Ii. The husking.It was the pleasant harvest-time,
When cellar-bins are closely stowed,
And garrets bend beneath their load,
And the old swallow-haunted barns,—
Brown-gabled, long, and full of seams
Through which the moted sunlight streams,
And winds blow freshly in, to shake
The red plumes of the roosted cocks,
And the loose hay-mow's scented locks,—
Are filled with summer's ripened stores,
Its odorous grass and barley sheaves,
From their low scaffolds to their eaves.
 On Esek Harden's oaken floor,
With many an autumn threshing worn,
Lay the heaped ears of unhusked corn.
And thither came young men and maids,
Beneath a moon that, large and low,
Lit that sweet eve of long ago.
They took their places; some by chance,
And others by a merry voice
Or sweet smile guided to their choice.
How pleasantly the rising moon,
Between theshadow of the mows,
Looked on them through the great elmboughs!
On sturdy boyhood, sun-embrowned,
On girlhood with its solid curves
Of healthful strength and painless nerves!
And jests went round, and laughs that made
The house-dog answer with his howl,
And kept astir the barn-yard fowl;
And quaint old songs their fathers sung
In Derby dales and Yorkshire moors,
Ere Norman William trod their shores;
And tales, whose merry license shook
The fat sides of the Saxon thane,
Forgetful of the hovering Dane,—
 Rude plays to Celt and Cimbri known,
The charms and riddles that beguiled
On Oxus' banks the young world's child,—
That primal picture-speech wherein
Have youth and maid the story told,
So new in each, so dateless old,
Recalling pastoral Ruth in her
Who waited, blushing and demure,
The red-ear's kiss of forfeiture.