Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
New England: Highgate, Vt.
Little Jerry, the Miller
John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)
 
BENEATH the hill you may see the mill
  Of wasting wood and crumbling stone;
The wheel is dripping and clattering still,
  But Jerry, the miller, is dead and gone.
 
Year after year, early and late,        5
  Alike in summer and winter weather,
He pecked the stones and calked the gate,
  And mill and miller grew old together.
 
“Little Jerry!”—’t was all the same,—
  They loved him well who called him so;        10
And whether he ’d ever another name,
  Nobody ever seemed to know.
 
’T was, “Little Jerry, come grind my rye”;
  And, “Little Jerry, come grind my wheat”;
And “Little Jerry” was still the cry,        15
  From matron bold and maiden sweet.
 
’T was “Little Jerry” on every tongue,
  And so the simple truth was told;
For Jerry was little when he was young,
  And Jerry was little when he was old.        20
 
But what in size he chanced to lack,
  That Jerry made up in being strong;
I ’ve seen a sack upon his back
  As thick as the miller, and quite as long.
 
Always busy, and always merry,        25
  Always doing his very best,
A notable wag was Little Jerry,
  Who uttered well his standing jest.
 
How Jerry lived is known to fame,
  But how he died there ’s none may know;        30
One autumn day the rumor came,
  “The brook and Jerry are very low.”
 
And then ’t was whispered, mournfully,
  The leech had come, and he was dead;
And all the neighbors flocked to see:        35
  “Poor little Jerry!” was all they said.
 
They laid him in his earthy bed,—
  His miller’s coat his only shroud;
“Dust to dust,” the parson said,
  And all the people wept aloud.        40
 
For he had shunned the deadly sin,
  And not a grain of over-toll
Had ever dropped into his bin,
  To weigh upon his parting soul.
 
Beneath the hill there stands the mill,        45
  Of wasting wood and crumbling stone;
The wheel is dripping and clattering still,
  But Jerry, the miller, is dead and gone.
 
 
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