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She had a tall Man's height, or more; No bonnet screen'd her from the heat; A long drab-colourM Cloak she wore, A Mantle reaching to her feet: What other dress she had I could not know; Only she wore a Cap that was as white as snow.
In all my walks, through field or town, Such Figure had I never seen: Her face was of Egyptian brown: Fit person was she for a Queen, To head those ancient Amazonian files: Or ruling Bandit's Wife, among the Grecian Isles.
Before me begging did she stand,
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 follow'd with his hat in hand,
Wreath'd round with yellow flow'rs, the gayestof the land.
The Other wore a rimless crown, With leaves of laurel stuck about: And they both follow'd up and down, Each whooping with a merry shout; Two Brothers seem'd they, eight and ten years old i And like that Woman's face as gold is like to gold.
They bolted on me thus, and 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 answer'd, "She is dead." "Nay but I gave her pence, and she will buy you bread."
"She has been dead, Sir, many a day." "Sweet 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 they both together flew.