Seedtime and Harvest.

Beneath a dark November sky,1
With the cold rain falling drearily,2
And the bleak wind moaning and shrieking by,3
The seed o’er the land is cast ;4
And in grave-like furrows the grain doth lie,5
Till the weary months are past.6
In curling mist, and frosty air,7
And weeping skies, it lieth there ;8
Or buried in the snow, or bare9
To every wind that blows ;10
And Night’s deep darkness, like despair,11
Hangs o’er it while it grows.12
It grows in spite of cloud and blast,13
And sullen rain descending fast,14
And snow-wreaths thickly o’er it cast,15
And thunderous, darkening skies ;16
The very tempests roaring past17
Strengthen it as it lies.18
Anon a kindlier season shines,19
And warmth and light, the spring’s soft signs,20
With many a beauteous blossom twines21
The breast of icy Earth22
And the grain, in delicate emerald lines,23
Springs up, a faëry birth.24
Then sunny months, in swift career,25
Bring up the lusty ripened ear ;26
And the golden harvest-time draws near,27
And the reaper whets his scythe ;28
Till, on a day, the rich sheaves rear29
Their shapes on the landscape blithe.30
Sown in the cold, dark, desolate days ;31
Reaped in the sunshine’s mellow blaze :32
Thus in the dim and wondrous ways33
Of Fate are the deeds of men :34
Sorrow and trial, defeats and delays,35
Like storms that soften the grain,36
Must test the heart’s aspiring claim ;37
But every just and noble aim38
Shall pass the ordeal clear of blame,39
And in the appointed hour40
Bring forth its fruit of wealth or fame,41
Of knowledge, wisdom, power.42
Sow, though in days of gloom, the seeds43
Of manful toil and generous deeds,44
Of stern self-sacrifice, that heeds45
Little the world’s behest ;46
Cast out the lying thought that pleads47
Enough, now take thy rest.’48
In the winds of Scorn, the storms of Hate,49
In the darkness of hope deferred full late,50
Through days when the world shews desolate,51
Must sleep the good deeds thou hast done ;52
Faithfully labour, patiently wait,53
Thy work shall see the sun.54
That which was sown in the wintry air,55
Shall blossom and ripen when skies are fair.56
Though thine should be many an anxious care57
Ere the harvest is gathered in58
Be stout to toil, and steady to bear59
The heart that is true shall win.60