Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Harvest Home
By Frederick Tennyson (1807–1898)
COME, let us mount the breezy down
And hearken to the tumult blown
Up from the champaign and the town.
The harvest days are come again,
The vales are surging with the grain;        5
The merry work goes on amain.
Pale streaks of cloud scarce veil the blue;
Against the golden harvest hue
The Autumn trees look fresh and new.
Wrinkled brows relax with glee,        10
And aged eyes they laugh to see
The sickles follow o’er the lea.
I see the little kerchief’d maid
With dimpling cheek and bodice staid,
’Mid the stout striplings half afraid;        15
I see the sire with bronzèd chest:
Mad babes amid the blithe unrest
Seem leaping from the mother’s breast.
The mighty youth and supple child
Go forth, the yellow sheaves are piled;        20
The toil is mirth, the mirth is wild …
Lusty Pleasures, hobnail’d Fun
Throng into the noonday sun
And ’mid the merry reapers run.
Draw the clear October out!        25
Another, and another bout!
Then back to labour with a shout!
The banded sheaves stand orderly
Against the purple Autumn sky
Like armies of Prosperity.        30
Hark! thro’ the middle of the town
From the sunny slopes run down
Bawling boys and reapers brown;
Laughter flies from door to door,
To see fat Plenty with his store        35
Led a captive by the poor …
Right thro’ the middle of the town,
With a great sheaf for a crown,
Onward he reels, a happy clown.
Faintly cheers the tailor thin,        40
And the smith with sooty chin
Lends his hammer to the din;
And the master, blithe and boon,
Pours forth his boys that afternoon,
And locks his desk an hour too soon.        45
Yet when the shadows eastward lean
O’er the smooth-shorn fallows clean,
And Silence sits where they have been,
Amid the gleaners I will stay,
While the shout and roundelay        50
Faint off, and daylight dies away.
—Dies away, and leaves me lone
With dim ghosts, of years agone,
Summers parted, glories flown;
Till Day beneath the West is roll’d,        55
Till grey spire and tufted wold
Purple in the evening gold.
Memories, when old age is come,
Are stray ears that deck the gloom,
And echoes of the Harvest-home.        60

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