Charles Lamb

The Offer

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"Tell me, would you rather be
Changed by a fairy to the fine
Young orphan heiress Geraldine,
Or still be Emily?


"Consider, ere you answer me,
How many blessings are procured
By riches, and how much endured
By chilling poverty."


After a pause, said Emily:
"In the words orphan heiress I
Find many a solid reason why
I would not changëd be.


"What though I live in poverty,
And have of sisters eight--so many,
That few indulgencies, if any,
Fall to the share of me:


"Think you that for wealth I'd be
Of even the least of them bereft,
Or lose my parent, and be left
An orphaned Emily?


"Still should I be Emily,
Although I looked like Geraldine;
I feel within this heart of mine
No change could workëd be."

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Charles Lamb