A Child’s Garden of Verses - Robert Louis Stevenson - ebook

A Child's Garden of Verses is a collection of poetry for children by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. The collection first appeared in 1885 under the title Penny Whistles, but has been reprinted many times, often in illustrated versions. It contains about 65 poems including the cherished classics "Foreign Children," "The Lamplighter," "The Land of Counterpane," "Bed in Summer," "My Shadow" and "The Swing."

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A Child’s Garden of Verses

Robert Louis Stevenson



Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at nightAnd dress by yellow candle-light.In summer quite the other way,I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and seeThe birds still hopping on the tree,Or hear the grown-up people's feetStill going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,When all the sky is clear and blue,And I should like so much to play,To have to go to bed by day?


A Thought

It is very nice to thinkThe world is full of meat and drink,With little children saying graceIn every Christian kind of place.


At the Sea-Side

When I was down beside the seaA wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.In every hole the sea came up,

Till it could come no more.


Young Night-Thought

All night long and every night,When my mama puts out the light,I see the people marching by,As plain as day before my eye.

Armies and emperor and kings,All carrying different kinds of things,And marching in so grand a way,You never saw the like by day.

So fine a show was never seenAt the great circus on the green;For every kind of beast and manIs marching in that caravan.

As first they move a little slow,But still the faster on they go,And still beside me close I keepUntil we reach the town of Sleep.


Whole Duty of Children

A child should always say what's trueAnd speak when he is spoken to,And behave mannerly at table;At least as far as he is able.



The rain is falling all around,

It falls on field and tree,It rains on the umbrellas here,

And on the ships at sea.


Pirate Story

Three of us afloat in the meadow by the swing,

Three of us abroad in the basket on the lea.Winds are in the air, they are blowing in the spring,

And waves are on the meadow like the waves there are at sea.

Where shall we adventure, to-day that we're afloat,

Wary of the weather and steering by a star?Shall it be to Africa, a-steering of the boat,

To Providence, or Babylon or off to Malabar?

Hi! but here's a squadron a-rowing on the sea--

Cattle on the meadow a-charging with a roar!Quick, and we'll escape them, they're as mad as they can be,

The wicket is the harbour and the garden is the shore.


Foreign Lands

Up into the cherry treeWho should climb but little me?I held the trunk with both my handsAnd looked abroad in foreign lands.

I saw the next door garden lie,Adorned with flowers, before my eye,And many pleasant places moreThat I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river passAnd be the sky's blue looking-glass;The dusty roads go up and downWith people tramping in to town.

If I could find a higher treeFarther and farther I should see,To where the grown-up river slipsInto the sea among the ships,

To where the roads on either handLead onward into fairy land,Where all the children dine at five,And all the playthings come alive.


Windy Nights

Whenever the moon and stars are set,

Whenever the wind is high,All night long in the dark and wet,

A man goes riding by.Late in the night when the fires are out,Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,

And ships are tossed at sea,By, on the highway, low and loud,

By at the gallop goes he.By at the gallop he goes, and thenBy he comes back at the gallop again.



I should like to rise and goWhere the golden apples grow;--Where below another skyParrot islands anchored lie,And, watched by cockatoos and goats,Lonely Crusoes building boats;--Where in sunshine reaching outEastern cities, miles about,Are with mosque and minaretAmong sandy gardens set,And the rich goods from near and farHang for sale in the bazaar;--Where the Great Wall round China goes,And on one side the desert blows,And with the voice and bell and drum,Cities on the other hum;--Where are forests hot as fire,Wide as England, tall as a spire,Full of apes and cocoa-nutsAnd the negro hunters' huts;--Where the knotty crocodileLies and blinks in the Nile,And the red flamingo fliesHunting fish before his eyes;--Where in jungles near and far,Man-devouring tigers are,Lying close and giving ear