There's four men mowing down by the river;
I can hear the sound of the scythe strokes, four
Sharp breaths swishing:—yea, but I
Am sorry for what's i' store.
The first man out o' the four that's mowin'
Is mine: I mun claim him once for all:
—But I'm sorry for him, on his young feet, knowin'
None o' the trouble he's led to stall.
As he sees me bringin' the dinner, he lifts
His head as proud as a deer that looks
Shoulder-deep out o' th' corn: and wipes
His scythe blade bright, unhooks
His scythe stone, an' over the grass to me!
—Lad, tha 's gotten a chilt in me,
An' a man an' a father tha 'lt ha'e to be,
My young slim lad, an' I'm sorry for thee.