Archibald Lampman

Comfort of the Fields

What would'st thou have for easement after grief,
  When the rude world hath used thee with despite,
  And care sits at thine elbow day and night,
Filching thy pleasures like a subtle thief?
To me, when life besets me in such wise,
'Tis sweetest to break forth, to drop the chain,
  And grasp the freedom of this pleasant earth,
  To roam in idleness and sober mirth,
Through summer airs and summer lands, and drain
The comfort of wide fields unto tired eyes.

By hills and waters, farms and solitudes,
  To wander by the day with wilful feet;
  Through fielded valleys wide with yellowing wheat;
Along gray roads that run between deep woods,
Murmurous and cool; through hallowed slopes of pine,
  Where the long daylight dreams, unpierced, unstirred,
  And only the rich-throated thrush is heard;
By lonely forest brooks that froth and shine
  In bouldered crannies buried in the hills;
By broken beeches tangled with wild vine,
  And log-strewn rivers murmurous with mills.

In upland pastures, sown with gold, and sweet
  With the keen perfume of the ripening grass,
  Where wings of birds and filmy shadows pass,
Spread thick as stars with shining marguerite;
To haunt old fences overgrown with brier,
  Muffled in vines, and hawthorns, and wild cherries,
  Rank poisonous ivies, red-bunched elderberries,
And pièd blossoms to the heart's desire,
  Gray mullein towering into yellow bloom,
  Pink-tasseled milkweed, breathing dense perfume,
And swarthy vervain, tipped with violet fire.

To hear at eve the bleating of far flocks,
  The mud-hen's whistle from the marsh at morn;
  To skirt with deafened ears and brain o'erborne
Some foam-filled rapid charging down its rocks
With iron roar of waters; far away
  Across wide-reeded meres, pensive with noon,
  To hear the querulous outcry of the loon;
To lie among deep rocks, and watch all day
  On liquid heights the snowy clouds melt by;
Or hear from wood-capped mountain-brows the jay
  Pierce the bright morning with his jibing cry.

To feast on summer sounds; the jolted wains,
  The thrasher humming from the farm near by,
  The prattling cricket's intermittent cry,
The locust's rattle from the sultry lanes;
Or in the shadow of some oaken spray,
  To watch, as through a mist of light and dreams,
  The far-off hay-fields, where the dusty teams
Drive round and round the lessening squares of hay,
  And hear upon the wind, now loud, now low,
With drowsy cadence half a summer's day,
  The clatter of the reapers come and go.

Far violet hills, horizons filmed with showers,
  The murmur of cool streams, the forest's gloom,
  The voices of the breathing grass, the hum
Of ancient gardens overbanked with flowers:
Thus, with a smile as golden as the dawn,
  And cool fair fingers radiantly divine,
  The mighty mother brings us in her hand,
For all tired eyes and foreheads pinched and wan,
Her restful cup, her beaker of bright wine:
  Drink, and be filled, and ye shall understand!

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