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DOVECOTT MILL: 4. SUGAR-MAKING, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Swiftly onward the seasons flew
Last Line: The dear old hills that hemmed them round.
Subject(s): Sugar

Swiftly onward the seasons flew,
And enough to see and enough to do
Our children found the long year through.

They played in the hay when the fields were mowed,
With the sun-burnt harvesters they rode
Home to the barn a-top of the load,

When her fragrant fruit the orchard shed,
They helped to gather the apples spread
On the soft grass -- yellow, russet, and red.

Down hill in winter they used to slide,
And over the frozen mill-creek glide,
Or play by the great bright fire inside

The house; or sit in the chimney nook,
Pleased for the hundredth time to look
Over the self-same picture-book.

Castles, and men of snow they made,
And fed with crumbs the robins, that stayed
Near the house -- half tame, and half afraid.

So ever the winter-time flew fast,
And after the cold short months were past
Came the sugar-making on at last.

'T was just ere the old folks used to say,
"Now the oaks are turning gray,
'T is time for the farmer to plant away!"

Before the early bluebird was there;
Or down by the brook the willow fair
Loosed to the winds her yellow hair.

Ah! then there was life and fun enough,
In making the "spile" and setting the trough,
And all, till the time of the "stirring off."

They followed the sturdy hired man,
With his brawny arms and face of tan,
Who gathered the sap each day as it ran,

And they thought it a very funny sight,
The yoke that he wore, like "Buck and Bright,"
Across his shoulders, broad, upright.

They watched the fires, with awe profound,
Go lapping the great black kettles round,
And out the chimney, with rushing sound.

They loved the noise of the brook, that slid
Swift under its icy, broken lid,
And they knew where that delicate flower was hid,

That first in March her head upheaves;
And they found the tender "adam-and-eves"
Beneath their bower of glossy leaves.

They gathered spice-wood and ginseng roots,
And the boy could fashion whistles and flutes
Out of the paw-pan and walnut shoots.

So every season its pleasure found;
Though the children never strayed beyond
The dear old hills that hemmed them round.

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