Among the Millet

by Archibald Lampman


 

FREEDOM


 

    Out of the heart of the city begotten
        Of the labour of men and their manifold hands,
Whose souls, that were sprung from the earth in her morning,
No longer regard or remember her warning,
    Whose hearts in the furnace of care have forgotten               5
        Forever the scent and the hue of her lands;

    Out of the heat of the usurerís hold,
        From the horrible crash of the strong manís feet;
Out of the shadow were pity is dying;
Out of the clamour where beauty is lying,                                  10
    Dead in the depth of the struggle for gold;
        Out of the din and the glare of the street;

    Into the arms of our mother we come,
        Our broad strong mother, the innocent earth,
Mother of all things beautiful, blameless,                                  15
Mother of hopes that her strength makes tameless,
    Where the voices of grief and of battle are dumb,
        And the whole world laughs with the light of her mirth.

    Over the fields, where the cool winds sweep,
        Black with the mould and brown with the loam,                20
Where the thin green spears of the wheat are appearing,
And the high-ho shouts from the smoky clearing;
    Over the widths, where the cloud shadows creep;
        Over the fields and the fallows we come;

    Over the swamps with their pensive noises,                        25
        Where the burnished cup of the marigold gleams;
Skirting the reeds, where the quick winds shiver
On the swelling breast of the dimpled river,
    And the blue of the king-fisher hangs and poises,
        Watching a spot by the edge of the streams;                  30

    By the miles of the fences warped and dyed
        With the white-hot noons and their withering fires,
Where the rough bees trample the creamy bosoms
Of the hanging tufts of the elder blossoms,
    And the spiders weave, and the grey snakes hide,            35
        In the crannied gloom of the stones and the briers;

    Over the meadow land sprouting with thistle,
        Where the humming wings of the blackbirds pass,
Where the hollows are banked with the violets flowering,
And the long-limbed pendulous elms are towering,               40
    Where the robins are loud with their voluble whistle,
        And the ground sparrow scurries away through the grass,

    Where the restless bobolink loiters and woos
        Down in the hollows and over the swells,
Dropping in and out of the shadows,                                       45
Sprinkling his music about the meadows,
    Whistles and little checks and coos,
        And the tinkle of glassy bells;

    Into the dim woods full of the tombs
        Of the dead trees soft in their sepulchres,                      50
Where the pensive throats of the shy birds hidden,
Pipe to us strangely entering unbidden,
    And tenderly still in the tremulous glooms
        The trilliums scatter their white-winged stars;

    Up to the hills where our tired hearts rest,                          55
        Loosen, and halt, and regather their dreams;
Up to the hills, where the winds restore us,
Clearing our eyes to the beauty before us,
    Earth with the glory of life on her breast,
        Earth with the gleam of her cities and streams.             60

    Here we shall commune with her and no other;
        Care and the battle of life shall cease;
Men her degenerate children behind us,
Only the might of her beauty shall bind us,
    Full of rest, as we gaze on the face of our mother,            65
        Earth in the health and the strength of her peace.