BETA

HALF THE YEAR ROUND.*

JULY.

Grateful and lovely, through the leafy glade,1
When day is at its sultriest, heaviest heat,2
When birds scarce twitter in the noontide shade,3
And the slow herds seek out some cool retreat,4
Comes the rich mother of the harvest sheaves,5
Bearing her first-fruits on her ample breast ;6
Speared barley, wheat, and grapes in tinted leaves,7
To lay them on God’s altar, ripe and blest8
Thank-offering to the Bountiful, who gives9
The fertile sunshine and the softening rain,10
The Father, Lord, of everything that lives,11
Without whose blessing men would sow in vain.12
Look up, O Mother ! holy are thy tears,13
And sweet thy hymn of praise in heavenly ears.14

AUGUST.

The Earth and all its fulness are the Lord’s ;15
Men but the stewards of his bounteous trust ! ”16
Glows on thy purple robe in living words,17
Though greed would tread them out in sordid dust :18
Enough to garner in the rich man’s store,19
Enough to give the reaper ample hire,20
Enough to feed the meek and patient poor,21
Enough for every Christian heart’s desire.22
God stints not.  On the russet sea,23
Ripe waving in the rich and gracious sun,24
On gorgeous heathland, and on fertile lea,25
Nature breathes gratefully, “ His will be done ! ”26
His will be done ! ” let thankful men reply,27
All praise and glory to the Lord most high ! ”28

SEPTEMBER.

The fields are ripe, the golden garners teem,29
The patient hind rejoices on his way ;30
From upland furrow and by lowland stream31
The reapers gather all the livelong day.32
Hoarding the master’s wealth with faithful hand,33
Through noontide hours unwearied toil they on,34
A smart and rough, yet honest-hearted band,35
Hoping no quiet till Life’s task is done ;36
When the Last Gleaner, Death, of every grain,37
Strewn in the trenches where Time is no more,38
Shall bind his sheaves and bear them back again,39
To the great Sower whence they came before40
To bloom in fields eternal, where no care41
Shall vex their long-sought rest with life’s despair.42

OCTOBER.

Royally vestured, o’er the solemn wolds,43
When nature rests, the great ingathering done,44
Sweeping in robes of heather-purple folds,45
Diademed with fire-red rays of setting sun,46
October hastens, swift on Summer’s track,47
To touch her rose-flushed cheeks with hue em-
browned,
48
To gird her robes for Winter’s coming wrack,49
Whose earliest victims wither on the ground.50
Then veils he her in frosted mist and white,51
And, quick of mood, begins a wanton chase,52
Spurns all the fallen glories out of sight,53
With frolic, north-blown song, and revelling face ;54
Then shakes the branches, showers down the leaves,55
While for each dying flower some dryad grieves.56

* See page 181 of the first volume.

NOVEMBER.

Creeping along the shallow, sedgy way,57
Where the tall rushes rear their phantom ranks,58
Comes pale November, clad in mournful grey,59
And weeping on the sunless river banks60
A shrouded form, all indistinct and wan,61
That shivers in the noisome, sighing wind,62
And, wraith-like, glides amongst the homes of man,63
Bringing sharp memories of past days unkind,64
Recalling harsh misfortune, hours of gloom,65
When the thick mists no break of heaven showed;66
Or hovering, a predestiny of doom,67
O’er faithless eyes that cannot pierce the cloud.68
Blanks on the wall where misery can but pray,69
That God and Time will take its sting away.70

DECEMBER.

Loud rings the blast across the eerie wold,71
Sharp strikes the storm against the window pane ;72
Rich men, warm sheltered from the biting cold,73
Think of the poor out in the icy rain !74
Pile your fire high, gather your dearest kin,75
Laugh and rejoice in the sweet light of home,76
But turn not all your treasures into sin,77
By driving thence the waifs of life’s wild foam,78
Drift that the tide casts helpless at your feet,79
Pleading an alms of mercy from your hand.80
Do as did He whom great and small must meet81
Beyond the confines of the silent land ;82
For hark !  His voice sounds ever and again,83
Peace upon earth, and good will unto men ! ”84