Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

HERE, 'midst the boldest triumphs of her worth,
Nature herself invites the reapers forth;
Dares the keen sickle from its twelvemonth's rest,
And gives that ardour which in every breast
From infancy to age alike appears,
When the first sheaf its plumy top uprears.
No rake takes here what Heaven to all bestows
Children of want, for you the bounty flows !
And every cottage from the plenteous store

[graphic]

dispos.

cu un me accuracy of

“Uneducated poets" have been less rare since the Farmer's Boy" was ushered into the world; some whose destiny was not more fortunate than that of Bloomfield, have possessed genius far higher than his;. but he was by no means of a common order, and little deserved the neglect and indifference which followed his brief popularity. One of the keys to his success, perhaps, is the fact that he never attempted any thing to which his simple and natural mind was unequal. He wrote only of what he had seen or felt :-and as his opportunities were limited, so are his

the treatment of topics familiar to persons of his class-the humble labourers in our fields or alleys-he is, we think, even now unequalled. Peasants and mechanics have in our day written more vigorous and more correct verse;-the meadows of Northamptonshire, and the factories of Sheffield, have heard finer and bolder strains from those who live by toil among them;-one of the mightiest minds of the age produced his poems while working at the anvil, and still, apart from patronage, pursues his worldly calling. But the themes of his selection are not of a lowly character; or if he walks through green lanes and looks upon the reaper or the

ploughman, it is with loftier thoughts and feelings than those which led the gentle.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

HERE, 'midst the boldest triumphs of her worth,
Nature herself invites the reapers forth;
Dares the keen sickle from its twelvemonth's rest,
And gives that ardour which in every breast
From infancy to age alike appears,
When the first sheaf its plumy top uprears.
No rake takes here what Heaven to all bestows
Children of want, for you the bounty flows!
And every cottage from the plenteous store

Hark! where the sweeping scythe now rips along : Each sturdy mower, emulous and strong, Whose writhing form meridian heat defies, Bends o'er his work, and every sinew tries; Prostrates the waving treasure at his feet, But spares the rising clover, short and sweet. Come, Health I come, Jollity ! light footed, come; Here hold your revels, and make this your home: Each heart awaits and hails you as its own; Each moisten'd brow, that scorns to wear a frown Th' unpeopled dwelling mourns its tenants stray'd ; E'en the domestic laughing dairy-maid Hies to the field, the general toil to share. Meanwhile the Farmer quits his elbow-chair, His cool brick floor, his pitcher, and his ease, And braves the sultry beams, and gladly sees His gates thrown open, and his team abroad, The ready group attendant on his word, To turn the swarth, the quiv'ring load to rear, Or ply the busy rake, the land to clear. Summer's light garb itself now cumb'rous grown, Each his thin doublet in the shade throws down; Where oft the mastiff sculks with half-shut eye, And rouses at the stranger passing by; Whilst unrestrain'd the social converse flows, And every breast Love's powerful impulse knows, And rival wits with more than rustic grace Confess the presence of a pretty face.

Now, ere sweet Summer bids its long adieu, And winds blow keen where late the blossom grew, The bustling day and jovial night must come, The long-accustomed feast of Harvest-home. No blood-stain'd victory, in story bright, Can give the philosophic mind delight; No triumph please, while rage and death destroy; Reflection sickens at the monstrous joy. And where the joy, if rightly understood, Like cheerful praise for universal good ? · The soul nor check nor doubtful anguish knows, But free and pure the grateful current flows.

Behold the sound oak table's massy frame Bestride the kitchen floor! the careful dame

For all that clear’d the crop, or till’d the ground,
Are guests by right of custom :-old and young ;
And many a neighbouring yeoman join the throng,
With artizants that lent their dext'rous aid,
When o'er each field the flaming sunbeams play'd.

Yet Plenty reigns, and from her boundless hoard,
Though not one jelly trembles on the board,
Supplies the feast with all that sense can crave;
With all that made our great forefathers brave,
Ere the cloy'd palate countless flavours tried,
And cooks had Nature's judgment set aside.
With thanks to Heaven, and tales of rustic lore,
The mansion echoes when the banquet's o'er;
A wider circle spreads, and smiles abound,
As quick the frothing horn performs its round;
Care's mortal foe; that sprightly joys imparts
To cheer the frame and elevate their hearts.
Here, fresh and brown, the hazel's produce lies
In tempting heaps, and peals of laughter rise,
And crackling music, with the frequent song,
Unheeded bear the midnight hour along.

Here once a year Distinction low'rs its crest,
The master, servant, and the merry guest,
Are equal all; and round the happy ring
The reaper's eyes exulting glances Aling,
And, warn'd with gratitude, he quits his place,
With sun-burnt hands and ale-enliven'd face,
Refills the jug his honour'd host to tend,
To serve at once the master and the friend;
Proud thus to meet his smiles, to share his tale,
His nuts, his conversation, and his ale.

Such were the days—of days long past I sing,
When pride gave place to mirth without a sting;
Ere tyrant customs strength sufficient bore
To violate the feelings of the poor;
To leave them distanc'd in the mad’ning race, .
Where'er refinement shows its hated face:
Nor causeless hatred ;-'tis the peasant's curse, .
That hourly makes his wretched station worse ;
Destroys life's intercourse; the social plan
That rank to rank cements, as man to man:
Wealth flows around him, Fashion lordly reigns,

« ZurückWeiter »