Gilbert White

(18 July 1720 – 26 June 1793 / Hampshire, England)

A Harvest Scene


Wak'd by the gentle gleamings of the morn,
Soon clad, the reaper, provident of want
Hies cheerful hearted to the ripen'd field;
Nor hastes alone; attendant by his side
His faithful wife, sole partner of his cares,
Bears on her breast the sleeping babe; behind
With steps unequal trips her infant train:
Thrice happy pair, in love and labour join'd! --
All day they ply their task; with mutual chat
Beguiling each the sultry, tedious hours:
Around them falls in rows the sever'd corn,
Or the shocks rise in regular array.
But when high noon invites to short repast
Beneath the shade of sheltering thorn they sit,
Divide the simple meal, and drain the cask:
The swinging cradle lulls the whimpering babe,
Meantime; while growling round, if at the tread
Of hasty passenger alarm'd, as of their store
Protective, stalks the cur with bristling back,
To guard the scanty scrip and russet frock.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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