The cock, warm roosting ’midst his feather’d
Now lifts his beak and snuffs the morning air,
Stretches his neck and claps his heavy wings,
Gives three hoarse crows, and glad his talk is done;
Low, chuckling, turns himself upon the roost,
Then nestles down again amongst his mates.
The lab’ring hind, who on his bed of straw,
Beneath his home-made coverings, coarse, but warm,
Lock’d in the kindly arms of her who spun them,
Dreams of the gain that next year’s crop should bring;
Or at some fair disposing of his wool,
Or by some lucky and unlook’d-for bargain.
Fills his skin purse with heaps of tempting gold,
Now wakes from sleep at the unwelcome call,
And finds himself but just the same poor man
As when he went to rest.—
He hears the blast against his window beat,
And wishes to himself he were a lord,
That he might lie a-bed.—
He rubs his eyes, and stretches out his arms;
Heigh ho! heigh ho! he drawls with gaping mouth,
Then most unwillingly creeps out of bed,
And without looking-glass puts on his clothes.
With rueful face he blows the smother’d fire,
And lights his candle at the red’ning coal;
First sees that all be right amongst his cattle,
Then hies him to the barn with heavy tread,
Printing his footsteps on the new fall’n snow.
From out the heap of corn he pulls his sheaves,
Dislodging the poor red-breast from his shelter,
Where all the live-long night he slept secure;
But now afrighted, with uncertain flight
He flutters round the walls, to seek some hole,
At which he may escape out to the frost.
And now the flail, high whirling o’er his head,
Descends with force upon the jumping sheave,
Whilst every rugged wall, and neighboring cot
Re-echoes back the noise of his strokes.
The fam’ly cares call next upon the wife
To quit her mean but comfortable bed.
And first she stirs the fire, and blows the flame,
Then from her heap of sticks, for winter stor’d,
An armful brings; loud crackling as they burn,
Thick fly the red sparks upward to the roof,
While slowly mounts the smoke in wreathy clouds.
On goes the seething pot with morning cheer,
For which some little wishful hearts await,
Who, peeping from the bed-clothes, spy, well pleas’d,
The cheery light that blazes on the wall,
And bawl for leave to rise.——
Their busy mother knows not where to turn,
Her morning work comes now so thick upon her.
One she must help to tye his little coat,
Unpin his cap, and seck another’s shoe.
When all is o’er, out to the door they run,
With new comb’d sleeky hair, and glist’ning cheeks,
Each with some little project in his head.
One on the ice must try his new sol’d shoes:
To view his well-set trap another hies,
In hopes to find some poor unwary bird
(No worthless prize) entangled in his snare;
Whilst one, less active, with round rosy face,
Spreads out his purple fingers to the fire,
And peeps, most wishfully, into the pot.