A Summer Day.

—J. Dodds.

Sunrise—Forenoon.

 

THE sun is rising, and an eastern breeze

Is blowing freshness through the waving trees;

The air is kindling into rosy light,

And Day rides forth in flaming chariot bright.

 

Thick-sown with freshening dew the meadow lies,

And misty vapours from the valley rise,

To curl like robes around the mountains dun,

Then melt away before the thirsty sun.

 

The rural revelry, that rang the while

The husbandman began his pleasant toil,

Now dies away, and Industry severe

In peace pursues the labours of the year.

 

The herds have settled to their pastures green,

An animated, yet a quiet scene;

Along the flowery sward they slowly pass,

And revel on the richness of the grass.

 

So silent grows the day, that even the bird

Among the rustling leaves is clearly heard,

And the sweet murmur of the tiny stream

That wild flowers shelter from the solar beam.

 

Now the clear sun looks fiercely down, and soon

Will he be mounted on the tower of noon;

The massy shadow of yon stately tree

Glooms like a dark isle in a tropic sea.

 

Noon.

 

Now comes the calm luxurious hour of rest,

By all the panting sons of labour blest;

Sweet at this burning season, doubly sweet

To all who mingle in its toil and heat.

 

The humming beech-tree shadow o’er him cast,

The sun-burnt hedger sits at his repast,

Like monarch at a feast; with relish rare

He banquets on his poor unseasoned fare.

 

The lambs that sported, and the ewes that fed,

The morning long, now seek the rustic shed,

Or by the shady margin of the wood

They rest, and o’er their past regalement brood.

 

In fine, all creatures of the earth and air,

Oppressed and panting, to the shade repair,

And feel it all their luxury to shun

The torrid splendour of the lofty sun.

 

Beside the secret and dark-shaded bank,

With dewy flowers and undried verdure rank,

The pensive stripling seeks the waters cool,

And plunges, swan-like, in the quiet pool.

 

The aged shepherd, on the mountain side

Stretched thoughtfully, beholds a prospect wide;

A stunted thorn its shadow o’er him flings,

And at his feet a bubbling fountain springs.

 

There doth the rustic sage untroubled lie,

And ponder much untaught philosophy;

With look of silent rapture he surveys

The pictured valley lying in a blaze.

 

By Nature’s best inheritance ‘tis his;

Thence he derives a heritage of bliss.

Though but the master of an humble fold,

His the delight, another’s is the gold.

 

Afternoon—Night.

 

But now the woodman, lively after rest,

Resumes his toil upon the mountain’s breast,

And with a blithsome, oft-repeated tune,

Beguiles the long and sunny afternoon.

 

By the wild brook, among its rushy bowers,

The little village maidens gather flowers.

To their charmed sense, the beauteous buds they hold

Are dearer far than fairy gems and gold.

 

Without a tear—yet grief too soon will come—

They sport, nor is their merry pastime dumb;—

So lovely in their fleeting lives, they seem

Like water-lilies floating down a stream.

 

These sportive children of the laughing eye,

And brow serene as the unclouded sky,

Run gracefully, and shout, and look behind,

Their bright locks playing in the summer wind.

 

But tired with shouting sport, and mirth’s excess,

They fling themselves, in careless loveliness,

Upon the green sward, and with half-shut eyes,

They sing old rhymes and rural melodies.

 

So may we deem, in heaven’s serener clime,

That tender children, snatched away from time,

Enjoy eternity in blooming bowers,

And sing God’s glory amid streams and flowers.

 

But lo! a darkening cloud of softest rain,

Falls, like a pearly veil, upon the plain.

The glittering fields rejoice in greenest hue,

And all the air is moistened with a dew.

 

With lovely strength looks forth the setting sun,

As one whose glorious race is nearly run;

The clouds around him, by his splendor riven,

Glow like the golden battlements of heaven.

 

A universal song is in the woods,

A pleasant voice comes from the sylvan floods;

The evening breeze is odorous and bland,

And starry Night beholds a quiet land.

 

Source of our life, and Giver of our days!

Let me, at morn and eve, thy glory praise;

And when these earthly years have passed away,

May I enjoy an endless Summer day.

 

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