The sturdy farmer awakes at morn
His laggard boys with a blast from the horn,
That aroused them from their late morning nap
Like a loud Olympian thunder-clap.
He looked on life as the time to achieve,
And so he taught his two sons to believe
That practical knowledge is better far
In the battle of life as well as in war.
"To the ploughs, to the ploughs! No lagging now!"
Oh, well do they know the frown on his brow;
"For," he cried, "the sun is already up,
Has drunk the fresh dew from the flower-cup."
The boys turn them out, passing down the stair,
Both carelessly smoothing their rumpled hair.
Straight to the trough by the well do they go,
No daintier bath did they ever know.
One lowered the bucket deftly adown
The mossy well, then raised it dripping and brown,
Where, perched on the curb, each one took a quaff;
Then pouring its contents into the trough.
They lave their ruddy brows, their hands, their feet,
Breathing the perfume of morning so sweet,
When, the curling locks of youth flinging back,
Seek quickly the kitchen towel-rack.
The mother looks up with pride in her eye
As their brave young forms pass hastily by
With a nod and smile and innocent jest,
Called forth by a wish her love to test;
But before their frugal meal they partook,
The farmer would read from the Holy Book;
And kneeling upon the white sanded floor,
The sun streaming in through the open door,
With his faithful wife's hand within his own,
He thanked the good Lord for rich blessings shown,
And prayed in his bluff but honest way
That he would kindly keep them through the day,
And teach them while ploughing and sowing the seed,
Not to forget that their own hearts might need
A similar breaking of fallow ground,
That seeds of truth might spring up and abound.
Just as soon as their simple meal was done,
To the barn proceeded father and son;
While they bid the youngest one of the three
Bring the water-jug from under the tree.
Then each vaulted upon his steed's broad back;
And with the loose harness' clatter and clack,
Wearing wide-brimmed hats their brows to shield
From the sun's hot rays, they start afield.
Out through the broad gate, left standing ajar,
And over the hill-top swept from afar
By the south-blowing breeze, that brings again
Blossoms of spring and the wood-birds sweet strain.