Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A VERMONT AUCTIONEER, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A VERMONT AUCTIONEER, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Whene'er an auction bill I see
Last Line: He lived and died an auctioneer.
Subject(s): Farm Life; Vermont; Villages; Agriculture; Farmers

WHENE'ER an auction bill I see
On barn or hayscales, bridge or tree,
Or stuck outside the village store,
Or tacked against the gristmill door—
I wonder if the auction game
Is played the same, or 'bout the same,
As in those days of youthful cheer
When Albert Burk was auctioneer.

His righthand eye had quite an ail,
But he could see enough to nail
The nod or wink or shoulder-shrug
That sold the fambly pung or plug;
The only time he lost a bid
Was when he stopped to shift his quid;
If he was living now and here,
The wise would say, "Some auctioneer!"

It took a man to act as clerk
When stuff was auctioned off by Burk;
I've seen him sell a farm and stock
And get all through by two o'clock;
One time he sold for mason Flower
Jest sixty things in jest an hour;
He always run on topnotch gear,
Al Burk, my boyhood's auctioneer.

He'd hold a bedpost up and say,
"Now ladies, kindly step this way—
I'll bet you all a pound of gum
No wingless beast has ever come
Within a mile, yes; call it two,
Of this fine bed I'll sell to you;
My word, it doesn't go too dear,
Bid up and help the auctioneer."

What'er he tried to sell he sold,
He turned some awful truck to gold;
The things that wouldn't "leave the shelf,"
He made a bluff to buy himself,
And when he sold a widder out
His pay was only half, about;
The Universlists far and near
Was proud of Burk, the auctioneer.

He taught Hank White his merry trade
And so his own successor made;
Each year his fame, a rising tide,
Embraced new towns on every side;
'Tis said that as his end drew on
They heard him whisper, "Going, Gone!"
Thus sans reproche and void of fear
He lived and died an auctioneer.

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