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Short poem

Gilbert White (1720-1793)

A Harvest Scene

              1Wak'd by the gentle gleamings of the morn,
              2Soon clad, the reaper, provident of want
              3Hies cheerful hearted to the ripen'd field;
              4Nor hastes alone; attendant by his side
              5His faithful wife, sole partner of his cares,
              6Bears on her breast the sleeping babe; behind
              7With steps unequal trips her infant train:
              8Thrice happy pair, in love and labour join'd! --
              9All day they ply their task; with mutual chat
            10Beguiling each the sultry, tedious hours:
            11Around them falls in rows the sever'd corn,
            12Or the shocks rise in regular array.
            13But when high noon invites to short repast
            14Beneath the shade of sheltering thorn they sit,
            15Divide the simple meal, and drain the cask:
            16The swinging cradle lulls the whimpering babe,
            17Meantime; while growling round, if at the tread
            18Of hasty passenger alarm'd, as of their store
            19Protective, stalks the cur with bristling back,
            20To guard the scanty scrip and russet frock.


2] provident of want: looking ahead to times of famine.

9] ply: apply themselves to.

20] scrip: small bag.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Gilbert White, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, in the County of Southampton. To Which are Added, The Naturalist's Calendar; Observations on Various Parts of Nature; and Poems, New Edn. (London: White, Cochrane, and others, 1813): 569. Facsimile edn., intro. P. G. M. Foster, The Ray Society, no. 160 (London: The Ray Society, 1993). QH 138 S4W5 1993b Gerstein Library
First publication date: 1813
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/4/29

Composition date: 1782
Composition date note: In autumn, according to Foster, Gilbert White, p. 198, n. 56.
Rhyme: unrhyming
Form note: iambic pentameter

Other poems by Gilbert White