THE THREE BEGGARS
'TWAS autumn daybreak gold and wild,
While past St. Ann's grey tower they shuffled,
Three beggars spied a fairy-child
In crimson mantle muffled.
The daybreak lighted up her face
All pink, and sharp, and emerald-eyed;
She looked on them a little space,
And shrill as hautboy cried: —
"O three tall footsore men of rags
Which walking this gold morn I see,
What will ye give me from your bags
For fairy kisses three?"
The first, that was a reddish man,
Out of his bundle takes a crust:
"La, by the tombstones of St. Ann,
There's fee, if fee ye must!"
The second, that was a chestnut man,
Out of his bundle draws a bone:
"Lo, by the belfry of St. Ann,
And all my breakfast gone!"