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14.3: Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree

  • Page ID
  • VIII

    Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree

    “Farewell to barn and stack[1] and tree,
    Farewell to Severn[2] shore.
    Terence, look your last at me,
    For I come home no more.

    “The sun burns on the half-mown hill,
    By now the blood is dried;
    And Maurice amongst the hay lies still
    And my knife is in his side.

    “My mother thinks us long away;
    ‘Tis time the field were mown.
    She had two sons at rising day,
    To-night she’ll be alone.

    “And here’s a bloody hand to shake,
    And oh, man, here’s good-bye;
    We’ll sweat no more on scythe and rake,
    My bloody hands and I.

    “I wish you strength to bring you pride,
    And a love to keep you clean,
    And I wish you luck, come Lammastide[3],
    At racing on the green.

    “Long for me the rick[4] will wait,
    And long will wait the fold,
    And long will stand the empty plate,
    And dinner will be cold.”

    — 1896

    Contributors and Attributions

    1. A conical pile as of hay, left standing in the field for storage.
    2. Largest river in the U.K., rising in mid-Wales. The English towns of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester are situated on its banks.
    3. August 1 wheat harvest festival, from Anglo-Saxon, hlaf-mas (loaf mass).
    4. A stack of hay in the open air.
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