Thursday, 6 November 2008

Toilers of the Field

The blackbird's whistle is very human, like a human being playing the flute; an uncertain player, now drawing forth a bar of a beautiful melody—then losing it again. He does not know what quiver or what turn his note will take before it ends; the note leads him and completes itself. It is a song which strives to express the singer's keen delight, the singer's exquisite appreciation of the loveliness of the days; the golden glory of the meadow, the light, the luxurious shadows, the indolent clouds reclining on their azure couch. Such thoughts can only be ex­pressed in fragments, like a sculptor's chips, thrown off as the inspiration seizes him, not mechanically sawn to a set line. Now and again the blackbird feels the beauty of the time, the large white daisy stars, the grass with yellow-dusted tips, the air which comes so softly un-perceived by any precedent rustle of the hedge, the water which runs slower, held awhile by rootlet, flag, and forget-me-not. He feels the beauty of the time, and he must say it. His notes come like wild-flowers, not sown in order. The sunshine opens and shuts the stops of his instrument. — 'The Toilers of the Field': The Coming of Summer.

Pass when you may, this little orchard has always something, because it is left to itself—I had written neglected, I struck the word out, for this is not neglect, this is true attention, to leave it to itself, so that the young trees trail over the bushes and stay till the berries fall of their own over-ripeness, if perchance spared by the birds; so that the dead brown leaves lie and are not swept away unless the wind pleases; so that all things follow their own course and bent.—'The Toilers of the Field': The Coming of Summer.

A June rose. Something caught my eye on the top of the high hawthorn hedge beside the Brighton road one evening as it was growing dusk, and on looking again there was a spray of briar in flower, two roses in full bloom and out of reach, and one spray of growing buds. So it is ever with the June rose. It is found unexpectedly, and when you are not looking for it. It is a gift, not a dis­covery, or anything earned—a gift like love and happiness. With ripening grasses the rose comes, and the rose is summer: till then it is spring.—'The Toilers of the Field': The Coming of Summer.

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