"Two Of A Trade, Lass, Never Agree!"

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Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 324

Context: On a day in England in the month of May, when the smell of gorse is in the air, an elderly juggler and his wife stop their travels, and the wife pitches their tent as a place for her husband to die, on a piece of common ground near where Jerry, the juggler, grew up, and where the couple had often camped before. The juggler speaks his last words to his wife, thinking of his trade and his past. He tells her that he has always been honest and a good juggler, so that he is not ashamed of his trade, though some persons may sneer at it. He speaks also of his boyhood and young manhood, when he played at cricket, visited the thatch-roofed alehouse in his village, and courted his faithful spouse. He says he has studied men closely from his "topsyturvy" world, that some are good, some are bad, and many a mixture of the two. He tells his wife he has saved enough so that she will not be in want as a widow, and he recalls how one night by the shore, as the moon rose, they saw two seagulls fly, and one fall with the crack of a gun, while the other flew away; the gull that fell is like himself, says Jerry; he has his creature comforts in his last hours, as well as his talk: a cup of ale, and the nutlike smell of the gorse carried to him by the wind. In the ninth stanza, the juggler says he is past the need of either parson or doctor in his dying:

It's past parsons to console us:
No, nor no doctor fetch for me:
I can die without my bolus;
Two of a trade, lass, never agree!
Parson and Doctor!–don't they love rarely,
Fighting the devil in other men's fields!
Stand up yourself and match him fairly:
Then see how the rascal yields.

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