It is I, lads, who look after this place

It is I, lads, who look after this place—
This cottage in the marsh, thatched with withies
And rushes by the handful—a dried-up oak stump
Hacked into shape by a countryman's axe. Year by year
It grows more prosperous. For those who own this shack,
A father and his teenage son, pay their respects
And hold me for their god. The one
Tending me with such assiduous care, that
Weeds and rough brambles are kept away from my shrine;
The other brings me at all times lavish gifts
Out of a small man's handful. In flowering springtime
A gaily coloured garland is placed upon me,
Then, as first-fruits, the delicate spikes
Of the greening corn, with their still-tender beard,
Yellow pansies, and the poppy with its milky juice,
Pale melons, and fragrant smelling apples,
Reddening grape-clusters trained
Under the shadow of their own leaves. This weapon of mine—
But keep mum—a bearded billy
And his horny-hoofed nanny-goat stain with their blood.
For all these offerings Priapus now
Will have to do his bit—taking good care of
The master's vineyard and his garden-plot.
Be off with you, boys, and don't you try
Your thieving tricks here! There's a rich neighbour,
And his Priapus is careless. Lift things from him—
This path will take you there of its own accord.
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