Earth’s Harvests.

Peace hath her victories, no less renowned than War.”—
Milton’s Sonnet to Cromwell .
Two hundred years ago, * the moon1
Shone on a battle plain ;2
Cold through that glowing night of June3
Lay steeds and riders slain ;4
And daisies, bending ’neath strange dew,5
Wept in the silver light ;6
The very turf a regal hue7
Assumed that fatal night.8
Time past—but long, to tell the tale,9
Some battle-axe or shield,10
Or cloven skull, or shattered mail,11
Were found upon the field ;12
The grass grew thickest on the spot13
Where high were heaped the dead,14
And well it marked, had men forgot,15
Where the great charge was made.16
To-day—the sun looks laughing down17
Upon the harvest plain,18
The little gleaners, rosy-brown,19
The merry reaper’s train ;20
The rich sheaves heaped together stand,21
And resting in their shade,22
A mother, working close at hand,23
Her sleeping babe hath laid.24
A battle-field it was, and is,25
For serried spears are there,26
And against mighty foes upreared—27
Gaunt hunger, pale despair.28
We’ll thank God for the hearts of old,29
Their strife our freedom sealed ;30
We’ll praise Him for the sheaves of gold31
Now on the battlefield.32
* Naseby, June 14, 1646.