Within a fortress prison,
A stubborn yeoman sits within the cell
That tyranny has chosen
For him who would rebel.
Of home and wife his brooding features tell.
Her letter spoke of ploughing
She could not do alone; of seed so dear,
Of children’s hunger growing,
Of tyranny and fear.
``Beloved wife,’’ he writes, ``Be of good cheer!’’
``Though cruelly now we suffer,
Before I left, I hid about our field
Some jewels of highest offer,
Some pearls of choicest yield.
I shall return—til then, hope be thy shield.’’
But tyranny his letter
Unseals; quick tongue to eager ear now sends
This news of hidden treasure
The rebel holds; their hands
Now sweat, and power to robbery descends.
His wife is watching, breathless;
Brute soldiers through the farmer’s fields have gone
Rooting for pearls til darkness--
She whispers to her son:
``The plowing we could not do ourselves—`tis done!’’
Paul Gallagher is a poet, translator and also an economics journalist. He has spent much of his life fighting for the revival of classical poetry and classical culture. More of his writings on culture can be found here.