Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/A moral from Saint Swithin


When Tellus crowned with half-embrownéd wheat,
Wearing within the braids of her long hair
In thick festoons her scarlet poppy-wreath
Pants hot and breathless in the July air:

And scorchéd white the bearded barley bends,
Parched and all-drooping to the sultry breeze,
And sullen roars the distant thunder-voice,
Shaking with coming wrath the fretful trees:

Ariseth he—Physician much belied!—
Fruitful Saint Swithin, and with out-stretched hand,
His crystal vase of sweet cool rain down-pours
In gift baptismal on the craving land.

Come, bounteous Rain-god, in thy watery car,
For to thine influence owe we, and thy power
All earth’s green verdure, her rich crops, her fruit,
The thousand Iris-hues of each sweet flower!

Nature revives! And she, whose o’er-taxed womb
But for all blesséd rain would sterile be,
Rises refreshed, and blushing through her tears
Wears the glad heart-smile of maternity.

Take courage, then, for when in life’s high noon
Faints the strong man upon his sultry way,
Faith with her out-poured vial pointing on
Lets fall the rain-dew of a July day!

Astley H. Baldwin.