Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DOVECOTT MILL: 3. THE MILL, by PHOEBE CARY



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DOVECOTT MILL: 3. THE MILL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: With cobwebs and dust on the windows spread
Last Line: And grew till their heads o'ertopped the flowers.
Subject(s): Mills & Millers


With cobwebs and dust on the window spread,
On the walls and the rafters overhead,
Rises the old mill, rusty red

Grim as the man who calls it his own,
Outside, from the gray foundation stone
To the roof with spongy moss o'ergrown.

Through a loop-hole made in the gable high,
In and out like arrows fly
The slender swallows, swift and shy.

And with bosoms purple, brown, and white,
Along the eves, in the shimmering light,
Sits a row of doves from morn till night.

Less quiet far is the place within,
Where the falling meal o'erruns the bin,
And you hear the busy stir and din.

Grave is the miller's mien and pace,
But his boy, with ruddy, laughing face,
Is good to see in this sombre place.

And little Bethy will say to you,
That he is good and brave and true,
And the wisest boy you ever knew!

"Why Robert," she says, "was never heard
To speak a cross or a wicked word,
And he would n't injure even a bird!"

And he, with boyish love and pride,
Ever since she could walk by his side,
Has been her playmate and her guide.

For he lived in the world three years before
Bethy her baby beauty wore;
And is taller than she by a head or more.

Up the plank and over the sill,
In and out at their childish will,
They played about the old red mill.

They watched the mice through the corn-sacks steal,
The steady shower of the snowy meal,
And the water falling over the wheel.

They loved to stray in the garden walks,
Bordered by stately hollyhocks
And pinks and odorous marigold stalks.

Where lilies and tulips stood in line
By the candytuft and the columbine,
And lady-grass, like a ribbon fine.

Where the daffodil wore her golden lace,
And the prince's-feather blushed in the face,
And the cockscomb looked as vain as his race.

And here, as gay as the birds in the bowers,
Our children lived through their life's first hours,
And grew till their heads o'ertopped the flowers.





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