August -

Harvest approaches with its busy day
The wheat tans brown & barley bleaches grey
In yellow garb the oat land intervenes
& tawney glooms the valley thronged with beans
Silent the village grows wood wandering dreams
Seem not so lonely as its quiet seems
Doors are shut up as on a winters day
& not a child about them lies at play
The dust that winnows neath the breezes feet
Is all that stirs about the silent street
Fancy might think that desert spreading fear
Had whisperd terrors into quiets ear
Or plundering armys past the place had come
& drove the lost inhabitants from home
The fields now claim them where a motley crew
Of old & young their daily tasks pursue
The reapers leave their rest before the sun
& gleaners follow in the toils begun
To pick the littered ear the reaper leaves
& glean in open fields among the sheaves
The ruddy child nursed in the lap of care
In toils rude strife to do its little share
Beside its mother poddles oer the land
Sun burnt & stooping with a weary hand
Picking its tiney glean of corn or wheat
While crackling stubbles wound its little feet
Full glad it often is to sit awhile
Upon a smooth green baulk to ease its toil
& feign would spend an idle hour to play
With insects strangers to the moiling day
Creeping about each rush & grassy stem
& often wishes it was one of them
In weariness of heart that it might lye
Hid in the grass from the days burning eye
That raises tender blisters on its skin
Thro holes or openings that have lost a pin
Free from the crackling stubs to toil & glean
& smiles to think how happy it had been
Whilst its expecting mother stops to tye
Her handful up & waiting its supply
Misses the idle younker from her side
& shouts of rods & morts of threats beside
Picturing harsh truths in its unpracticed eye
How they who idle in the harvest lye
Shall well deserving in the winter pine
Or hunt the hedges with the birds & swine
In vain he wishes that the rushes height
Were tall as trees to hide him from her sight
Leaving his pleasant seat his sighs & rubs
His legs & shows scratchd wounds from piercing stubs
To make excuse for play but she disdains
His little wounds & smiles while he complains
& as he stoops adown in troubles sore
She sees his grief & bids him mourn no more
As bye & bye on the next sabbath day
She'll give him well earned pence as well as play
When he may buy almost with out a stint
Sweet candied horehound cakes & pepper mint
At the gay shop within whose window lyes
Things of all sorts to tempt his eager eyes
Rich sugar plumbs in phials shining bright
In every hue young fancys to delight
Coaches & ladys of gilt ginger bread
& downy plumbs & apples streaked with red
Such promises all sorrows soon displace
& smiles are instant kindled in his face
Scorning all troubles which he felt before
He picks the trailing ears & mourns no more
The fields are all alive with sultry noise
Of labours sounds & insects busy joys
The reapers oer their glittering sickles stoop
Startling full oft the partridge conveys up
Some oer the rustling scythe go bending on
& shockers follow where their toils have gone
Reaping the swaths that rustle in the sun
Where mice from terrors dangers nimbly run
Leaving their tender young in fears alarm
Lapt up in nest of chimbled grasses warm
Hoping for safty from their flight in vain
While the rude boy or churlish hearted swain
Pursue with lifted weapons oer the ground
& spread an instant murder all around
Tho oft the anxious maidens tender prayer
Urges the clown their little lives to spare
Who sighs while trailing the long rake along
At scenes so cruel & forgets her song
When the sun stoops to meet the western sky
& noons hot hours have wanderd weary bye
They seek an awthorn bush or willow tree
For resting places that the coolest be
Where baskets heapd & unbroached bottles lye
Which dogs in absence watchd with wary eye
To catch their breath awhile & share the boon
Which beavering time alows their toil at noon
All gathering sit on stubbs or sheaves the hour
Where scarlet poppys linger still in flower
Next to her favoured swain the maiden steals
Blushing at kindness which his love reveals
Who makes a seat for her of things around
& drops beside her on the naked ground
Then from its cool retreat the beer they bring
& hand the stout hooped bottle round the ring
Each swain soaks hard — the maiden ere she sips
Shreaks at the bold whasp settling on her lips
That seems determined only hers to greet
As if it fancied they were cherrys sweet
The dog forgoes his sleep awhile or play
Springing at frogs that rustling jump away
To watch each morsel that the boon bestows
& wait the bone or crust the shepherd throws
For shepherds are no more of ease possest
But share the harvests labours with the rest
When day declines & labour meets repose
The bawling boy his evening journey goes
At toils unwearied call the first & last
He drives his horses to their nights repast
In dewey close or meadow to sojourn
& often ventures on his still return
Oer garden pales or orchard walls to hie
When sleeps safe key hath locked up dangers eye
All but the mastiff watching in the dark
Who snuffts & knows him & forbears to bark
With fearful haste he climbs each loaded tree
& picks for prizes which the ripest be
Pears plumbs or filberts covered oer in leams
While the pale moon creeps high in peaceful dreams
& oer his harvest theft in jealous light
Fills empty shadows with the power to fright
& owlet screaming as it bounces nigh
That from some barn hole pops & hurries bye
He hears the noise & trembling to escape
While every object grows a dismal shape
Drops from the tree in fancys swiftest dread
& thinks ghosts with him till he goes to bed
Quick tumbling oer the mossy mouldering wall
& looses half his booty in the fall
Where soon as ere the morning opes its eyes
The restless hogs will happen on the prize
& crump adown the mellow & the green
& makes all seem as nothing neer had been
Amid the broils of harvests weary reign
How sweet the sabbath wakes its rest again
& on each weary mind what rapture dwells
To hear once more its pleasant chiming bells
That from each steeple peeping here & there
Murmur a soothing lullaby to care
The shepherd journying on his morning rounds
Pauses awhile to hear their pleasing sounds
While the glad childern free from toils employ
Mimic the ding dong sounds & laugh for joy
The fields themselves seem happy to be free
Where insects chatter with unusual glee
While solitude the stubbs & grass among
Appears to muse & listen to the song
In quiet peace awakes the welcome morn
Men tired & childern with their gleaning worn
Weary & stiff lye round the doors the day
To rest themselves with little heart for play
No more keck horns in homestead close resounds
As in their school boy days at hare & hounds
Nor running oer the street from wall to wall
With eager shouts at " cuck & catch the ball"
In calm delight the sabbath wears along
Yet round the cross at noon a tempted throng
Of little younkers with their pence repair
To buy the downy plumb & lucious pear
That melt i'th mouth — which gardners never fail
For gains strong impulse to expose for sale
& on the circling cross steps in the sun
Sit when the parson has his sermon done
When gardners that against his rules rebell
Come wi their baskets heapd wi fruit to sell
That thither all the season did pursue
Wi mellow goos berrys of every hue
Green ruffs & raspberry reds & drops of gold
That makes mouths water often to behold
Sold out to clowns in totts oft deemd too small
Who grudging much the price eat husks & all
Nor leaves a fragment round to cheer the eye
Of searching swine that murmurs hungry bye
& currans red & white on cabbage leaves
While childerns fingers itches to be thieves
& black red cherrys shining to the sight
As rich as brandy held before the light
Now these are past he still as sunday comes
Sits on the cross wi baskets heapd wi plumbs
& Jenitens streakd apples suggar sweet
Others spice scented ripening wi the wheat
& pears that melt ith' mouth like honey which
He oft declares to make their spirits itch
They are so juicy ripe & better still
So rich they een might suck em thro a quill
Here at their leisure gather many a clown
To talk of grain & news about the town
& [h]ere the boy wi toils earnd penny comes
In hurrying speed to purchase pears or plumbs
& oer the basket hangs wi many a smile
Wi hat in hand to hold his prize the while
No so the boys that begs for pence in vain
Of deaf eard dames that threat while they complain
Who talk of the good dinners they have eat
& wanting more as nothing but consiet
Vowing they near shall throw good pence away
So bids them off & be content wi play
Reaching her rod that hangs the chimney oer
& scaring their rude whinings to the door
Who sob aloud & hang their hats adown
To hide their tears & sawn along the town
Venturing wi sullen step his basket nigh
& often dipping a desiring eye
Stone hearted dames thrifts errors to believe
To make their little bellys yearn to thieve
But strong temptation must to fears resign
For close beside the stocks in terror shine
So choaking substitutes for loss of pelf
He keeps his longing fingers to himself
& mopes & sits the sabbath hours away
Wi heart too weary & too sad for play
So sundays scenes & leisure passes bye
In rests soft peace & home tranquillity
Till monday morning doth its cares pursue
& wakes the harvests busy toils anew
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