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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

At San Sebastian


The Countess sprawled beside the sea
As naked a she well could be;
Indeed her only garments were
A "G" string and a brassière
Her washerwoman was amazed,
And at the lady gazed and gazed, -
From billowy-bosom swell
To navel like a pink sea shell.

The Countess has of robes three score,
She doffs and leaves them on the floor;
She changes gowns ten times a ay,
Her chambermaid puts them away.
"How funny!" thinks the washer-wife;
"I've toiled and toiled throughout my life,
And only have, to hide my skin,
This old rag that I'm standing in."

The Countess never toiled at all;
She begged for coin when she was small,
And later, in the ancient fashion,
In gay resorts she peddled passion.|
But now to noble rank arrived,
(Tom wed the old Count she contrived)
Her youthful lover, lounging there,
Is hirsute as a teddy-bear.

The Countess will be honoured when
She dies past three-score years and ten.
The washer-women will wear out
With labour fifty years about . . .
Yet as the two look at each other
The Countess thinks: "So was my mother;
And washer-wife to live and die,
But for God's grace so would be I."

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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