Roderic Quinn

1867 - 1949 / Australia

The Fiddle And The Crowd

WHEN the day was at its middle,
Tired of limb and slow of pace,
Came a fiddler with his fiddle
To a crowded market place;
Lying, cheating, boasting, bragging,
Men and women walked together;
Heads were nodding, tongues were wagging,
Talk there was of trade and weather,
Talk there was of man's enslavement
To the tyrants, Toil and Worry;
Yet the fiddle on the pavement
Minding not the noise and hurry,
Singing low and singing loud —
Spoke its message to the crowd.
Said the fiddle —
'Pause and listen;
Can't you hear the waters running
Down the mossy mountain valleys?
Don't you see the lyre-bird sunning
Glossy plumes in fronded alleys?
Life is glory, life is glamour!'
Said the fiddle
In the middle
Of the tumult and the clamour.
Though unheeded seemed the fiddle,
Bidding each and all rejoice,
When the day was at its middle —
Yet beneath its magic voice,
Laughing, sobbing, teasing, fretting,
Men and women met together,
Smiled to find themselves forgetting
Troublous thoughts of trade and weather;
One bethought him of a cavern
Cool and sweet with running water,
And another of a tavern
And a tavern-keeper's daughter —
Ale to drink and lips to kiss —
'Twas the fiddle did all this!
Said the fiddle —
'Hush and hearken
To the song that I am singing,
For it is a song entrancing.
Telling now of gladness ringing,
Telling now of children dancing;
Life is music, life is glamour.'
Said the fiddle
In the middle
Of the tumult and the clamour.
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