Charles Lamb

The Reaper's Child

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If you go to the field where the reapers now bind
The sheaves of ripe corn, there a fine little lass,
Only three months of age, by the hedge-row you'll find,
Left alone by its mother upon the low grass.


While the mother is reaping, the infant is sleeping;
Not the basket that holds the provision is less
By the hard-working reaper, than this little sleeper,
Regarded, till hunger does on the babe press.


Then it opens its eyes, and it utters loud cries,
Which its hard-working mother afar off will hear;
She comes at its calling, she quiets its squalling,
And feeds it, and leaves it again without fear.


When you were as young as this field-nurs√ęd daughter,
You were fed in the house, and brought up on the knee;
So tenderly watched, thy fond mother thought her
Whole time well bestowed in nursing of thee.

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Charles Lamb