An Afternoon In July

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How hushed and still are earth and air,
  How languid ’neath the sun’s fierce ray—
Drooping and faint—the flowrets fair,
  On this hot, sultry, summer day!
Vainly I watch the streamlet blue
  That near my cottage home doth pass,
No ripple stirs its azure hue,
  Still—waveless, as a sheet of glass

And if I woo from yonder trees
  A breath of coolness for my brow,
They’ve none to give—not e’en a breeze
  Rustles amid their foliage now;
Yes, hush! there stirred a leaf, but no,
  Tis only some poor, panting bird,
With silenced note, head drooping low,
  That ’mid the shady green boughs stirred.

Oh dear! how sultry! vain to seek
  To while the time with pleasant book,
Soon drowsy head and crimsoned cheek
  Oblivious o’er its pages droop—
And motion is beyond my power,
  While breathing this hot, scorching air,
It wearies me to raise the flowers,
  That lie so close beside my chair.

See stealing, wearied from their play,
  The flushed and languid children come,
Saying that on so hot a day
  They’d much prefer to stay at home.
Themselves upon the ground they throw,
  Cheeks pillowed on each rounded arm—
And fall asleep soon, murmuring low,
  And wondering “why it is so warm?”

If yonder patient sheep and kine,
  Close shrinking from the sun’s hot flame,
Had man’s gift—“power of speech divine,”
  They surely would repeat the same—
Each blade of grass, each fainting flower,
  Would whisper to the shrubs and trees,
How much they longed for evening’s hour,
  With cooling breath and grateful breeze.

© Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon