When I've nothing my leisure to hinder
I scarce get as far as the eaves;
Her head's instant out of the window
Calling out like a press after thieves.
The young men all fall to remarking,
And laugh till they're weary to see't,
While the dogs at the noise begin barking,
And I slink in with shame from the street.
My mother's aye jealous of loving,
My father's aye jealous of play,
So what with them both there's no moving,
I'm in durance for life and a day.
O who shall I get for to marry me?
Who will have pity to woo?
Tis death any longer to tarry me,
And what shall a poor maiden do?
If I sigh through the window when Jerry
The ploughman goes by, I grow bold;
And if I'm disposed to be merry,
My parents do nothing but scold;
And Jerry the clown, and no other,
Eer cometh to marry or woo;
They think me the moral of mother
And judge me a terrible shrew.
For mother she hateth all fellows,
And spinning's my father's desire,
While the old cat growls bass with the bellows
If eer I hitch up to the fire.
I make the whole house out of humour,
I wish nothing else but to please,
Would fortune but bring a new comer
To marry, and make me at ease!
Posted by Arborfield at 6:00 am
On Martinmas eve the dogs did bark,
And I opened the window to see,
When every maiden went by with her spark
But neer a one came to me.
And O dear what will become of me?
And O dear what shall I do,
When nobody whispers to marry me--
Nobody cometh to woo?
None's born for such troubles as I be:
If the sun wakens first in the morn
"Lazy hussy" my parents both call me,
And I must abide by their scorn,
For nobody cometh to marry me,
Nobody cometh to woo,
So here in distress must I tarry me--
What can a poor maiden do?
The black and yellow bumble first on wing
To buzz among the sallow's early flowers,
Hiding its nest in holes from fickle spring
Who stints his rambles with her frequent showers;
And one that may for wiser piper pass,
In livery dress half sables and half red,
Who laps a moss ball in the meadow grass
And hoards her stores when April showers have fled;
And russet commoner who knows the face
Of every blossom that the meadow brings,
Starting the traveller to a quicker pace
By threatening round his head in many rings:
These sweeten summer in their happy glee
By giving for her honey melody.
Posted by Arborfield at 8:35 am
Grasshoppers go in many a thumming spring
And now to stalks of tasseled sow-grass cling,
That shakes and swees awhile, but still keeps straight;
While arching oxeye doubles with his weight.
Next on the cat-tail-grass with farther bound
He springs, that bends until they touch the ground.
Posted by Arborfield at 12:00 pm
The wind waves oer the meadows green
And shakes my own wild flowers
And shifts about the moving scene
Like the life of summer hours;
The little bents with reedy head,
The scarce seen shapes of flowers,
All kink about like skeins of thread
In these wind-shaken hours.
All stir and strife and life and bustle
In everything around one sees;
The rushes whistle, sedges rustle,
The grass is buzzing round like bees;
The butterflies are tossed about
Like skiffs upon a stormy sea;
The bees are lost amid the rout
And drop in [their] perplexity.
Wilt thou be mine, thou bonny lass?
Thy drapery floats so gracefully;
We'll walk along the meadow grass,
We'll stand beneath the willow tree.
We'll mark the little reeling bee
Along the grassy ocean rove,
Tossed like a little boat at sea,
And interchange our vows of love.
Posted by Arborfield at 8:08 am
"My love is young and handsome
As any in the town,
She's worth a ploughman's ransom
In the drab cotton gown."
He sang and turned his furrow oer
And urged his team along,
While on the willow as before
The old crow croaked his song:
The ploughman sung his rustic lay
And sung of Phoebe all the day.
The crow he was in love no doubt
And [so were] many things:
The ploughman finished many a bout,
And lustily he sings,
"My love she is a milking maid
With red rosy cheek;
Of cotton drab her gown was made,
I loved her many a week."
His milking maid the ploughman sung
Till all the fields around him rung.
How sweet to be thus nestling deep in boughs,
Upon an ashen stoven pillowing me;
Faintly are heard the ploughmen at their ploughs,
But not an eye can find its way to see.
The sunbeams scarce molest me with a smile,
So thickly the leafy armies gather round;
And where they do, the breeze blows cool the while,
Their leafy shadows dancing on the ground.
Full many a flower, too, wishing to be seen,
Perks up its head the hiding grass between,--
In mid-wood silence, thus, how sweet to be;
Where all the noises, that on peace intrude,
Come from the chittering cricket, bird, and bee,
Whose songs have charms to sweeten solitude.
Posted by Arborfield at 7:45 am
Above the russet clods the corn is seen
Sprouting its spiry points of tender green,
Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake,
Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break.
Opening their golden caskets to the sun,
The buttercups make schoolboys eager run,
To see who shall be first to pluck the prize -
Up from their hurry see the Skylark flies,
And oer her half-formed nest, with happy wings,
Winnows the air till in the cloud she sings,
Then hangs a dust spot in the sunny skies,
And drops and drops till in her nest she lies,
Which they unheeded passed - not dreaming then
That birds, which flew so high, would drop again
To nests upon the ground, which anything
May come at to destroy. Had they the wing
Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud
And build on nothing but a passing cloud!
As free from danger as the heavens are free
From pain and toil, there would they build and be,
And sail about the world to scenes unheard
Of and unseen, - O were they but a bird!
So think they, while they listen to its song,
And smile and fancy and so pass along;
While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn,
Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn.