Eugene Field

(2 September 1850 - 4 November 1895 / St Louis / Missouri / United States)

Béranger's "Broken Fiddle" - Poem by Eugene Field

I

There, there, poor dog, my faithful friend,
Pay you no heed unto my sorrow:
But feast to-day while yet you may,--
Who knows but we shall starve to-morrow!


II

"Give us a tune," the foemen cried,
In one of their profane caprices;
I bade them "No"--they frowned, and, lo!
They dashed this innocent in pieces!


III

This fiddle was the village pride--
The mirth of every fête enhancing;
Its wizard art set every heart
As well as every foot to dancing.


IV

How well the bridegroom knew its voice,
As from its strings its song went gushing!
Nor long delayed the promised maid
Equipped for bridal, coy and blushing.


V

Why, it discoursed so merrily,
It quickly banished all dejection;
And yet, when pressed, our priest confessed
I played with pious circumspection.


VI

And though, in patriotic song,
It was our guide, compatriot, teacher,
I never thought the foe had wrought
His fury on the helpless creature!


VII

But there, poor dog, my faithful friend,
Pay you no heed unto my sorrow;
I prithee take this paltry cake,--
Who knows but we shall starve to-morrow!


VIII

Ah, who shall lead the Sunday choir
As this old fiddle used to do it?
Can vintage come, with this voice dumb
That used to bid a welcome to it?


IX

It soothed the weary hours of toil,
It brought forgetfulness to debtors;
Time and again from wretched men
It struck oppression's galling fetters.


X

No man could hear its voice, and hate;
It stayed the teardrop at its portal;
With that dear thing I was a king
As never yet was monarch mortal!


XI

Now has the foe--the vandal foe--
Struck from my hands their pride and glory;
There let it lie! In vengeance, I
Shall wield another weapon, gory!


XII

And if, O countrymen, I fall,
Beside our grave let this be spoken:
"No foe of France shall ever dance
Above the heart and fiddle, broken!"


XIII

So come, poor dog, my faithful friend,
I prithee do not heed my sorrow,
But feast to-day while yet you may,
For we are like to starve to-morrow.


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Read poems about / on: dog, sorrow, teacher, pride, friend, song, dance, hate



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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