The Bird Of Paradise

Here comes Kate Summers, who, for gold,
Takes any man to bed:
"You knew my friend, Nell Barnes," she said;
"You knew Nell Barnes -- she's dead.

"Nell Barnes was bad on all you men,
Unclean, a thief as well;
Yet all my life I have not found
A better friend than Nell.

"So I sat at her side at last,
For hours, till she was dead;
And yet she had no sense at all
Of any word I said.

"For all her cry but came to this --
'Not for the world! Take care:
Don't touch that bird of paradise,
Perched on the bed-post there!'

"I asked her would she like some grapes,
Som damsons ripe and sweet;
A custard made with new-laid eggs,
Or tender fowl to eat.

"I promised I would follow her,
To see her in her grave;
And buy a wreath with borrowed pence,
If nothing I could save.

"Yet still her cry but came to this --
'Not for the world! Take care:
Don't touch that bird of paradise,
Perched on the bed-post there!' "

by William Henry Davies

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