Gilbert White(18 July 1720 - 26 June 1793 / Hampshire, England)
A Harvest Scene
- by Gilbert White44
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.
On the Dark, Still, Dry Warm Weather
- by Gilbert White35
Th'imprison'd winds slumber within their caves Fast bound: the fickle vane, emblem of change, Wavers no more, long-settling to a point. All nature nodding seems compos'd: thick steams From land, from flood up-drawn, dimming the day, "Like a dark ceiling stand:" slow thro' the air Gossamer floats, or stretch'd from blade to blade The wavy net-work whitens all the field. Push'd by the weightier atmosphere, up springs The ponderous Mercury, from scale to scale Mounting, amidst the Torricellian tube. While high in air, and pois'd upon his wings Unseen, the soft, enamour'd wood-lark runs Thro' all his maze of melody; -- the brake Loud with the black-bird's bolder note resounds. Sooth'd by the genial warmth, the cawing rook Anticipates the spring, selects her mate, Haunts her tall nest-trees, and with sedulous care Repairs her wicker eyrie, tempest torn. The plough-man inly smiles to see upturn His mellow glebe, best pledge of future crop: With glee the gardener eyes his smoking beds: E'en pining sickness feels a short relief. The happy school-boy brings transported forth His long-forgotten scourge, and giddy gig: O'er the white paths he whirls the rolling hoop, Or triumphs in the dusty fields of taw. Not so the museful sage: -- abroad he walks Contemplative, if haply he may find What cause controuls the tempest's rage, or whence Amidst the savage season winter smiles. For days, for weeks, prevails the placid calm. At length some drops prelude a change: the sun With ray refracted bursts the parting gloom; When all the chequer'd sky is one bright glare. Mutters the wind at eve: th' horizon round With angry aspect scowls: down rush the showers, And float the delug'd paths, and miry fields.
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