You, little table, she brought —
Brought me with her own hand,
As she looked at me with a thought
That I did not understand.
- Whoever owns it anon,
And hears it, will never know
What a history hangs upon
This creak from long ago.
Vagg Hollow is a marshy spot on the old Roman Road near Ilchester, where “things” are seen. Merchandise was formerly fetched inland from the canal-boats at Load-Bridge by waggons this way.
“What do you see in Vagg Hollow,
Little boy, when you go
In the morning at five on your lonely drive?”
“—I see men’s souls, who follow
Till we’ve passed where the road lies low,
When they vanish at our creaking!
“They are like white faces speaking
Beside and behind the waggon —
One just as father’s was when here.
The waggoner drinks from his flagon,
(Or he’d flinch when the Hollow is near)
But he does not give me any.
“Sometimes the faces are many;
But I walk along by the horses,
He asleep on the straw as we jog;
And I hear the loud water-courses,
And the drops from the trees in the fog,
And watch till the day is breaking.
“And the wind out by Tintinhull waking;
I hear in it father’s call
As he called when I saw him dying,
And he sat by the fire last Fall,
And mother stood by sighing;
But I’m not afraid at all!”
I am laughing by the brook with her,
Splashed in its tumbling stir;
And then it is a blankness looms
As if I walked not there,
Nor she, but found me in haggard rooms,
And treading a lonely stair.
With radiant cheeks and rapid eyes
We sit where none espies;
Till a harsh change comes edging in
As no such scene were there,
But winter, and I were bent and thin,
And cinder-gray my hair.
We dance in heys around the hall,
Weightless as thistleball;
And then a curtain drops between,
As if I danced not there,
But wandered through a mounded green
To find her, I knew where.
Little fogs were gathered in every hollow, But the purple hillocks enjoyed fine weather As we marched with our fiddles over the heather - How it comes back!—to their wedding that day.
Our getting there brought our neighbours and all,
Till, two and two, the couples stood ready.
And her father said: “Souls, for God’s sake, be steady!”
And we strung up our fiddles, and sounded out “A.”
The groomsman he stared, and said, “You must
But we’d gone to fiddle in front of the party,
(Our feelings as friends being true and hearty)
And fiddle in front we did—all the way.