Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
The Beechnut Gatherer
By Pamelia Sarah Vining Yule (1825–1897)
 
ALL over the earth like a mantle,
  Golden, and green, and grey,
Crimson, and scarlet, and yellow,
  The Autumn foliage lay.
The sun of the Indian Summer        5
  Laughed at the bare old trees,
As they shook their leafless branches
  In the soft autumnal breeze.
 
I walked where the leaves the softest,
  The brightest, and goldenest lay;        10
And I thought of a forest hill-side
  And an Indian Summer day,
An eager, little child-face,
  O’er the fallen leaves that bent,
As she gathered her cup of beechnuts        15
  With innocent content.
 
I thought of the small brown fingers,
  Gleaning them one by one;
With the partridge drumming near her
  In the forest bare and dun,        20
And the jet-black squirrel winking
  His saucy jealous eye
At those tiny, pilfering fingers,
  From his sly nook up on high.
 
Ah! barefooted little maiden,        25
  With thy bonnetless, sunburnt brow!
Thou glean’st no more on the hill-side—
  Where art thou gleaning now?
I knew by the lifted glances
  Of the dark, imperious eye,        30
That the tall trees bending o’er thee
  Would not shelter thee by and by.
 
The cottage by the brook-side,
  With its mossy roof, is gone;
The cattle have left the uplands,        35
  The young lambs left the lawn;
Gone are thy blue-eyed sister,
  And thy brother’s laughing brow;—
And the beechnuts lie ungathered
  On the lonely hill-side now.        40
 
What have the returning seasons
  Brought to thy heart since then,
In thy long and weary wand’rings
  In the paths of busy men?
Has the Angel of grief or of gladness        45
  Set his seal upon thy brow?
Maiden! joyous or tearful,
  Where art thou gleaning now?
 
 
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