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WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO TURN UP, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: And why do you throw down your hoe by the way
Last Line: "and take up your hoe, and move on!"
Subject(s): Indolence; Farm Life; Work

"AND why do you throw down your hoe by the way
As if that furrow were done?"
It was the good farmer, Bartholomew Grey,
That spoke on this wise to his son.

Now Barty, the younger, was not very bad,
But he did n't take kindly to work,
And the father had oftentimes said of the lad
That the thing he did best was to shirk!

It was early in May, and a beautiful morn --
The rosebuds tipt softly with red --
The pea putting on her white bloom, and the corn
Being just gotten up out of bed.

And after the first little break of the day
Had broadened itself on the blue,
The provident farmer, Bartholomew Grey,
Had driven afield through the dew.

His brown mare, Fair Fanny, in collar and harness
Went before him, so sturdy and stout,
And ere the sun's fire yet had kindled to flames,
They had furrowed the field twice about.

And still as they came to the southerly slope
He reined in Fair Fanny, with Whoa!
And gazed toward the homestead, and gazed, in the hope
Of seeing young Barty -- but no!

"Asleep yet?" he said -- "in a minute the horn
That shall call to the breakfast, will sound,
And all these long rows of the tender young corn
Left choking, and ploughed in the ground!"

Now this was the work, which the farmer had planned
For Barty -- a task kindly meant,
To follow the plough, with the hoe in his hand,
And to set up the stalks as he went.

But not till the minutes to hours had run,
And the heat was aglow far and wide,
Did he see his slow-footed and sleepy-eyed son
A-dragging his hoe by his side.

Midway of the corn field he stopped, gaped around;
"What use is there working?" says he,
And saying so, threw himself flat on the ground
In the shade of a wide-spreading tree.

And this was the time that Bartholomew Grey,
Fearing bad things might come to the worst,
Drew rein on Fair Fanny, the sweat wiped away,
And spoke as we quoted at first.

He had thought to have given the lad such a start
As would bring him at once to his feet,
And he stood in the furrow, amazed, as young Bart,
Lying lazy, and smiling so sweet,

Replied -- "The world owes me a living, you see,
And something, or sooner or late,
I'm certain as can be, will turn up for me,
And I am contented to wait!"

"My son," says the farmer, "take this to your heart,
For to live in the world is to learn,
The good things that turn up are for the most part
The things we ourselves help to turn!

"So boy, if you want to be sure of your bread
Ere the good time of working is gone,
Brush the cobwebs of nonsense all out of your head,
And take up your hoe, and move on!"

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