The Reapers In Autumn
Soon as the morning trembles o'er the sky,
And unperceived, unfolds the spreading day;
Before the ripen'd field the reapers stand,
In fair array.
At once they stoop and swell the lusty sheaves;
While through their cheerful band the rural talk,
The rural scandal, and the rural jest,
Fly harmless, to deceive the tedious time,
And steal unfelt the sultry hours away.
Behind, the master walks, builds up the shocks:
And, conscious, glancing oft on every side
His sated eye, feels his heart heave with joy.
The gleaners spread around, and here and there,
Spike after spike, their scanty harvest pick.
Be not too narrow, husbandman! but fling
From the full sheaf, with charitable stealth,
The liberal handful. Think, oh think!
How good the God of harvest is to you,
Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields;
While these unhappy partners of your kind
Wide hover round you, like the fowls of heaven,
And ask their humble dole. The various turns
Of fortune ponder; that your sons may want
What now, with hard reluctance, faint, ye give.