A.E. Housman (1859–1936)
Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree
“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,
At racing on the green.
“Long for me the rick will wait,
And long will wait the fold,
And long will stand the empty plate,
And dinner will be cold.”
- A conical pile as of hay, left standing in the field for storage. ↵
- Largest river in the U.K., rising in mid-Wales. The English towns of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester are situated on its banks. ↵
- August 1 wheat harvest festival, from Anglo-Saxon, hlaf-mas (loaf mass). ↵
- A stack of hay in the open air. ↵