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The pipe whereon, in olden day,
All rural things are vilely mock'd,
And for a turfy bank, behold
An Ingram's rustic chair!
Where are ye, London meads and bowers,
Wherein the zephyr wons?
Alas! Moor Fields are fields no more!
And that bare wood,-St. John's.
No pastoral scene procures me peace;
No cot set round with trees;
With brokers, not with bees.
Oh well may poets make a fuss
My heart is all at pant to rest
In greenwood shades,-my eyes detest
Hark! where the sweeping scythe now rips along,
Each heart awaits, and hails you as its own;
Summer glows warm on the meadows, the speedwell, and goldcups,
and daisies, Darken ʼmid deepening masses of sorrel, and shadowy grasses Show the ripe hue to the farmer, and summon the scythe and the
haymakers Down from the village ; and now, even now, the air smells of the
mowing, And the sharp song of the scythe whistles daily, from dawn till the
gloaming Wears its cool star; sweet and welcome to all flaming faces a-field
now; Besprinkled with labour, and with the pure brew of the malt right cheery !
Our ancestors took advantage of every natural holiday to keep it long and gladly. Rural plays, or as Shakspeare calls them, Whitsun pastorals, succeeded after a little interval, the games of May; and now, in June, a feast exclusively rural and popular took place at the time of sbeep-shearing. See the “Winter's Tale;' Drayton's Pastorals,” eclogue 9; and his “Polyolbion," song 14, where he tells how
The shepherd king, Whose flock hath chanced that year the earliest lamb to bring, In his gay baldric sits at his low grassy board, With flowers, curds, clouted cream, and country dainties stored ; And whilst the bagpipe plays, each lusty jocund swain Quaffs syllabubs in cans to all upon the plain, And to their country girls, whose nosegays they do wear; Some roundelays do sing; the rest the burthen bear.
The white fleeces of the sheep on these occasions, the brown hue of the shearers, the blue of the sky, the running silver of the waters, the green of the grass, the various colours of the flowers, and the straw-hatted damsels that wear them, make up a delightful picture to the imagination.
Haymaking is more toilsome, and is performed in modern times by less happy labourers, who chiefly come over from Ireland for that purpose. But they have at least fine