William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

End Of Harvest - Poem by William Bell Scott

They're in the corner of the field,
The last field they shall have to shear,
They've left and tied one bunch, ‘the hare,’
Called in harvest language here.
So I shall leave my books and toys,
My Nankin blues and other pets,
For still to pass on pleasantly
One must pay dame fashion's debts.
To give the prize, the silver coin,
To him who hits the mark, or she,
I hope indeed it may be Jane,
Who makes the sickle rightly flee,
To cut the bunch, to kill ‘the hare,’
The last grain cut of all the year:
But no, it is douce Donald Bain,
So rarely fate accords a cheer!

Already the wide kitchen blooms
With wreaths of evergreens and flowers,
The solid roasts are almost done,
To try their gathered festive powers.
All disappear till evensong,
And then we see the fiddle-case,
With gay escort of twos and threes,
Girls and their lovers drest with grace.
The hour arrives, the ample board
Is girt by young and old alike,
Anon it disappears, and then
Twenty pairs of hands they strike,
The fiddler mounts, the dance begins,
Now Jane could win the prize, I think,
Scotch reel, mazurka, quadrille, waltz,
She make's old Fergie's eyelids wink.
The Drennens too, good sonsy pair,
Passed their silver wedding day,

Admired by their own children too,
Dance with each other, dance alway.
Now you and I, old Fergie, come,
We elders may still try, you know,
No, no! take Mysie, I've no breath,
That indeed would make me crow!
Too soon the tall house-clock strikes twelve,
The lads and lasses hear it too,
I leave them to their parting reel,
And write this plain song, friend, for you.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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