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I KNEW an old wife lean and poor,
Her rags scarce held together;
There strode a stranger to the door,
And it was windy weather.


He held a goose upon his arm,

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He uttered rhyme and reason,

Here, take the goose, and keep you warm,

It is a stormy season."


She caught the white goose by the leg,

A goose

- 't was no great matter.

The goose let fall a golden egg

With cackle and with clatter.


She dropt the goose, and caught the pelf, And ran to tell her neighbors;

And blessed herself, and cursed herself,

And rested from her labors.


And feeding high, and living soft,
Grew plump and able-bodied;

Until the grave churchwarden doffed,
parson smirked and nodded.



So sitting, served by man and maid,
She felt her heart grow prouder:
But ah! the more the white goose laid,
It clacked and cackled louder.


It cluttered here, it chuckled there;
It stirred the old wife's mettle:

She shifted in her elbow-chair,

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"A quinsy choke thy cursed note! "
Then waxed her anger stronger.

"Go, take the goose, and wring her throat,

I will not bear it longer."


Then yelped the cur, and yawled the cat;
Ran Gaffer, stumbled Gammer.

The goose flew this way and flew that,
And filled the house with clamor.



As head and heels upon the floor

They floundered all together,
There strode a stranger to the door,

And it was windy weather:


He took the goose upon

his arm,

He uttered words of scorning;

"So keep you cold, or keep you warm,

It is a stormy morning."


The wild wind rang from park and plain,

And round the attics rumbled,

Till all the tables danced again,

And half the chimneys tumbled.


The glass blew in, the fire blew out,
The blast was hard and harder.

Her cap blew off, her gown blew up,
And a whirlwind cleared the larder;


And while on all sides breaking loose Her household fled the danger, Quoth she, "The Devil take the goose, And God forget the stranger!"


AT Francis Allen's on the Christmas-eve,

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The game of forfeits done the girls all kissed
Beneath the sacred bush and past away ·
The parson Holmes, the poet Everard Hall,
The host and I, sat round the wassail-bowl,
Then half-way ebbed: and there we held a talk,
How all the old honor had from Christmas gone,
Or gone, or dwindled down to some odd games
In some odd nooks like this; till I, tired out
With cutting eights that day upon the pond,
Where, three times slipping from the outer edge,
I bumped the ice into three several stars,
Fell in a doze; and half-awake I heard
The parson taking wide and wider sweeps,
Now harping on the church-commissioners,
Now hawking at Geology and schism;
Until I woke, and found him settled down
Upon the general decay of faith.

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