Archive for November 1st, 2010

The Unhung Rascals of Today

November 1, 2010


(Denver Post.)

Election judgment day is near,
The candidates are at the bar,
And upon every side we hear
What hell-bound renegades they are.
Soon will the conflict die away,
And these vile, rope-deserving men,
These unhung rascals of today,
Will be good citizens again.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Nov 6, 1898

We Were Merry Making Hay

November 1, 2010

[From THE ALDINE for July.]


‘Twas in the days of mowing
With honest arm and scythe;
When neighbors helped in neighbors’ fields
And harvest hands were blithe.
For me, I grew a stripling —
They called me half a hand —
Among the stalwart, sun-browned men
Who tilled the clover-land.

The rhythmic swing of sinews
Was regular and strong;
The even-measured mowing stroke
First set my soul to song.
Sweet music of the whetstones,
Like morning bells in chime,
Toned soothingly life’s harsher sounds —
My heart’s still beating time.

Right bravely marched the mowers
Knee-deep in flowering grass;
They ranged according to their skill
Like school boys in a class.
And strength was brought to trial,
And strove with wrestler’s wroth —
Who could the smoothest stubble cut,
And who the widest swath!

How proudly strove the leader —
The swiftest and the best!
He held his place a cut or two
Ahead of all the rest;
Allowed no one to lead him
The breadth of brawny hand; —
A master of the mowing-craft,
He ruled the clover-land.

The morning beams came glancing
The fluttering tree-tops thro’,
Like golden bills of birds that bent
To sip the sparkling dew.
And then, in soft mid-morning,
Began the harvest-day,
And all hands — girls and boys and men —
Were merry making hay.

There came a choice of partners
Who could the best agree,
And lots were drawn by glances quick —
Kate always, fell to me!
Now turn thy glass, O Mem’ry,
Upon that harvest day,
Which poured its sunshine over me
And Katie making hay.

The morning call of luncheon
To grassy table laid,
Assembled all the haymakers
Beneath a lone tree’s shade;
A bliss of rest and breathing
By leafy fingers fanned —
And then another haying-heat
Raced o’er the clover-land.

We spread the swaths commingling
In beds of rusting brown,
And rich field-odors floated up
On wings of feathery down.
Then rolled the ridgy windrows —
The triumphs of the day;
I dreamed o’er triumphs of a life
With Katie raking hay.

She looked all-over-bonnet
Of gingham — blue and white —
Her face’s roses in the shade
Glanced out their own sweet light.
Her rake would get entangled
Sometimes, by locking mine,
and when she said: “Provoking thing”
E’en quarreling was divine!

A spring of bubbling waters
Welled up in woodside cool,
And ever at the field’s-end hedge
Both thirsted for the pool.
She drunk from out a goblet
I made her of my hands,
And, kneeling at her feet, I quathed
From cup of golden sands.

the last load in the twilight
Dragged slowly towards the stack–
So like a great brown burly beast
With children on its back;
And flocky clouds hung over,
Of softest creamy hue,
Like handfuls plucked from cotton bales
and dashed against the blue.

I’m dreaming now of hay-time,
The fields and skies are bright;
I see among the harvesters
A bonnet — blue and white —
And Katie’s face is in it,
A shade, it may be, tanned,
But ’tis the fairest face of all
That grace the clover-land.

The clover-crop was gathered
In harvests long ago;
Another partner Katie chose
For life’s up-hill windrow.
But O, of all the sunshine
That ever blest a day —
The crown still shimmers over me
and Katie raking hay.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadephia, Ohio) Jul 17, 1874

These hay rakers were in Sweden, I think.

This picture is one of several used to illustrate the biography linked below:

When Everybody Called Me Gah-bay-bi-nayss,
An Ethnographic Biography of
Paul Peter Buffalo

Timothy G. Roufs
University of Minnesota Duluth