by Walter De la Mare (1873 - 1956)

Language: English 
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 the 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 had faded in air.

Be sure Old Goodie
  She trots betimes
Over the meadows
  To Farmer Grimes.
And never was queen
  With jewelry 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.
As soon as next morning
  Dawn was grey
The pot on the hob
  Was simmering away;
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.

Confirmed with Peacock Pie. A Book of Rhymes by Walter de la Mare, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., [1920], pages 69-71.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2014-03-31
Line count: 72
Word count: 282