As reproduced in History of Athens Vermont by Lora M. Wyman (1963)

Lament, by Oscar L. Shafter
After Harvest—Within, by Effie Louise Smith
After Harvest—Without, by Effie Louise Smith


By Oscar L. Shafter (1812–1873)
Published in “Poets and Poetry of Vermont” edited by Abby Maria Hemenway
(George A. Tuttle & Company, Rutland, 1858).

I left them in their mountain home,
  One sad, sad day—
I clasped them to my yearning heart,
  Then tore myself away.
What cheered me in that hour of gloom?
  What hope illumed the sea,
As o’er the boundless deep I sped—
  The boundless of the free?

And when the far off bourne was reached,
  What gave to purpose power
To whelm me in the strife of men,
  And gild each lonely hour?
The hope that when the strife was done,
  The labor and the pain,
To clasp them, in my mountain home,
  Unto this yearning heart again.

That hope’s no more! My baby died,
  Like flower upon its stem;
And now my boy—for him has pealed
  The solemn requiem.
Oh! when across the wide, wide sea,
  The wingèd death-knell come,
Then on my lips’ high altar-stone
  Grew dim the vestal flame.

The filial hope the heart possessed,
  To cheer his parents’ age,
To stay their footsteps toward the tomb,
  Their dying pangs assuage.
My son! my son! my only son!
  My joy, my hope, my pride!
Oh! life was severed from its ends,
  And darkened when he died!

He’s gathered to our early dead
  In his exultant morn,
Before the mid-day strife came on,
  Or rose disclosed its thorn;
The lust of gold—the heart of pride.

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After Harvest—Within

By Effie Louise Smith (1861–1893)
Published by Stephen Daye Press (Brattleboro, 1933) and in Vermont Life Autumn 1952.

The well-filled granary,
  with worthy pride,
To view its goodly store
  invites the eye;
Upon the great barn floor
  the pumpkins lie
In yellow heaps;
  above on either side
The fragrant haymows rise,
  o’er reaching wide
Their boundaries, and upward
  stretching high
With rustling fodder crowded,
  as to outvie
Each other and the dingy
  rafters hide.

The generous cellar gives
  an ample space
To orchard fruits, and roots
  from garden fields;
The woodfire in the kitchen
  roars right well,
And seed and fruits
  for drying find a place
Around and o’r it;
  while the garret yields
Its room to nuts and herbs
  of fragrant smell.

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After Harvest—Without

By Effie Louise Smith (1861–1893)
Published by Stephen Daye Press (Brattleboro, 1933) and in Vermont Life Autumn 1952.

The sky is swept by clouds of sombre hue;
The slothful sun creeps southward; through the trees,
With naked limbs upstretched, a chill raw breeze
Is blowing, shaking fitfully the few
Dead leaves yet clinging for a time ere through
The limpèd ether, one by one, shall these
Float downward to fulfill the last decrees
Of nature where she claims her rightful due.

The cows, no longer sent the hills to graze,
But surfeited with frost-bit meadow grass,
At random through neglected barways roam
And troop at will o’er once forbidden ways;
The air is songless, and in silence pass
The birds, to seek afar another home.

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