Gilbert White poems

Gilbert White(18 July 1720 - 26 June 1793 / Hampshire, England)
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A Harvest Scene

- by Gilbert White 44

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 White 35

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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