The Yellow Book/Volume 6/The Digger

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The Digger

From the Portuguese of Guerra Junqueiro

The cock crows this December night . . .
The cock crows hoarsely this dark night . . .
—Misery! oh, misery!
Villager sleep not! Call the wight . . .
Black sorrow, hasten, call the wight! . . .
—Misery! oh, misery!
The digger is thy slave of right,
Out with his hoe, for he of right,
Black sorrow, is a slave to thee!

Howls the wind, the nests are shaking . . .
In dread night the nests are shaking . . .
—Misery! oh, misery!
Cold as ermine snow is flaking . . .
In the dusk the snow is flaking . . .
—Misery! oh, misery!
Maledict his way is making,
Hoe on shoulder he is making,
That digger, a dark phantom he!

The morning star doth purple grow . . .
The morning star doth pallid grow . . .
—Misery! oh, misery!
The hills are bare, the frost below,
And stiff as bronze the frost below!
—Misery! oh, misery!
How grimly bends he o er his hoe,
And tears and trenches with his hoe,
That digger, a dark phantom he!

He digs and digs from dawn of day
Until the stroke of middle day . . .
—Misery! oh, misery!
Then standing, sadly sets to pray,
Upon the lonely slope to pray,
—Misery! oh, misery!
And putting down his hoe to say
"Hail Mary!" silently to say,
That digger, a dark phantom he!

He digs the savage mountainside,
From dawn to even, the mountainside . . .
—Misery! oh, misery!
And with some broth Thou dost requite
Him, God! and with six bairns requite,
—Misery! oh, misery!
The Angelus rings through the night,
"Blessed be Thou, Heavenly Sire, this night!"
The digger cries, a phantom he!

Ten hills are dug . . . where is the wheat?
Six mouths begotten . . . where is the wheat?
—Misery! oh, misery!
Upon his door comes Hunger s beat,
And Death s re-echoing the beat . . .
—Misery! oh, misery!
"The peace of God, I now entreat!
The peace of God, I now entreat!"
The digger sighed, and ceased to dree!