The Atlantic Monthly/Volume 18/Number 106/My Farm


Within a green and pleasant land
I own a favorite plantation,
Whose woods and meads, if rudely planned,
Are still, at least, my own creation.
Some genial sun or kindly shower
Has here and there wooed forth a flower,
And touched the fields with expectation.

I know what feeds the soil I till,
What harvest-growth it best produces.
My forests shape themselves at will,
My grapes mature their proper juices.
I know the brambles and the weeds,
But know the fruits and wholesome seeds,—
Of those the hurt, of these the uses.

And working early, working late,
Directing crude and random Nature,
'T is joy to see my small estate
Grow fairer in the slightest feature.
If but a single wild-rose blow,
Or fruit-tree bend with April snow,
That day am I the happiest creature!

But round the borders of the land
Dwell many neighbors, fond of roving;
With curious eye and prying hand
About my fields I see them moving.
Some tread my choicest herbage down,
And some of weeds would weave a crown,
And bid me wear it, unreproving.

"What trees!" says one; "whoever saw
A grove, like this, of my possessing?
This vale offends my upland's law;
This sheltered garden needs suppressing.
My rocks this grass would never yield,
And how absurd the level field!
What here will grow is past my guessing."

"Behold the slope!" another cries:
"No sign of bog or meadow near it!
A varied surface I despise:
There's not a stagnant pool to cheer it!"
"Why plough at all?" remarked a third,
"Heaven help the man!" a fourth I heard,—
"His farm's a jungle: let him clear it!"

No friendly counsel I disdain:
My fields are free to every comer;
Yet that, which one to praise is fain,
But makes another's visage glummer.
I bow them out, and welcome in,
But while I seek some truth to win
Goes by, unused, the golden summer!

Ah! vain the hope to find in each
The wisdom each denies the other;
These mazes of conflicting speech
All theories of culture smother.
I'll raise and reap, with honest hand,
The native harvest of my land;
Do thou the same, my wiser brother!

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.