Nel mezzo del cummin di nostra vita —


MIDDAY in upland meadows: infinite glare
Of cloudless sky; the over-seer sun
Smiting his hay-makers, and everywhere
Backs bending to the lash, hot brows a-run
With sweat, dull eyes wherein a tumult wages
’Twixt frenzy fevering over tasks not done,
And indolence that sulkily presages
A tedious endlessness of afternoon. —
The unknown meadow stretches down the ages.
What though arms steady to the scythe full soon.
Where’s joy, to touch this dogged strength to power?
Where’s courage when the sluggish blood’s a-swoon,
Lacking the elfin lightness, morning’s dower?
Where’s comfort — in the day’s one desperate hour?


O strange eternity we call the Day!
My zenith, where the sun’s a-dazzle now,
Rings the horizon — east a little way.
This shadowless high noon of mine somehow
Makes sunset yonder. Though I droop my head
Some other harvester, with tranquil brow,
On other heights, has over-past my dread.
His field is shorn, his golden hay-cocks gleam
Against the level sunlight; purple-red
Over the grass their long, bright shadows stream.
His eyes are fixed on that forgotten thing,
Earth’s loveliness. His happy morning dream
Of life fulfilled is now: — Hail, dawn! Come, spring. —
He rests upon his scythe, remembering.