October 28, 2004

Hay poems in popular magazines since 1798.

“Description of Hay-making”
Philadelphia Monthly Magazine v1 n5 (May 1798) p.284.

Thomas E. Garrett.
“Raking Hay”
The Aldine: The Art Journal of America v7 n7 (July 1, 1874).

Dora Reade Goodale.
Scribner’s Monthly v17 n1 (November 1878), p.86.

Samuel M. Peck.
“At the Making of the Hay”
Current Literature v1 n4 (October 1888) p.328.

Stanley Waterloo.
“A Load of Hay”
Current Literature v2 n2 (February 1889), p.172.

Zitella Cocke.
“Love-making in Hay-making”
Century Illustrated Magazine v40 n3 (July 1890) p. 480.

Katharine Pyle.
“In the Hay-Mow”
Harper’s Bazaar v33 (December 22 1900) p. 2170.

Alice E. Allen.
“Make Hay While the Sun Shines”
Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine v84, n500 (August 1909), p.262.

Witter Bynner.
“Hay Wagon”
Harper’s v158 (January, 1929), p. 249.

Robert Francis.
Harper’s v173 (July 1936), p. 165.

Elizabeth Coatsworth, 1893-1990.
“Salt Hay”
Woman’s Home Companion v63 (October 1936) p. 35.

Hayin time postcard. 1910.Poems in popular magazines have their own category here, even though the older ones are virtually indistinguishable in themes and style from their counterparts in books and literary periodicals. The first one in particular is typical of the hay genre on both sides of the Atlantic during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But bouncy rhymes and trite figures of speech persist in the magazines well into the decades when modernism had dismissed them from more serious contexts. Of particular interest are Waterloo’s hay-in-the-city quatrains, which echo several of the ideas in the Australian Richardson’s poem from roughly the same period. Since a couple of the turn-of-the-century pieces (by Cocke and Allen) resemble greeting card verse, pairing them with their contemporary popular postcards seems appropriate. The last poem included here, Coatsworth’s haunting and lyrical “Salt Hay,” recalls the New Brunswick marsh poems of Herbin from half-a-century earlier. Indeed many of these popular works are delightful in their unselfconscious, old-fashioned nostalgia, a trait, after all, underlying hundreds of the visual and literary occupants of this site.

Hearne. Landscape and Figures. 1783.Anonymous.
“Description of Hay-making”
Philadelphia Monthly Magazine v1 n5 (May 1798) p.284.

There see the mowers, to their half-done task,
Early returning, jocund, o’er the grass,
That yesterday they cut: with stone well-ply’d,
Bending, they whet the clear-resounding steel;
And now in order plac’d, step after step,
Slow following, with successive well-tim’d stroke,
The scythe they brandish: falling at their feet
In semicircle wide, a mingl’d heap
Of seedling stalks and flowers of various hues
In wild confusion lies, to bloom no more.
Meanwhile a num’rous train of men and boys,
And country maidens, bearing in their hands
The rural trophies, cheerfully begin
Their pleasing toil, and scatter far and wide,
With airy toss, the odoriferous hay;
Light burden! While as now the climbing sun,
In splendour clad, pours forth his sloping rays
Stronger, the field is all a moving scene
Of gaiety and business, mirth and toil.
Many the jokes, and frequent are the laughs,
Enlivening their labour: on the copse
Of yonder hedge, where gay the wild-rose blooms,
Is laid the copious can, with needful store
Of liquor fill’d and cover’d from the sight
Of busy flies. Full oft the heated swain
Thither is seen to pace, and from the cup
First take a long, deep draught: then to the fair,
Not asking, but whose warm flush’d cheeks betray
Her thirst, slow carrying, presents the cup
With awkward gallantry. Fatigued, the band
Awhile repose : the sun-burnt clown, robust,
Pulls on his knee his modest looking fair,
Pleas’d, and yet half asham’d: ah! Happy he,
If from her lips he gains at last the kiss,
With many struggles won; nor is ev’n she,
Tho’ her disorder’d locks with many a frown
Now she adjusts, displeas’d at heart to lose
The fragrant prize she wish’d not to withhold.
She seeks not to ensnare a captive train
Of lsaves, to grace the triumph of her eyes:
Nor, having won her lover’s faithful heart,
[p. 285]
To leave him, proud-exulting in his pains.
For him alone the riband gay is seen,
On Sundays streaming in her hat of straw,
Luring at church unwary eyes from pray’rs.
Still near her thro’ the field he strives to toil,
And oftm when unperceiv’d, they tell their love
In sidelong glances: language sweet! That speaks
In silence more than all th’affected fop,
Practis’d in flatt’ry’s artswith oily tongue,
Pours in his vainer fair’s deluded ears.
Here ’tis, that Love bestrews his pleasing joys,
Unblended with his cares : for hear no fears
Of rankling jealousy disturb the breast.
He knows his maiden true, as tho her swain;
And so shall each be prov’d, for Hymen soon
In bondage sweet shall join their willing hands.
Be kind, ye Southern breezes! Blow not yet,
Nor bid your train of gloomy clouds and show’rs
Unwelcome now, deform the tranquil sky!
But let the frequent wain, unslapp’d by rains,
Clear the dry hayfield of its dusky piles!

Clausen. The Mowers. 1891.Thomas E. Garrett.
“Raking Hay”
The Aldine: The Art Journal of America v7 n7 (July 1, 1874).

‘Twas in the days of mowing
With honest arm and scythe;
When neighbors helped in neighbors’ fields,
And harvest hands were blithe.
For me, I grew a stripling—
They called me half a hand—
Among the stalwart, sun-browned men
Who tilled the clover-land.

The rhythmic swing of sinews
Was regular and strong:
The even-measured mowing stroke
First set my soul to song.
Sweet music of the whetstones,
Like morning bells in chime,
Toned soothingly life’s harsher sounds—
My heart’s still beating time.

Right bravely marched the mowers
Knee-deep in flowering grass;
They ranged according to their skill
Like school-boys in a class.
And strength was brought to trial,
And strove with wrestler’s wroth—
Who could the smoothest stubble cut,
And who the widest swath!

How proudly strove the leader—
The swiftest and the best!
He held his place a cut or two
Ahead of all the rest;
Allowed no one to lead him
The breadth of brawny hand;--
A master of the mowing-craft,
He ruled the clover-land.

The morning beams came glancing
The fluttering tree-tops thro’,
Like golden bills of birs that bent
To sip the sparkling dew.
And then, in soft mid-morning,
Began the harvest-day,
And all hands—girls and boys and men—
Were merry making hay.

There came a choice of partners
Who could the best agree,
And lots were drawn by glances quick—
Kate always fell to me!
Now turn thy glass, O Mem’ry,
Upon that harvest-day,
Which poured its sunshine over me
And Katie making hay.

The morning call of luncheon
To grassy table laid,
Assembled all the haymakers
Beneath a lone tree’s shade;
A bliss of rest and breathing
By leafy fingers fanned—
And then another haying-heat
Raced o’er the clover-land.

We spread the swths commingling
In beds of rustling brown,
And rich field-odors floated up
On wings of feathery down.
Then rolled the ridgy windrows—
The triumphs of the day:
I dreamed o’er triumphs of a lie
With Katie raking hay.

She looked all-over-bonnet
Of gingham—blue and white—
Her face’s roses in the shade
Glanced out their own sweet light.
Her rake would get entangled
Sometimes, by locking mine,
And when she said: “Provoking thing!”
E’en quarreling was divine!

A spring of bubbling waters
Welled up in woodside cool,
And ever at the field’s-end hedge
Both thirsted for the pool.
She drank from out a goblet
I made her of my hands,
And, kneeling at her feet, I quaffed
From cup of golden sands.

The last load in the twilight
Dragged slowly towards the stack—
So like a great brown burly beast
With children on its back;
And flecky clouds hung over,
Of softest creamy hue,
Like handfuls plucked from cotton-bales
And dashed against the blue.

I’m dreaming now of hay-time.
The fields and skies are bright;
I see among the harvesters
A bonnet—blue and white—
And Katie’s face is in it,
A shade, it may be, tanned,
But ‘tis the fairest face of all
That grace the clover-land.

The clover-crop was gathered
In harvests long ago;
Another partner Katie chose
For life’s up-hill windrow.
But O, for all the sunshine
That ever blest a day—
The crown still shimmers over me
And Katie raking hay.

Cole. Haymaking.Dora Reade Goodale.
Scribner’s Monthly v17 n1 (November 1878), p.86.

Daisied meadows, fields of clover,
Grasses juicy, fresh and sweet;
In a day the wild bees hover
Over many a fragrant heap;
Windrows all the meads do cover,
Blossoms fall, and farmers reap;
In a month, and all is over,--
Stored away for winter’s keep.

Homer. Waiting for an Answer. 1872.Samuel M. Peck.
“At the Making of the Hay”
Current Literature v1 n4 (October 1888) p.328.

When the whip-poor-wills are calling,
And the apple-blooms are falling,
With a tender tint forestalling
Summer’s blush upon the grass;
Where the little stars are keeping
Watch above the meadow sleeping,
And the jack-o’-lantern’s peeping,
I will meet my bonnie lass.

I will seek her. I will find her.
I will slyly steal behind her;
And with kisses I will blind her
Till she sets the happy day!
And when the barley’s heading,
And the summer rose is shedding,
Oh, there’ll be a merry wedding
At the making of the hay!

Hay Wagon, Redmond. 1912.Stanley Waterloo.
“A Load of Hay”
Current Literature v2 n2 (February 1889), p.172.

A load of hay in the crowded street,
A whiff of the scent of clover,
A change of thought—vague—incomplete—
A living a young life over.
A day in August and clouds o white,
A shifting of light and shadow,
The hum of bees and the martin’s flight,
The meadow-larks and the meadow.

Strong arms of men and the yellow green
Of the swathes, the steady swinging
Of forms of laborers, strong and lean,
The scythes with their steely ringing,

The roar of trade and the newsboys’ call
And the dream of a moment’s over;
‘Twas a brain-wave came through the nose, and all
From a whiff of the scent of clover!

Break Away. 1909.Zitella Cocke.
“Love-making in Hay-making”
Century Illustrated Magazine v40 n3 (July 1890) p. 480.

Love’ time is his own,
In frigid or torrid or temperate zone.
In winter or summer or springtide, or whether
The sunshine is glorious or winds stretch their tether
To batter a city or play with a feather.
Love will have his way,
Whatever the weather;
And yet in the days that are gone, as to-day,
The making of love and the making of hay
Somehow go together.

Love’s way is his own,
In frigid or torrid or temperate zone.
And whether at noontide, at eve, or at morning,
He comes as he chooses, and comes without warning,
And prisons and harriers are but his scorning.
So love has his way
In spite of the weather;
But why in the present and past, tell me, pray,
Do making of love and the making of hay
Always go together?

Stilwell. In the Hay-mow. 1900.Katharine Pyle.
“In the Hay-Mow”
from Harper’s Bazaar v33 (December 22 1900) p. 2170

The horses stamp and champ their oats
Down in the stall below,
And through the open hay-mow door
The swallows come and go.

The sun is very bright outside;
The men shout far away;
And in the mow the children climb
And play among the hay.

Making Hay. 1908.Alice E. Allen.
“Make Hay While the Sun Shines”
from Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine v84, n500 (August 1909), p.262.

Maud Muller, in her brief hey-day,
Raked in the meadow, so they say,

And pretty Nan at break of dawn,
Gets up to mow her father’s lawn.

And oh, that mower’s creak and squeak!
Oblivion in vain I seek!

Though little birds to catch the worms
Must early rise, the sage affirms;

And though Maud’s face, so sweet and warm,
Quite took the Judge’s heart by storm,

Still, neighbor Nancy, just next door,
Please don’t disturb my morning snore.
Dream your sweet dreams, let me dream mine
Then, when the day grows fair and fine,

I’ll tell you what I’ll gladly do:
I’ll mow—and more—make love to you!

Payzant. Loading Hay. c1935.Witter Bynner.
“Hay Wagon”
from Harper’s v158 (January, 1929), p. 249.

On the road from Enfield, the other side of Lemster,
Or the other side of Newport, I can’t remember which,
We saw ahead a hay wagon topped by a teamster
And a fellow with a hay fork walking near the ditch.

Even in the distance they bore an air about them
Brighter than the New Hampshire iar. Fire had begun
To tingle in their golden hair—just as if without them
It would have been a dark day without any sun.

And this was their difference from ordinary people—
They had left their shirts behind them, they were brown and living men,
Who came with something in their eyes that doomed the village steeple.
New Hampshire, glory be to god was Indian again.

Hind. Harvesting Hay, New Brunswick. c1880.Robert Francis.
from Harper’s v173 (July 1936), p. 165.

All afternoon the hayricks have rolled by
With creaking wheels and the occasional swish
Of low tree-branches brushing against their sides.
The men up in the hay are silent. Sun
And the scent of hay and the swaying of the ricks
Have taken away all their desire for talking.
They have lost count of the loads already in.
They cannot count—they do not try to count
The loads to come. More hay lies cut and ready
To be loaded than even the longest afternoon
Can harvest.
Silent as bronze and color of bronze
To the hips, the haymen ride to the barn in waves
Of hay—New England Neptunes, each with his trident.
Along the beaches of the sky the cloud-surf
Mounts, masses—cloud heaped on cloud. The earth
Is heaped with hay. If a forkful falls from the load,
Nobody notices it. There is plenty of hay.

June, and the sun still high at suppertime.
After supper will still be afternoon
With ricks, a few, returning to the field—
Some farmers who will not trust a fair sky
Overnight. And when the sun is down
And the highest cloud pales and the evening coolness
Creeps up from the lowlands bringing the evening
Scent of hay and the sound of a dog barking,
There still will be, far down the field, figures
Moving dimly under the goldening moon.
To-night the moon will light the last load in.

Parker. Gathering salt hay.Elizabeth Coatsworth, 1893-1990.
“Salt Hay”
Woman’s Home Companion v63 (October 1936) p. 35.

This is the hay that no man planted,
This is the ground that was never plowed,
Watered by tides, cold and brackish,
Shadowed by fog and the sea-born cloud.
Here comes no sound of bobolink's singing,
Only the wail of the gull's long cry,
Where men now reap as they reap their meadows
Heaping the great gold stacks to dry.
All winter long when deep pile the snowdrifts,
And cattle stand in the dark all day,
Many a cow shall taste pale sea-weed
Twined in the stalks of the wild salt hay.

Posted by Alan Ritch at October 28, 2004 02:11 PM