HARVEST AND VINTAGE.
I dreamed of a marvellous harvest.
I dreamed of a threshing-floor,
Where men, like grain, by angels twain,
Were garnered in measureless store –
All bound in sheaves, like corn in the leaves,
And flailed from husk to core,
And the angels sang, with voices sweet,
“Out of the grain the dross we beat,
Out of the chaff we winnow the wheat:
True souls are the wheat of a nation!”
I dreamed of a wonderful vintage,
I dreamed of a wine-press red,
Where men, like grapes, by angel-shapes,
Were trodden with wrathful tread;
As grapes ye work, to must and murk,
And crush them shred by shred.
And these angels sang, with tongues divine,
“Out of the murk the must we fine,
Out of the grapes we mellow the wine:
Brave hearts are the wine of the nation!”
I would that my dreams were real –
That angels this land might beat!
And scourge our sod with the flails of God,
And scatter the chaff from the wheat,
And mightily tread, in our wine-press red,
All dress beneath their feet!
That our souls might sing, in joyous strain,
“Out of the chaff, the wheat we gain,
Out of the murk, the wine we drain –
The wheat and the wine of our nation!”
I pray that the Angel of Freedom
May strive with the Angel of War,
Till men, like grain, these winnowers twain,
Shall flail from husk to core;
Till men, like wine, in libation divine,
To Thee, O God! they pour;
And for evermore sing, with tongues divine,
“God of the True! this wheat is Thine!
God of the Free! receive this wine,
The heart and the soul of the nation!”
- Prairie Farmer.
Title:Harvest and Vintage
Author:A. J. Duganne
Publication:The Bolton Chronicle
Date:16th August 1862
Reflecting the interest in the American war in Lancashire this republication from the Prairie Farmer magazine by A.J. Duganne, asserts that morality is the most important element of a nation and metaphorically depicts the wheat separated from the chaff by angels of freedom and war. The American Civil War is figured as a battle for ‘The heart and soul of our nation!”, and the agrarian imagery conforms not just to British conceptions of the American landscape, but to British ideals of rural simplicity as opposed to urban industrial regions. – SR