The Water Mill

by Ralph Vaughan Williams From Four Poems by Fredegond Shove (1925)

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The Water Mill
English source: Fredegond Shove

There is a mill, an ancient one,
Brown with rain, and dry with sun,
The miller's house is joined with it,
And in July the swallows flit
To and fro, in and out,
Round the windows, all about;
The mill wheel whirrs and the waters roar
Out of the dark arch by the door,
The willows toss their silver heads,
And the phloxes in the garden beds
Turn red, turn grey,
With the time of day,
And smell sweet in the rain, then die away.

The miller's cat is a tabby, she
Is as lean as a healthy cat can be,
She plays in the loft where the sunbeams stroke
The sacks' fat backs, and beetles choke
In the floury dust. The Wheel goes round
And the miller's wife sleeps fast and sound.

There is a clock inside the house,
Very tall and very bright,
It strikes the hour when shadows drowse,
Or showers make the windows white;
Loud and sweet, in rain and sun,
The clock strikes, and the work is done.
The miller's wife and his eldest girl
Clean and cook, while the mill wheels whirl.
The children take their meat to school,
And at dusk they play by the twilit pool;
Bare-foot, bare-head,
Till the day is dead,
And their mother calls them in to bed.

The supper stands on the clean-scrubbed board,
And the miller drinks like a thirsty lord;
The young men come for his daughter's sake,
But she never knows which one to take;
She drives her needle, and pins her stuff,
While the moon shines gold, and the lamp shines buff.


Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams was an English composer. Over sixty years, he composed operas, ballets, chamber music, vocal pieces and orchestral compositions. He was strongly influenced by Tudor music and English folk-song. Information from Wikipedia.…


Fredegond Shove

Fredegond Cecily Shove (1889–1949) was an English poet.


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