The Poor Man's Sunday Walk

The morning of our rest has come,
The sun is shining clear;
I see it on the steeple-top:
Put on your shawl, my dear,
And let us leave the smoky town,
The dense and stagnant lane,
And take our children by the hand
To see the fields again.
I've pined for air the livelong week;
For the smell of new-mown hay;
For a pleasant, quiet, country walk,
On a sunny Sabbath day.

Our parish church is cold and damp;
I need the air and sun;
We'll sit together on the grass,
And see the children run.
We'll watch them gathering butter-cups,
Or cowslips in the dell,
Or listen to the cheerful sounds
Of the far-off village bell;
And thank our God with grateful hearts,
Though in the fields we pray;
And bless the healthful breeze of heaven,
On a sunny Sabbath day.

I'm weary of the stifling room,
Where all the week we're pent;
Of the alley fill'd with wretched life,
And odors pestilent.
And long once more to see the fields,
And the grazing sheep and beeves;
To hear the lark amid the clouds,
And the wind among the leaves;
And all the sounds that glad the air
On green hills far away: —
The sounds that breathe of Peace and Love,
On a sunny Sabbath day.

For somehow, though they call it wrong,
In church I cannot kneel
With half the natural thankfulness
And piety I feel,
When out, on such a day as this,
I lie upon the sod,
And think that every leaf and flower
Is grateful to its God;
That I, who feel the blessing more,
Should thank him more than they,
That I can elevate my soul
On a sunny Sabbath day.

Put on your shawl, and let us go; —
For one day let us think
Of something else than daily care,
Or toil, and meat, and drink:
For one day let our children sport
And feel their limbs their own:
For one day let us quite forget
The grief that we have known: —
Let us forget that we are poor;
And, basking in the ray,
Thank God that we can still enjoy
A sunny Sabbath day.
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