The Book of the Native

by Charles G.D. Roberts


An Epitaph for a Husbandman


He who would start and rise
    Before the crowing cocks—
No more he lifts his eyes,
    Whoever knocks.

He who before the stars

    Would call the cattle home,—
They wait about the bars
    For him to come.

Him at whose hearty calls
    The farmstead woke again

The horses in their stalls
    Expect in vain.

Busy, and blithe, and bold,
    He laboured for the morrow,—
The plough his hands would hold

    Rusts in the furrow.

His fields he had to leave,
    His orchards cool and dim;
The clods he used to cleave
    Now cover him.


But the green, growing things
    Lean kindly to his sleep,—
White roots and wandering strings,
    Closer they creep.

Because he loved them long

    And with them bore his part,
Tenderly now they throng
    About his heart.