hay

    by Margaret E. Sangster

    Sweet, oh sweet, from the fields to-day
    Wafts the breath of the new-mown hay.

    Sewing away in a happy dream,
    I sit in the porch with my long white seam.

    The very silence is like a tune,
    Sung to the golden afternoon.

    While the house is still, and the meadows lie
    Fast asleep 'neath the radiant sky.

    Only at intervals, now and then,
    I hear the farmer call to his men.

    And the farmer's voice is dear to me
    As ever a mortal voice can be.

    You may talk of the love of youth and maid,
    Of two in childhood, perhaps, who played

    Together by rill and fount and tree,
    Till their hearts had grown one heart to be;

    You may tell of the loyal faith and life
    Of the husband dear and the gentle wife;

    But the widowed mother leans closest on
    The tender strength of her only son.

    Ah! what if that farmer of mine one day
    Should seek him a bride, as well he may,

    And bring her home! Would I be loath,
    Mother and friend, to live for both?

    For somehow the scent of the new-mown hay
    Carries me back to a far-off day,

    When my silver hair was in waves of brown,
    When my bashful glances kept looking down,

    And swift to my cheek, in a sudden red,
    Mounted the blush, at a soft word said.

    Truly the days of my youth were sweet,
    Ere the path was rough to my toiling feet.

    Truly the morning of life was blest,
    And yet in sooth is the evening best;

    For I've learned the lesson that joys must fly,
    And the proudest hopes, like flowers, die.

    But God abides in his heaven, and he
    Will never forget to care for me.

    Sweet, oh sweet, is the new-mown hay,
    Wafting its breath from the fields to-day.

    Sweet is the golden afternoon,
    With its silence rhythmic as a tune,

    And dear to the soul is the calm content
    Of hours in grateful trusting spent.

  63. The Barley Field

    by Jean Blewett

    The sunset has faded, there's but a tinge,
    Saffron pale, where a star of white
    Has tangled itself in the trailing fringe
    Of the pearl-gray robe of the summer night.

    O the green of the barley fields grows deep,
    The breath of the barley fields grows rare;
    There is rustle and glimmer, sway and sweep—
    The wind is holding high revel there,

    Singing the song it has often sung—
    Hark to the troubadour glad and bold:
    "Sweet is the earth when the summer is young
    And the barley fields are green and gold!"

  64. Nutting Song

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The November sun invites me,
    And although the chill wind smites me,
    I will wander to the woodland
    Where the laden trees await;
    And with loud and joyful singing
    I will set the forest ringing,
    As if I were king of Autumn,
    And Dame Nature were my mate,—

    While the squirrel in his gambols
    Fearless round about me ambles,
    As if he were bent on showing
    In my kingdom he’d a share;
    While my warm blood leaps and dashes,
    And my eye with freedom flashes,
    As my soul drinks deep and deeper
    Of the magic in the air.

    There’s a pleasure found in nutting,
    All life’s cares and griefs outshutting,
    That is fuller far and better
    Than what prouder sports impart.
    Who could help a carol trilling
    As he sees the baskets filling?
    Why, the flow of song keeps running
    O’er the high walls of the heart.

    So when I am home returning,
    When the sun is lowly burning,
    I will once more wake the echoes
    With a happy song of praise,—
    For the golden sunlight blessing,
    And the breezes’ soft caressing,
    And the precious boon of living
    In the sweet November days.

  65. Song of the Milkmaid

    by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    Shame upon you, Robin,
    Shame upon you now!
    Kiss me would you? with my hands
    Milking the cow?
    Daisies grow again,
    Kingcups blow again,
    And you came and kiss'd me milking the cow.

    Robin came behind me,
    Kissed me well, I vow;
    Cuff him could I? with my hands
    Milking the cow?
    Swallows fly again,
    Cuckoos cry again,
    And you came and kiss'd me milking the cow.

    Come, Robin, Robin,
    Come and kiss me now;
    Help it can I? with my hands
    Milking the cow?
    Ringdoves coo again,
    All things woo again,
    Come behind and kiss me milking the cow!

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