Before the sooty flowers crowded their
battered box, or the lorries sounded so
loud down the asphalt road, the view was fair
with gipsies calling from the lane below.

A sign hung here then bidding folk to meet,
and drink, and sing songs till the fires fell,
and tumble into bed, then rise and eat,
and greet the dawn with bustle and farewell.

Here grew icicles that at yuletide one
could snap and taste, and want to taste again,
from these same bricks where late midsummer sun
would deign to find its slumber now and then.

But best of all it was this very place
the Highwayman leapt to the sill, quite wild
with reckless love, to kiss the gentle face
and clasp the hand of Bess, the landlord's child.

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