Littell's Living Age/Volume 140/Issue 1808/A Farmhouse Dirge
From The Contemporary Review.
A FARMHOUSE DIRGE.
Will you walk with me to the brow of the hill, to visit the farmer's wife,
How thick with acorns the ground is strewn, rent from their cups and brown!
The stream scarce flows underneath the bridge; they have dropped the sluice of the mill;
Cottages four, two new, two old, each with its clambering rose:
Tenants of two of them work for me, punctual, sober, true;
Here is the railway bridge, and see how straight do the bright lines keep,
Lo! yonder the Farm, and these the ruts that the broad-wheeled wains have worn,
And this is the orchard, - small and rude, and uncared-for, but oh! in spring,
Will you lean o'er the gate, whilst I go on? You can watch the farmyard life.
- - - - -
"I thought you would come this morning, ma'am. Yes, Edith at last has gone;
"Yes, I'm at work; 'tis time I was. I should have begun before;
"Thank you, for thinking of her so much. Kind thought is the truest friend.
"I never could tell you how kind too were the ladies up at the hall;
"She never wished to be smart and rich, as so many in these days do.
"The vicar says that he knows she is there, and surely she ought to be;
"The young ones don't seem to take to work as their mothers and fathers did.
"I don't know how it'll be with them when sorrow and loss are theirs,
They say it's an age of progress this, and a sight of things improves,
"Some day they'll have a home of their own, much grander than this, no doubt,
"How does my husband bear up, you ask? Well, thank you, ma'am, fairly well;
"Must you be going? It seems so short. But thank you for thinking to come;
"You've got some flowers, yet, haven't you, ma'am? though they now must be going fast;
- - - - -
Come, let us go. Yes, down the hill, and home by the winding lane.
The acorns thicker and thicker lie, the bryony limper grows.
October, 1878. Alfred Austin.