THE PLOUGHMAN (REYNARD THE FOX, 1920) by JOHN MASEFIELD

At twenty past, old
Baldock strode
His ploughman’s straddle down the road.
An old man with a gaunt, burnt face;
His eyes rapt back on some far place,
Like some starved, half-mad saint in bliss
In God’s world through the rags of this.
He leaned upon a stake of ash
Cut from a sapling: many a gash
Was in his old, full-skirted coat.
The twisted muscles in his throat
Moved, as he swallowed, like taut cord.
His oaken face was seamed and gored.
He halted by the inn and stared
On that far bliss, that place prepared
Beyond his eyes, beyond his mind.

An old man with a gaunt, burnt face;
His eyes rapt back on some far place.

 

 

 

 

Then Thomas Copp, of Cowfoot’s Wynd
Drove up; and stopped to take a glass.
“I hope they’ll gallop on my grass,”
He said, “My little girl does sing
To see the red coats galloping
.
It’s good for grass, too, to be trodden
Except they poach it, where it’s sodden
.”
Then Billy Waldrist, from the Lynn,
With Jockey Hill, from Pitts, came in
And had a sip of gin and stout
To help the jockey’s sweatings out.
“Rare day for scent,” the jockey said.

A pony, like a feather bed
On four short sticks, took place aside.
The little girl who rode astride
Watched everything with eyes that glowed
With glory in the horse she rode.
At half-past ten, some lads on foot
Came to be beaters to a shoot
Of rabbits at the Warren Hill.
Rough sticks they had, and Hob and Jill,
Their ferrets, in a bag, and netting.
They talked of dinner-beer and betting;
And jeered at those who stood around.
They rolled their dogs upon the ground
And teased them: “Rats,” they cried;”go fetch.”
“Go seek, good Roxer; ‘z bite, good betch.
What dinner-beer’ll they give us, lad?
Sex quarts the lot last year we had.
They’d ought to give us seven this.
Seek, Susan; what a betch it is.”
 

If you liked this story, leave me a comment down below. Join our Facebook community. And don’t forget to Subscribe!

Read more poems by John Masefield!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *