Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Cornfields

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Mary Howitt 1799–1888


WHEN on the breath of autumn breeze,

From pastures dry and brown,

Goes floating like an idle thought

The fair white thistle-down,

Oh then what joy to walk at will

Upon the golden harvest hill!

What joy in dreamy ease to lie

Amid a field new shorn,

And see all round on sun-lit slopes

The pil’d-up stacks of corn;

And send the fancy wandering o’er

All pleasant harvest-fields of yore.

I feel the day—I see the field,

The quivering of the leaves,

And good old Jacob and his house

Binding the yellow sheaves;

And at this very hour I seem

To be with Joseph in his dream.

I see the fields of Bethlehem

And reapers many a one,

Bending unto their sickles’ stroke,

And Boaz looking on;

And Ruth, the Moabite so fair,

Among the gleaners stooping there.

Again I see a little child,

His mother’s sole delight,

God’s living gift of love unto

The kind good Shunammite;

To mortal pangs I see him yield,

And the lad bear him from the field.

The sun-bath’d quiet of the hills,

The fields of Galilee,

That eighteen hundred years ago

Were full of corn, I see;

And the dear Saviour takes his way

’Mid ripe ears on the Sabbath day.

Oh, golden fields of bending corn,

How beautiful they seem!

The reaper-folk, the pil’d-up sheaves,

To me are like a dream.

The sunshine and the very air

Seem of old time, and take me there.