"Every Shepherd Tells His Tale Under The Hawthorne In The Dale"
Context: John Milton tells how he walks through the countryside in the early morning when the sun, dressed in flames and amber light, colors the clouds with a thousand hues. The plowman whistles as he strides over the furrows, the milkmaid sings as she goes about her work, and the mower whets his scythe in preparation for a day's work. As everyone begins the new day, every shepherd tells his tale under the hawthorne tree in the valley, but whether Milton means that every shepherd sits under a tree and tells stories early in the morning or that every shepherd counts his sheep, is a matter of some disagreement; the latter interpretation seems the sounder. The full passage is as follows:
Sometime walking not unseenBy hedgerow elms, on hillocks green,Right against the eastern gate,Where the great sun begins his state,Robed in flames and amber light,The clouds in thousand liveries dight;While the plowman near at hand,Whistle o'er the furrowed land,And the milkmaid singeth blithe,And the mower whets his scythe,And every shepherd tells his taleUnder the hawthorne in the dale.