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'Lige Hawkins Fiddlin' Up Yender


John D. Wells

'Lige Hawkins' place is yender on that leetle rise o' ground-
The house with all the flowers an' the trumpet vines around-
Whilst I adjoin to Hawkins on that crooked fence y' see
A-kitterin' way off yenderwards; 'twixt Hawkins' farm an' me
Is more 'n a mile I reckin, but when dusk begins to go,
An' Lijah takes his fiddle down an' tromps her dancing bow,
The distance seems to shorten 'til if you should judge by ear
You'd swear it wa'n't ten paces, an' that Lige was playin' here!

It's same ol' ringin', singin', trompin', rompin' insterment, [sic]
He used t' tote wherever the Potomac Army went,
Fer 'Lijah was a "Bucktail" in the Army- so was I-
An' someway 'Lijah's fiddle seems a comrade mighty nigh!
There's times the night is quiet when I like to have him git
His fiddle down an' string it an' go traipsin' over it,
An' hear him play the pieces that he used t' play, because
They sort o' set me thinkin' of the time the Army was!

There's sumthin' in his fiddlin' an' the starlight overhead
That takes me back to yender, an' the campfires flicker red
Through 'Lijah's apple orchard, an' I see the Georgia boys
We fit in Spottsylvany, an' I hear the battle noise-
Then softly draps the music like a dadburned fiddle can,
An' I hear the pickets banterin' across the Rapidan-
I hear my comrades singin' an' their laughin', like as not,
An' Mem'ry brings the faces that I'd mighty nigh fergot!

* * * *

Then suddenlike I'm rousin' to the crickets chirr and cheep,
An' 'Lige has quit his fiddlin' an I know I've been t' sleep!
Then jist as sure as taxes ma begins t' rant an' scold:
"Come in the house this minnit or you'll ketch your death o' cold!"

from Wells, John D. Old Good-Bys and Howdy-Do's.
Buffalo: Otto Ulbrich Co., 1911 (pp. 63-64)