Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE VERMONT 'HIRED MAN', by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE VERMONT 'HIRED MAN', by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: The hired man we knew of yore
Last Line: The past and present hired man.
Subject(s): Cattle; Cows; Farm Life; Labor & Laborers; Milk; Vermont; Agriculture; Farmers; Work; Workers; Milkmen; Milkmaids

THE hired man we knew of yore
Deserves to come to life once more;
Deserves, although the nations rage,
To step again upon the stage
And show, if not his knightly grace,
His kinship with the human race:
'Twould seem 'twere well jest now to scan
The fast receding hired man.

In youth I met along my way
A dozen hired men a day;
I've seen him hunted up and hired,
I've seen him fussed at, fit and fired;
I've seen him rise to some renown
And get to represent the town;
The Strafford Free Will Church began
Through preaching by a hired man.

With him I've wheeled the woodpile in
And fished where fish was awful thin;
I knew his boots, I knew his cough,
I've touched the pay that payed him off;
I have a diary that he kept
And own a bed on which he slept,
The which, now scraped of much japan,
Would quite enrich that hired man.

I've also seen him disappear
What time the sheriff's gig drew near;
I've went with dad that very night
Beyond the woods and left a light,
A loaf of bread and dollar bill,
Where he, perhaps, was hiding still;
But no; he scorned our helpful plan—
He cooked a sheep, that hired man.

But most of them was straight and neat
And paid their bills and scraped their feet;
One used to even wash the eggs,
One dusted off the grinstone legs;
Two tracked acrost the kitchen floor,
Two should have helped the old folks more,
Three owned a colt and one a span—
You see I've seen a hired man.

One day I read a book that told
About the Norman knights of old,
And next day when we cut the swale
I tipped the hired man the tale;
"The Normans!" said he, "Oh! get out,
You mean the Mormans past a doubt—
Old Brigham Young and all his clan—
A bad book," said the hired man.

And though we had our troubles then
We should have pensioned hired men;
I asked a Chink to-day jest how
He'd go to work to milk a cow,
And quick as morphine he replied,
"To milkum cow me get inside:"
'Tis well, indeed, at times to scan
The past and present hired man.

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