Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
The Idler
By Victor Starbuck
WHEN he passed him by
  Where the maids were spinning,
They would drop their work and sigh,
  Deem him worth the winning.
Where he wandered they would follow,        5
Where the river reeds were hollow,
  Dancing to his tabor.
But the old dames laughed at him,
Gibed at him and scoffed at him,
  Called him idle neighbor;        10
And the maids, they blamed them all,
Mocked them all and shamed them all,
  Bade them get to labor.
When he roamed along
  Where the lads were sheaving,        15
They would heed his happy song,
  And, their sickles leaving,
Follow him, the mad-eyed rover,
Through the daisies and the clover
  Where the bees were lurking.        20
But the farmers hated him,
Bruised and mauled and baited him,
  Damned him for his shirking.
And the lads, they flouted them,
Cursed and cuffed and clouted them,        25
  Drove them to their working.
Now he lieth low:
  Where the trees are waving
And the breezes softest blow,
  There he hath his graving.        30
All the maidens sob and sorrow
For their love who knows no morrow,
  And the lads are grieving.
All the birds sing sad of him;
The old folk are glad of him,        35
  Curse his sweet deceiving,
Cry, “Well rid of him, God wot!”—
But their eyes grow dim, God wot,
  Harvesting and weaving.

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