They drive home the cows from the pasture
Up thro’ the long, shady lane,
Where the quail whistles loud in the wheat field
That is yellow with ripening grain.
They find in the thick, waving grasses
Where the scarlet-lipped strawberry grows;
They gather the earliest snowdrops
And the first crimson buds of the rose.
They toss the hay in the meadow,
They gather the elder-bloom white;
They find where the dusky grapes purple
In the soft-tinted October light.
They know where the apples hang ripest
And are sweeter than Italy’s wines;
They know where the fruit hangs thickest
On the long, thorny blackberry vines.
They gather the delicate seaweeds,
And build tiny castles of sand;
They pick up the beautiful seashells,
Fairy barks, that have drifted to land.
They wave from the tall, rocking tree-tops,
Where the oriole’s hammock-nest swings;
And at night time are folded in slumber
By a song that a fond mother sings.
Those who toil bravely are strongest,
The humble and poor become great;
And from those brown-handed children
Shall grow mighty rulers of state.
The pen of the author and statesman,
The noble and wise of our land—
The sword and the chisel and palette
Shall be held in the little brown hand.