« ForrigeFortsæt »
weather and secure pay. The ladies may practise haymaking on a small scale upon lawns and paddocks; and if they are not afraid of giving their fair skins a still finer tinge of the sunny, nothing makes them look better. Allan Ramsay makes his lover become enamoured of the 'Lass of Patie's Mill,' while helping to make hay :
A tedding of the hay
Bareheaded on the green,
Love 'mid her locks did play,
And wanton'd in her e'en.
Nothing is more lovely than a female head uncovered out of doors. It looks nymph-like and a part of the fertile landscape.
Theocritus has used it with exquisite grace and nature in a passage imitated by Virgil. A goatherd and shepherd are boasting of their popularity with the village lasses :Comatas. There's Clearista, when my goats go by, Pelts apples, and then hums me something sly.
And Cratis meets and maddens me; her hair
Shakes at her throat in curls, with such an air.
As to a seat against a haycock, on the side farthest from the sun, with the odour of the new-mown grass perfuming all the air, and a sense of slumberous beauty breathing from the warm sky above, and the green earth below-it is a luxury which has still survived for the lover of the fields; and we accordingly nestle to it in our fancy, and with halfshut eyes rest from our own pleasant work.-LEIGH HUNT.
Spite of the glowing and cloudless midsummer sky beneath which we have reposed with Leigh Hunt in the hay-field, let us suppose the hay carried, and hear in the words of another poet
AN INVOCATION TO RAIN IN SUMMER.
O gentle, gentle, summer rain,
Let not the silver lily pine,
The drooping lily pine in vain
To feel that dewy touch of thine,
To drink thy freshness once again,
O gentle, gentle, summer rain!
In heat the landscape quivering lies;
The cattle pant beneath the tree;
Through parching air and purple skies,
The earth looks up, in vain, for thee;
For thee for thee, it looks in vain,
O gentle, gentle summer rain!
Come, thou, and brim the meadow-streams,
And soften all the hills with mist,
O falling dew! from burning dreams
By thee shall herb and flower be kiss'd,
And earth shall bless thee yet again,
O gentle, gentle summer rain!
W. C. BENNETT.
The rains have fallen, the brooks are full, and now we have
MARSH FLOWERS IN JUNE.
Spiked reed, and golden iris bending over
Low-running streams, and that small pleading flower
We none of us forget, with foxgloves ranged
In rows of crimson bells, and many more
From hedge and coppice and flat marshes, make
My glad mind wander forth where they were born,
When the dim dawn awoke with summer songs,
And June with glory crown'd proclaim'd the morn.
With glory crown'd! oh month of wealth untold!
From the high moorland sweeps the scented breeze,
Gorse spreads a golden pavement under heaven;
No stars can pierce the woven forest trees
When night again hath lit her silver lamp,
Brooding above the homes of sleeping men
And wide-spread plains of God, who sleepeth not
Till all the dykes are lustrous once again.
Murmur, slow streams, and sway within the wind,
Spiked reed and golden iris, while the day
Breaks red upon the plain, and the morn grows dim,
And all the piled clouds are roll'd away.
Broad level fields, and hedges thick with trees,
A calm still evening dropping fitful rain,
And hawthorns loaded with their perfumed snow;
All nature languorous, and yet alive
With humming insects and with bleating sheep;
A sky both grey and tender,-misty clouds
Floating therein, streak'd here and there with gold;
And golden flowers topping the tall June grass.
Ivy clothes all the ruins, sprouting weeds,
Lichen, and moss, for richest tapestry;
Which for festivity and regal pomp,
Held in the olden time, is nothing now
But tune of children's voices, and the calm
Quiet evening, misty on the ruins. Far
Over the fields are farms and gardens gay;
And strong magnificent oaks, beneath whose bouglis
Twilight sits brooding ere she walks abroad.
A soft moist summer eve,-'tis Nature grieving
For the depart of spring; not yet the sun
Hath dried her thoughtful tears; or else it is
The death of the Last Fairy, and the flowers
Hang down their heavy heads in grief for her.
It is a beauteous evening, calm and free;
The holy tiine is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven is on the sea;
Listen !-the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder--everlastingly.
Dear child ! dear girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear’st untouch'd by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not, therefore, less divine;
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year,
And worship'st at the temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.
Long winding lanes and hedges red with bloom
Of meek wild robin, starred with tender white;
A sun down-dropping gold on summer green
Of perfumed woods, whose laced foliage shows,
In sudden glimpses, depths unfathomable
Of the far coolness, bower in bower of leaves,
Various in shade and shape; which following,
They're lost in sudden darkness of thick trees,
Or branch far up upon the dim blue sky.
And here are nests of birds, whole colonies
Of poets singing ever; nightingales
As in old Grecian woods; not mournfully,
But in glad bursts and far resounding calls
Filling the air with holiest unison. We
Stay here awhile and listen ; in the faint
Sweet breath of the wind comes tuneful insect hum,
Mix'd with the rustle of the swaying leaves,
Bass to the birds' clear treble-"Beautiful !"
A SUMMER EVENING AMONG THE MOUNTAINS.
The veil of evening falls. A mighty calm
Pervades the landscape. In the gloaming, even
The rugged heights, with outline softened, yield
To charméd sleep. All breathing deep repose,
There is a summer softness in the air;
And sweet the dewy fragrance from the flowers
We know are springing all around our feet,
Although we cannot see their loveliness.
Yon scarlet flakes hung low in amber air,
Beyond the purple peaks intensely burn,
Till each streak, waxing thread-like, disappears,
Foretelling bright to-morrow. From lone cots
Hid by the trees, their columns of blue smoke,
Ascending, mingle with the twilight shades,
And die in blue mid air. Wending along
By wooded promontories, overhead
Far-stretching branches interlace, and cast
Their dusky shadows on our path. We meet
The herd-girl bringing home her lowing kine,
And gazing, follow her, till all the train,
Last she herself, in windings of the way,
The blue sky deepens, and the stars blink forth ;
We hear the voice of distant waterfalls-
Sounds all unmark'd by day; hawks are abroad;
The downy-featherd owl, on noiseless wing,
Flits silently-woe to the little mice-
With leathern wings! The mountain-eagle, too,
On dusky pinion soars.
Lo! in the brake
A starry light gleams like an emerald,
Bright—beautiful: it is the glowworm's lamp;
Here many, twinkling shine: One placed within
A full-blown rose—the phosphorescent light
Glows radiant through and through its crimson leaves,
Till all seem as on fire-a true love torch!
Another on the prow of moss-canoe