Summer Evening (II)

Bats flit by in hood and cowl;
Through the barn-hole pops the owl;
From the hedge, in drowsy hum,
Heedless buzzing beetles bum,
Haunting every bushy place,
Flopping in the labourer's face.
Now the snail hath made its ring;
And the moth with snowy wing
Circles round in winding whirls,
Through sweet evening's sprinkled pearls,
On each nodding rush besprent;
Dancing on from bent to bent;
Now to downy grasses clung,
Resting for a while he's hung;
Then, to ferry oer the stream,
Vanishing as flies a dream;
Playful still his hours to keep,
Till his time has come to sleep;

1 comment:

Nomad said...

'From the hedge, in drowsy hum,
Heedless buzzing beetles bum,'

Roger R. had wondered about the beetles bum-ming, and whether that were a way of speaking of bees. As far as the use of ‘bum’ goes, the OED (any excuse to go have a good wallow in its happy sea of etymologies and historical usages!) has several verb options for 'bum': I rather favour ‘to taste (drink); to drink’, apparently (but of course not infallibly!) obsolete after medieval times. It’d go rather nicely with their subsequent ‘flopping in the labourer’s face’: that’s just marvellous!

However, more likely it’s just the ‘to hum loudly; to boom.’

The OED doesn't seem to offer evidence of 'beetle' being used as a name for 'bee', but perhaps someone reading this will know better whether it might be a dialect term?