My Fiddle

by James Whitcomb Riley

Old Benj. Johnson’s fiddle-playin’
‘S most as common as he’s sayin’.

My fiddle?— Well, I kindo’ keep her handy, don’t you know!
Though I ain’t so much inclined to tromp the strings and switch the bow
As I was before the timber of my elbows got so dry,
And my fingers was more limber-like and caperish and spry;

Yit I can plonk and plunk and plink,
And tune her up and play,
And jest lean back and laugh and wink
At ev’ry rainy day!

My playin’ ‘s only middlin’— tunes I picked up when a boy—
The kindo’-sorto’ fiddlin’ that the folks calls “cordaroy”;
“The Old Fat Gal,” and “Rye-straw,” and “My Sailyor’s on the Sea,”
Is the old cowtillions I “saw” when the ch’ice is left to me;

And so I plunk and plonk and plink,
And rosum-up my bow
And play the tunes that makes you think
The devil’s in your toe!

I was allus a romancin’, do-less boy, to tell the truth,
A-fiddlin’ and a-dancin’, and a-wastin’ of my youth,
And a-actin’ and a-cuttin’-up all sorts o’ silly pranks
That wasn’t worth a buttion o’ anybody’s thanks!
But they tell me, when I ust to plink
And plonk and plunk and play,
My music seemed to have the kink
O’ drivin cares away!

That’s how this here old fiddle’s won my hart’s endurin’ love!—
From the strings acrost her middle, to the schreechin’ keys above—
From her “apern,” over “bridge,” and to the ribbon round her throat,
She’s a wooin’, cooin’ pigeon, singin’ “Love me” ev’ry note."

And so I pat her neck, and plink
Her strings with lovin’ hands,—
And, list’nin’ clos’t, I sometimes think
She kindo’ understands!