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DEAR, Winsome little Primrose !

Sweet Pioneer of Spring !
How many are thy varied Charms !

To captivate and win.

On Cliffs and Banks of withered Grass,

Rocked by the passing wind ;
With hoar-frost veils around thee cast,

Thy dainty forms we find.

In dark-brown Woods and Country Lanes,

By Hedgerows rough and bare ;
In clustering groups of Golden Stars,

Thou bloomest Everywhere.

Oft bright with gems of Morning dew,

Thou liftest up thine head, Amid a nest of crinkled leaves,

Like emeralds round thee spread.

Or bravest all the nipping Gale,

Whilst bending to its breeze, As doth a Snow-white lateen Sail,

Upon the Eastern Seas.

The sportive Lambkin kisses thee,

A creature, too, of Spring;
A little Stranger of the Fields,

He gives thee welcoming.
When Childhood's happy Innocence

Smiled on my brow serene,
I loved to rove through Budding Grove,

And by the Sparkling Stream.
And oft delighted would I pause,

Thy golden crowns to view ;
A sunny Group of fragrant Flowers,

As fair as ever grew !
For when reflected on a Stream

Like Stars upon the Sea,
Your silent eloquence of Speech

Spake forth exquisitely,

Of One who by His matchless skill

Could give Such Beauty birth;
Could at the Dictates of His will,

Thus beautify the Earth.
And thus through thee, thou Springtide Flower,

Tell as the Seasons roll,
Of Heaven and Resurrection bright;

The Future of the Soul !

Composed at Brawby, April 7-8, 1886, after seeing the Primroses in the Woods near Kilburn and Stonegrave.


You see yon Field of Golden Grain

Away amid the trees,
Whose million stalks of rich ripe wheat

Are bending to the breeze?
We Ploughed that Field together !

Old Ben, young Jim, and I;
We walked our Teams each after,

And whistled merrily.

Old Ben, he'd lived with Master

For over thirty year;
The Old Folks knew his sterling worth,

The Young Folks thought him queer;
For Ben he was a Preacher Chap,

A sort of Methody,
And many were the taunts and laughs

He bore most patiently;
For said he often unto us,

When we were full of mirth :
'My Saviour did much more for me

When He was here on Earth.'

We Ploughed the Field Together !

'Tis now nigh thirty year! The Morning Sun was balmy,

The Sky was blue and clear ;

The lark he carolled gaily,

A feathery dot on high,
And showered down upon us

Rich notes of Melody.
The partridge from the stubble flew

With loud and whirring sound,
The timid rabbits gazed at us

From out the Hedgerows round. The Morn smiled on our labours

As furrows long and true, Round after round of sweet dark Ground

The glittering Ploughshare drew. The hungry rooks they followed hard,

Or round about us flew, With wagtails, lapwings, starlings, larks,

And sometimes plovers, too. Then Noontide came with stronger heat,

And hunger sharp and keen;
We loosed the Horses from the Ploughs

And led them to a Screen,
Of freshly budded Thorns and Trees,

Which grew upon the Hill;
Look yonder ! there towards your right

You'll see their branches still. There on the shelter'd shadowy Grass

Our wearied forms we threw ;

Our comely, handsome Servant Lass

Did soon the greensward strew With eatables of many kinds,

Well prized by hungry Men ; 'For which, dear Lord, we give Thee thanks !

Said pious, thankful Ben.
Then fell we to with right goodwill,

And made a hearty Meal,
Which soon all pangs of weariness

Did gently from us steal.
Meanwhile, the tired Horses grazed

Upon the fresh young grass ;
And thus both Man and Beast prepared

The Afternoon to pass
In useful Toil and Labours good,

That brought at Night reward,
Contentment, Health, good Appetite,

Nor Slumber sweet debarred.

We Ploughed the Field Together!

From Noon till dewy Eve,
Till in the West the Sun did rest

Fair as a Golden Sheaf;
And fairer yet and rosier still

Became that blushing Sun;
We paused to view mid falling dew,

Our heavy Task was Done.

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