Walter de la Mare


There was an old woman

Went blackberry picking

Along the hedges

From Weep to Wicking.

Half a pottle—

No more she had got,

When out steps a Fairy

From her green grot;

And says, "Well, Jill,

Would 'ee pick 'ee mo?"

And Jill, she curtseys,

And looks just so.

"Be off," says the Fairy,

"As quick as you can,

Over the meadows

To the little green lane,

That dips to the hayfields

Of Farmer Grimes:

I've berried those hedges

A score of times;

Bushel on bushel

I'll promise 'ee, Jill,

This side of supper

If 'ee pick with a will."

She glints very bright,

And speaks her fair;

Then lo, and behold!

She has faded in air.

Be sure old Goodie

She trots betimes

Over the meadows

To Farmer Grimes.

And never was queen

With jewellery rich

As those same hedges

From twig to ditch;

Like Dutchmen's coffers,

Fruit, thorn, and flower—

They shone like William

And Mary's bower.

And be sure Old Goodie

Went back to Weep,

So tired with her basket

She scarce could creep.

When she comes in the dusk

To her cottage door,

There's Towser wagging

As never before,

To see his Missus

So glad to be

Come from her fruit-picking

Back to he.

And soon as next morning

Dawn was grey,

The pot on the hob

Was simmering away;

And all in a stew

And a hugger-mugger

Towser and Jill

A-boiling of sugar,

And the dark clear fruit

That from Faërie came,

For syrup and jelly

And blackberry jam.

Twelve jolly gallipots

Jill put by;

And one little teeny one,

One inch high;

And that she's hidden

A good thumb deep,

Half way over

From Wicking to Weep.