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THREE SUMMER STUDIES

I

The cock hath crow'd. I hear the doors unbarr'd:
Down to the moss grown porch my way I take,

I
And hear, besides the well within the yard,

Full many an ancient, quacking, splashing drake, And gabbling goose, and noisy brood hen – all Responding to yon strutting gobbler's call.

5

The dew is thick upon the velvet grass

The porch rails hold it in translucent: drops, And as the cattle from th' inclosure pass,

Each one, alternate,2 slowly halts and crops The tall, green spears, with all their dewy load, Which grow beside the well known pasture road.

10

15

A lustrous polish is on all the leaves

The birds flit in and out with varied notes
The noisy swallows twitter 'neath the eaves

A partridge whistle thro’ the garden floats,
While yonder gaudy peacock harshly cries,
As red and gold flush all the eastern skies.

Up comes the sun: thro' the dense leaves a spot

Of splendid light drinks up the dew; the breeze Which late made leafy music dies; the day grows hot,

20

1 Translucent, clear, allowing light to pass through. 2 Alternate, in order, in succession.

And slumbrous sounds come from marauding bees: The burnish'd river like a sword blade shines, Save where 'tis shadow'd by the solemn pines.

II

25 Over the farm is brooding silence now —

No reaper's song — no raven's clangor harsh No bleat of sheep no distant low of cow

No croak of frogs within the spreading marsh — No bragging cock from litter'd farmyard crows, 30 The scene is steep'd in silence and repose.

A trembling haze hangs over all the fields

The panting cattle in the river stand Seeking the coolness which its wave scarce yields.

It seems a Sabbath thro’ the drowsy land: 35 So hush'd is all beneath the Summer's spell,

I pause and listen for some faint church bell.

The leaves are motionless — the song bird's mute

The very air seems somnolent 1 and sick:
The spreading branches with o'er-ripen'd fruit

Show in the sunshine all their clusters thick,
While now and then a mellow apple falls
With a dull sound within the orchard's walls.

40

The sky has but one solitary cloud,

Like a dark island in a sea of light;

i Somnolent, sleepy.

45

The parching furrows 'twixt the corn rows plow'd

Seem fairly dancing in my dazzled sight, While over yonder road a dusty haze Grows reddish purple in the sultry blaze.

50

III
That solitary cloud grows dark and wide,

While distant thunder rumbles in the air,
A fitful ripple breaks the river's tide —

The lazy cattle are no longer there,
But homeward come in long procession slow,
With many a bleat and many a plaintive low.

55

Darker and wider spreading o’er the west

Advancing clouds, each in fantastic form, And mirror'd turrets on the river's breast

Tell in advance the coming of a storm Closer and brighter glares the lightning's flash And louder, nearer, sounds the thunder's crash.

60

The air of evening is intensely hot,

The breeze feels heated as it fans my brows
Now sullen raindrops patter down like shot

Strike in the grass, or rattle 'mid the boughs.
A sultry lull: and then a gust again,
And now I see the thick advancing rain.

65

It fairly hisses as it comes along,

And where it strikes bounds up again in spray

70

As if 'twere dancing to the fitful song
Made by the trees, which twist themselves and

sway
In contest with the wind which rises fast,
Until the breeze becomes a furious blast.

And now, the sudden, fitful storm has fled,

The clouds lie pil'd up in the splendid west, 75 In massive shadow tipp'd with purplish red,

Crimson or gold. The scene is one of rest;
And on the bosom of yon still lagoon
I see the crescent of the pallid moon.

JAMES BARRON HOPE.

QUESTIONS FOR STUDY

What is described in the first study? The second ? The third ?

Which do you consider the best description ? Why?

Discuss and explain “ dewy load,” line 11; “lustrous polish,” line 13;

” line 13; “ marauding bees,” line 22; “ bragging cock," line 29; "mirrored turrets,” line 57; “sullen raindrops," line 63; “fitful storm,” line 73.

THE CHOOSING OF REBEKAH

This story from the Bible is one of the most beautiful idyls in literature. Abraham, the Patriarch, lived a wandering life, somewhat like that of an Arab sheikh or chieftain of today. He was rich in flocks and herds and was a great and good man. For many years he and his wife Sarah had been childless. At length a boy was born to them in their old age. They called him Isaac. When this story opens, Isaac was a full grown man living in the tents of his father, and unmarried.

And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, “Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: and I will make 5 thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son 10 Isaac."

And the servant said unto him, “Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?"

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