Robert Bloomfield is mainly recognised for the success and quality of The Farmers Boy, a substantial poem depicting the life through the seasons of a farm labourer. He was born in Honington, Suffolk, 1766. His father died of smallpox when Robert was one year old. His mother was a school mistress and he had other siblings. He moved to London as an apprentice cobbler,to a brother. During this period he was encouraged to get his poetry published. It became reasonably successful. After some time the London shoe business failed and he was helped to get a rented house in Shefford, Bedfordshire, where he lived until his death in 1823.
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Love Of The Country
Welcome silence! welcome peace!
O most welcome, holy shade!
Thus I prove as years increase,
My heart and soul for quiet made.
Thus I fix my firm belief
While rapture’s gushing tears descend;
That every flower and every leaf
Is moral Truth’s unerring friend.
I would not for a world of gold
That Nature’s lovely face should tire;
Fountain of blessings yet untold;
Pure source of intellectual fire!
Fancy’s fair buds, the germs of song,
Unquicken’d midst the world’s rude strife,
Shall sweet retirement render strong,
And morning silence bring to life.
Then tell me not that I shall grow
Forlorn, that fields and woods will cloy;
From Nature and her changes flow
An everlasting tide of joy.
I grant that summer heats will burn,
That keen will come the frosty night;
But both shall please: and each in turn
Yield Reason’s most supreme delight.
Build me a shrine, and I could kneel
To Rural Gods, or prostrate fall;
Did I not see, did I not feel,
That one Great Spirit governs all.
O heav’n permit that I may lie
Where o’er my corse green branches ware;
And those who from life’s tumult fly
With kindred feelings press my grave.
Thy favourite Bird is soaring still:
My Lucy, haste thee o’er the dale;
The Stream’s let loose, and from the Mill
All silent comes the balmy gale;
Yet, so lightly on its way,
Seems to whisper ‘Holiday.’
The pathway flowers that bending meet
And give the Meads their yellow hue,
The May-bush and the Meadow-sweet
Reserve their fragrance all for you.
Why then, Lucy, why delay?
Let us share the Holiday.
Since there thy smiles, my charming Maid,
Are with unfeigned rapture seen,
To Beauty be the homage paid;
Come, claim the triumph of the Green.
Here’s my hand, come, come away;
Share the merry Holiday.
A promise too my Lucy made,
(And shall my heart its claim resign?)
That ere May-flowers again should fade,
Her heart and hand should both be mine.
Hark ‘ye, Lucy, this is May;
Love shall crown our Holiday.
To His Wife (1804)
I rise, dear Mary, from the soundest rest,
A wandering, way-worn, musing, singing guest.
I claim the privilege of hill and plain;
Mine are the woods, and all that they contain;
The unpolluted gale, which sweeps the glade;
All the cool blessings of the solemn shade;
Health, and the flow of happiness sincere;
Yet there’s one wish,—I wish that thou wert here;
Free from the trammels of domestic care,
With me these dear autumnal sweets to share;
To share my heart’s ungovernable joy;
And keep the birth-day of our poor lame boy.
Ah! that’s a tender string! Yet since I find
That scenes like these, can soothe the harass’d mind,
jaded spirits free,
To wander thus through vales and woods with me.
Thou know’st how much I love to steal away
From noise, from uproar, and the blaze of day;
With double transport would my heart rebound
To lead thee, where the clustering nuts are found;
No toilsome efforts would our task demand,
For the brown treasure stoops to meet the hand.
Round the tall hazel, beds of moss appear
In green-swards nibbled by the forest deer,
Sun, and alternate shade; while o’er our heads
The cawing rook his glossy pinions spreads;
The noisy jay, his wild-woods dashing through;
The ring-dove’s chorus, and the rustling bough;
The far resounding gate; the kite’s shrill scream;
The distant ploughman’s halloo to his team.
This is the chorus to my soul so dear;
It would delight thee too, wert thou but here:
For we might talk of home, and muse o’er days
Of sad distress, and Heaven’s mysterious ways;
Our chequer’d fortunes, with a smile retrace,
And build new hopes upon our infant race;
Pour our thanksgivings forth, and weep the while;
Or pray for blessings on our native isle.
But vain the wish!—Mary, thy sighs forbear,
Nor grudge the pleasure which thou canst not share;
Make home delightful, kindly wish for me,
And I’ll leave hills, and dales, and woods for thee.
(Whittlebury Forest, Sept. 16, 1804.)
A Word To Two Young Ladies
WHEN tender Rose-trees first receive
On half-expanded Leaves, the Shower;
Hope’s gayest pictures we believe,
And anxious watch each coining flower.
Then, if beneath the genial Sun
That spreads abroad the full-blown May,
Two infant Stems the rest out-run,
Their buds the first to meet the day,
With joy their op’ning tints we view,
While morning’s precious moments fly:
My pretty Maids, ’tis thus with you;
The fond admiring gazer, I.
Preserve, sweet Buds, where’er you be;
The richest gem that decks a Wife;
The charm of female modesty:
And let sweet Music give it life.
Still may the favouring Muse be found:
Still circumspect the paths ye tread:
Plant moral truths in Fancy’s ground;
And meet old Age without a dread.
Yet, ere that comes, while yet ye quaff
The cup of Health without a pain,
I’ll shake my grey hairs when you laugh,
And, when you sing, be young again.