Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Fiddler John: A Country Tale - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Fiddler John he used to dwell
A long while since, so I've heard tell,
In an old thatched house with a leaning wall
That always looked just ready to fall . . .
And wherever you went, both far and near,
When people did meet to make good cheer,
Why, every time you'd find in the middle
Old bent John and his old cracked fiddle . . .

With a catch, a round, and a country dance,
A fine new tune
a la mode de
France,
A stave for sorrow, a stave for mirth,
This for a wedding, that for a birth,
'Ground for the Floor' and 'The Green Grass Grows' . . .
'Man's Life's a Vapour and full of Woes' . . .
An alehouse glee when the full quarts foam,
And a right jolly lilt for a harvest home.

Fiddler John, he grew so old
He kept his bed, so I've been told,
He kept his bed and there he lay
In his old thatched house for many a day;
And the lads and lasses loitering by,
On summer nights they 'ud linger nigh
To hear him play by the light o' the moon
On his old cracked fiddle each, old tune.

A catch, a round, and a country dance,
A fine new tune
a la mode de
France,
A stave for sorrow, a stave for mirth,
This for a wedding, that for a birth,
'Ground for the Floor' and 'The Green Grass Grows' . . .
'Man's Life's a Vapour and full of Woes' . . .
An alehouse glee when the full quarts foam,
And a right jolly lilt for a harvest home!

Fiddler John, he is dead and gone;
His green, green grave the grass grows on -
Fiddler John, he lies in the ground,
And the green green grass grows all around, all around;
His bones are dust and his fiddle's rotten,
And his old, old tunes they are all forgotten.
And the old thatched place where he used to dwell
It leaned some more and down it fell . . .
But still, they say, when the moon's at the full,
And the mist on the common's as white as wool,
When the river's loud on the distant weirs,
And they're all abed at the 'Crook and Shears,'
By Fiddler's Field if you're homeward going,
You'll see what looks like a garden growing . . .
Ranks of carrots and beans and peas,
Plums and apples on gnarled old trees,
Tall white lilies as straight as arrows,
Sprouts and cabbage and big green marrows, -
And out of the house that stands in the middle
You can hear the sound like an old cracked fiddle . . .

With a catch, a round, and a country dance,
A fine new tune
a la mode de
France,
A stave for sorrow, a stave for mirth,
This for a bridal and that for a birth,
'Ground for the Floor' and 'The Green Grass Grows' . . .
'Man's Life's a Vapour and full of Woes' . . .
An alehouse glee when the quart mugs foam,
And a right jolly lilt for the last load home!


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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