Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RUSTIC CHILDHOOD, by WILLIAM BARNES



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RUSTIC CHILDHOOD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: No city primness train'd our feet
Last Line: O shining grass, and shady bough.
Subject(s): Children; Country Life; Memory; Nostalgia; Childhood


No city primness train'd our feet
To strut in childhood through the street,
But freedom let them loose to tread
The yellow cowslip's downcast head;
Or climb, above the twining hop
And ivy, to the elm-tree's top;
Where southern airs of blue-sky'd day
Breath'd o'er the daisy and the may.
I knew you young, and love you now,
O shining grass, and shady bough.

Far off from town, where splendour tries
To draw the looks of gather'd eyes,
And clocks, unheeded, fail to warn
The loud-tongued party of the morn,
We spent in woodland shades our day
In cheerful work or happy play,
And slept at night where rustling leaves
Threw moonlight shadows o'er our eaves.
I knew you young, and love you now,
O shining grass, and shady bough.

Or in the grassy drove by ranks
Of white-stemm'd ashes, or by banks
Of narrow lanes, in-winding round
The hedgy sides of shelving ground;
Where low-shot light struck in to end
Again at some cool-shaded bend,
Where we might see through darkleav'd boughs
The evening light on green hill-brows.
I knew you young, and love you now,
O shining grass, and shady bough.

Or on the hillock where we lay
At rest on some bright holyday;
When short noon-shadows lay below
The thorn in blossom white as snow;
And warm air bent the glist'ning tops
Of bushes in the lowland copse,
Before the blue hills swelling high
And far against the southern sky.
I knew you young, and love you now,
O shining grass, and shady bough.





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