Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 9/"At Sempach"


Fields, where the tillage is not wholly man’s—
Wherein the sturdy mower whets her scythe
And the plough-maiden drives her languid team
O’er purple slopes, with many a fair-hair’d gang
Of girls that ply the mattock and the hoe,
Or blithely move beneath such wondrous loads
As unaccustom’d manhood may not bear;
Such fields, such valleys, the stupendous Alps,
Strong virgins of the desert, well may guard,
And freedom bless with rare tranquillity.
For these are women of heroic type,
The mothers of unconquerable men:
They are no timid darlings, who delight
To ape the unmeaning fashions of the rich,
Or, rich themselves, to frolic life away;
But in serene equality of strength,
And unobtrusive and laborious love
That helps abroad and cherishes at home,
They dwell beside their husbands and their sires,
And please, because they know not they are fair:
Soil’d on the surface, haply (if the touch
Of honest earth, and such delicious hues
As sunshine gives, and health, be stains indeed),
But in themselves, as pure as the blue heart
Of those deep glaciers, broadening from on high,
That glide and glide, until they melt below
In streams that charm with music all the dale.

Arthur J. Munby.