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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Farm Fruits

By Charles Henry Lüders (1858–1891)

[Born in Philadelphia, Penn., 1858. Died there, 1891. Hallo, My Fancy! By C. H. L. and S. D. S., Jr. 1887.]

A LITTLE ancient man—who wore

A tall hat, many seasons o’er

Its days of shining,

And made to fit his shrunken head

With padding of bandanna, red,

Within the lining—

Came often down the dusty road

Which passed the door of our abode;

And sometimes tarried

To sell the sweet farm fruit that lay

Within a basket lined with hay,

The which he carried.

I shall not soon forget his face,

Perspiring from the sturdy pace

He ever travelled;

Nor that primeval waistcoat, which

Seemed wholly formed of patch and stitch,

Much frayed and ravelled.

In spring-time, when the violets peeped

Through tears in which their eyes were steeped

Each dewy morning,

He heard the wood-thrush tune his throat

Up to one high delirious note,

All rivals scorning.

In autumn, when his worn hat-brim

Caught the gay leaves that fell on him,

He brought ripe apples,—

Great golden “Bell-flowers”—rubbed so bright

They seemed to hold the rich noon-light

In mellow dapples.

I wonder if he walks to-day

The cross-ties of the iron way

Through Olney running?

If now, along the “O. & M.,”

On Saturdays he weareth them—

Those clothes so ‘stunning’?

Haply; and yet more likely ’tis

That Life—being done with him and his—

Long since forsook him.

And that, while I a tribute pen,

His neighbors scarce remember when

Death overtook him.