Withal a meagre man was Aaron Stark,—
Cursed and unkempt, shrewd, shrivelled, and morose.
A miser was he, with a miser’s nose,
And eyes like little dollars in the dark.
His thin, pinched mouth was nothing but a mark;
And when he spoke there came like sullen blows
Through scattered fangs a few snarled words and close,
As if a cur were chary of its bark.
Glad for the murmur of his hard renown,
Year after year he shambled through the town,—
A loveless exile moving with a staff;
And oftentimes there crept into his ears
A sound of alien pity, touched with tears,—
And then (and only then) did Aaron laugh.