Meg Merriles

Old Meg she was a gypsy
And lived upon the moors
Her bed it was the brown heath turf
And her house was out of doors.

Her apples were swart blackberries
Her currants, pods of broom
Her wine was dew of the wild white rose
Her book, a churchyard tomb.

Her brothers were the craggy hills
Her sisters, larchen trees –
Alone with her great family
She lived as she did please.

No breakfast had she many a morn
No dinner many a noon
And ‘stead of supper she would stare
Full hard against the moon.

But every morn of woodbine fresh
She made her garlanding
And every night the dark glen yew
She wove, and she would sing.

And with her fingers old and brown
She plaited mats of rushes
And gave them to the cottagers
She met among the bushes.

Old Meg was brave as any queen
And tall as Amazon
An old red blanket coat she wore
A straw hat she had on.
God rest her aged bones somewhere –
She died, full long agone!

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