Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
And said the hour was early still
The dew not fall'n, the wind not chill;
Listening ever, but not catching
The customary cry,
"Come buy, come buy,"
With its iterated jingle
Of sugar-baited words:
- Laura tells Lizzie that it's okay to stay out because come on, it's not that late yet, and besides it's not cold.
- Meanwhile, she's straining to hear the "customary cry" of the goblins hawking their fruit as they come through the valley.
- She's heard it every night since forever, but for some reason she can't hear it tonight, with its "iterated," or repeated "jingle."
Not for all her watching
Once discerning even one goblin
Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;
Let alone the herds
That used to tramp along the glen,
In groups or single,
Of brisk fruit-merchant men.
- Laura is straining to hear, and craning her neck for a glimpse of the goblins, but can't see a single one, let alone the hordes that always used to come through the valley.
- It's not clear why Laura can't hear the goblins – apparently, once you've eaten the fruit, you can't hear or see the goblins again.