William Wordsworth


She had a tall man's height or more; Her face from summer's noontide heat No bonnet shaded, but she wore A mantle, to her very feet Descending with a graceful flow, And on her head a cap as white as new-fallen snow. Her skin was of Egyptian brown: Haughty, as if her eye had seen Its own light to a distance thrown, She towered, fit person for a Queen To lead those ancient Amazonian files; Or ruling Bandit's wife among the Grecian isles. Advancing, forth she stretched her hand And begged an alms with doleful plea That ceased not; on our English land Such woes, I knew, could never be; And yet a boon I gave her, for the creature Was beautiful to see-a weed of glorious feature. I left her, and pursued my way; And soon before me did espy A pair of little Boys at play, Chasing a crimson butterfly; The taller followed with his hat in hand, Wreathed round with yellow flowers the gayest of the land. The other wore a rimless crown With leaves of laurel stuck about; And, while both followed up and down, Each whooping with a merry shout, In their fraternal features I could trace Unquestionable lines of that wild Suppliant's face. Yet 'they', so blithe of heart, seemed fit For finest tasks of earth or air: Wings let them have, and they might flit Precursors to Aurora's car, Scattering fresh flowers; though happier far, I ween, To hunt their fluttering game o'er rock and level green. They dart across my path-but lo, Each ready with a plaintive whine! Said I, "not half an hour ago Your Mother has had alms of mine." "That cannot be," one answered-"she is dead:"- I looked reproof-they saw-but neither hung his head. "She has been dead, Sir, many a day."- "Hush, boys! you're telling me a lie; It was your Mother, as I say!" And, in the twinkling of an eye, "Come! Come!" cried one, and without more ado, Off to some other play the joyous Vagrants flew!

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