Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
III. A Character, Drawn from the Life
By Thomas James Judkin
 
AN OLD 1 man with a fiddle in his hand,
  Which oft on village green, at wake, or fair,
  Gave motion to the feet of many a pair
Of hand-linked swains; the roamer of a band,
Who, holding neither right in house or land,        5
  Live by the hedges in the open air;
  He, with a stooping body ghostly spare,
A guileful eye, and rutted cheek long tanned
By sun, dew, wind, and rain, to sallow brown,
  Besought our passing dole. “’T is hard,” he said,        10
“At fourscore years to struggle up and down
  This awesome country for one’s daily bread.”
Then, scraping from his crazy instrument
A sprightly air, in sadness on he went.
 
Note 1. Entitled by the author, “A Travelling Incident,—Cumberland.” The only doubt perhaps of the truth of this excellent picture is suggested by the word “sadness” in the concluding line. It is not improbable that the man of the “guileful eye” had his pocket full of money at the time, and that the look of sadness in his face was a trick of trade. [back]
 
 
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