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She was cutting bread and butter.

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Swans sing before they die; 'twere no bad thing Did certain persons die before they sing.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge


After such years of dissension and strife,
Some wonder that Peter should weep for his wife:
But his tears on her grave are nothing surprising, -
He's laying her dust, for fear of its rising.

Thomas Hood


Werther had a love for Charlotte

Such as words could never utter;
Would you know how first he met her?

She was cutting bread and butter.

Charlotte was a married lady,

And a moral man was Werther,
And, for all the wealth of Indies,

Would do nothing for to hurt her.

So he sighed and pined and ogled,

And his passion boiled and bubbled,
Till he blew his silly brains out,

And no more was by it troubled.

Charlotte, having seen his body

Borne before her on a shutter,
Like a well-conducted person,
Went on cutting bread and butter.

William Makepeace Thackeray


So that's Cleopathera's Needle, bedad,

An' a quare lookin' needle it is, I'll be bound; What a powerful muscle the queen must have had

That could grasp such a weapon an' wind it around!

Imagine her sittin' there stitchin' like mad

Wid a needle like that in her hand! I declare
It's as big as the Round Tower of Slane, an', bedad,

It would pass for a round tower, only it's square !

The taste of her, ordherin' a needle of granite !

Begorra, the sight of it sthrikes me quite dumb! An' look at the quare sort of figures upon it;

I wondher can these be the thracks of her thumb!

I once was astonished to hear of the faste

Cleopathera made upon pearls; but now
I declare, I would not be surprised in the laste

If ye told me the woman had swallowed a cow!

It's aisy to see why bould Cæsar should quail

In her presence, an' meekly submit to her rule; Wid a weapon like that in her fist I'll go bail

She could frighten the sowl out of big Finn MacCool!

But, Lord, what poor pigmies the women are now,

Compared with the monsthers they must have been then! Whin the darlin's in those days would kick up a row,

Holy smoke, but it must have been hot for the men !

Just think how a chap that goes courtin' would start

If his girl was to prod him wid that in the shins ! I have often seen needles, but bouldly assart

That the needle in front of me there takes the pins !

O, sweet Cleopathera! I'm sorry you're dead;

An' whin lavin' this wondherful needle behind
Had ye thought of bequathin' a spool of your thread

An' yer thimble an' scissors, it would have been kind.

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