My Summer Fallow
For years my summer-fallow lay,
A wealthy waste of grass and hay
A wilder place you scarce could match
The maiden's famous berry patch.
I Ve counted, when the skies were fair,
Twenty and six sun-bonnets there,
And saw them all in terror break
Before a modest garter snake !
I ever felt a joy intense
To help each fair one o'er the fence,
And praise her ankles or her face,
And get her thanks with artless grace.
Many a ground-hog I have dug
From out his habitation snug ;
And when high hung the noiseless moon
I Ve laid in wait to meet the coon.
One spot I noticed as the best :
'T was always greener than the rest :
A deeper, richer, sweeter green
Than elsewhere in the field was seen.
On high the goose grass waved her plumes ;
The sweet white clover spread her blooms ;
The red-top grew so thick and rank
That on its knees it swooned and sank !
That spot had always furnished, free,
The village dames with boneset tea:
There, 'neath the sheltering mandrake's lid,
The fledgling Bob Whites softly hid ;