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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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