Hard by the gate-way of the East
She dips within her market square
With provender for man and beast,
And goods and chattels round her there.
A cheery, buxom market dame,
A well-filled basket on her arm,
She calls her wares and makes due claim
Alike on factory and farm.
The neutral ground of her domain
Is loud with talk of crops and herds,
Where hucksters bargain for their gain
With judgment keen and weighted words;
Where sunburnt farmers, slow of speech,
Match wits with dapper city men
While she impartially from each
Takes toll and bids them come again.
With talk of rise and fall in stock,
With keen eyes for a horse's points,
The shrewd-eyed dealers hither flock
To peer in mouths and handle joints.
And shake their heads and turn away,
Then back again to name the price;
And jokes are mixed on market day
With loud-mouthed praise and sage advice.
Hard by the Western gate she sits,
Between the farmland and the town,
To gather all the scraps and bits
Of gossip that fly up and down;
And these she turns to her own good
A comfortable dame and keen,
Who earns an honest livelihood
As town and country go-between.