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Poems Every Child Should Know

Mary E. Burt

.

PART I.

The Budding Moment

A dog and a cat

The Arrow and the Song.

"The Arrow and the Song," by Longfellow (1807-82), is placed first in this volume out of respect to a little girl of six years who used to love to recite it to me. She knew many poems, but this was her favourite.

I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong

That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.

Henry W. Longfellow.

The Babie.

I found "The Babie" in Stedman's "Anthology." It is placed in this volume by permission of the poet, Jeremiah Eames Rankin, of Cleveland (1828-), because it captured the heart of a ten-year-old boy whose fancy was greatly moved by the two beautiful lines:

"Her face is like an angel's face,

I'm glad she has no wings."

Nae shoon to hide her tiny taes,

Nae stockin' on her feet;

Her supple ankles white as snaw,

Or early blossoms sweet.

Her simple dress o' sprinkled pink,

Her double, dimplit chin,

Her puckered lips, and baumy mou',

With na ane tooth within.

Her een sae like her mither's een,

Twa gentle, liquid things;

Her face is like an angel's face:

We're glad she has nae wings.

Jeremiah Eames Rankin.

Let Dogs Delight to Bark and Bite.

"Let Dogs Delight to Bark and Bite," by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), and "Little Drops of Water," by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer (1810-97), are poems that the world cannot outgrow. Once in the mind, they fasten. They were not born to die.

Let dogs delight to bark and bite,

For God hath made them so;

Let bears and lions growl and fight,

For 'tis their nature too.

But, children, you should never let

Such angry passions rise;

Your little hands were never made

To tear each other's eyes.

Isaac Watts.

Little Things.

Little drops of water,

Little grains of sand,

Make the mighty ocean

And the pleasant land.

Thus the little minutes,

Humble though they be,

Make the mighty ages

Of eternity.

Ebenezer Cobham Brewer.

He Prayeth Best.

These two stanzas, the very heart of that great poem, "The Ancient Mariner," by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), sum up the lesson of this masterpiece—"Insensibility is a crime."

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell

To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!

He prayeth well who loveth well

Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best who loveth best

All things, both great and small:

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.

Samuel T. Coleridge.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star!

How I wonder what you are,

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

When the glorious sun is set,

When the grass with dew is wet,

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle all the night.

In the dark-blue sky you keep,

And often through my curtains peep,

For you never shut your eye,

Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark

Guides the traveller in the dark,

Though I know not what you are,

Twinkle, twinkle, little star!

Pippa.

"Spring's at the Morn," from "Pippa Passes," by Robert Browning (1812-89), has become a very popular stanza with little folks. "All's right with the world" is a cheerful motto for the nursery and schoolroom.

The year's at the spring,

The day's at the morn;

Morning's at seven;

The hillside's dew pearled;

The lark's on the wing;

The snail's on the thorn;

God's in His heaven—

All's right with the world!

Robert Browning.

The Days of the Month.

"The Days of the Month" is a useful bit of doggerel that we need all through life. It is anonymous.

Thirty days hath September,

April, June, and November;

February has twenty-eight alone.

All the rest have thirty-one,

Excepting leap-year—that's the time

When February's days are twenty-nine.

Old Song.

True Royalty.

"True Royalty" and "Playing Robinson Crusoe" are pleasing stanzas from "The Just So Stories" of Rudyard Kipling (1865-).

There was never a Queen like Balkis,

From here to the wide world's end;

But Balkis talked to a butterfly

As you would talk to a friend.

There was never a King like Solomon,

Not since the world began;

But Solomon talked to a butterfly

As a man would talk to a man.

She was Queen of Sabaea—

And he was Asia's Lord—

But they both of 'em talked to butterflies

When they took their walks abroad.

Rudyard Kipling.

(In "The Just So Stories.")

Playing Robinson Crusoe.

Pussy can sit by the fire and sing,

Pussy can climb a tree,

Or play with a silly old cork and string

To 'muse herself, not me.

But I like Binkie, my dog, because

He knows how to behave;

So, Binkie's the same as the First Friend was,

And I am the Man in the Cave.

Pussy will play Man-Friday till

It's time to wet her paw

And make her walk on the window-sill

(For the footprint Crusoe saw);

Then she fluffles her tail and mews,

And scratches and won't attend.

But Binkie will play whatever I choose,

And he is my true First Friend.

Pussy will rub my knees with her head,

Pretending she loves me hard;

But the very minute I go to my bed

Pussy runs out in the yard.

And there she stays till the morning light;

So I know it is only pretend;

But Binkie, he snores at my feet all night,

And he is my Firstest Friend!

Rudyard Kipling.

(In "The Just So Stories.")

My Shadow.

"My Shadow," by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94), is one of the most popular short poems extant. I have taught it to a great many very young boys, and not one has ever tried to evade learning it. Older pupils like it equally well.

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;

And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—

Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;

For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,

And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,

And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.

He stays so close beside me, he's a coward, you can see;

I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,

I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;

But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,

Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

Robert Louis Stevenson.

Little White Lily.

This poem (George Macdonald, 1828-) finds a place in this volume because, as a child, I loved it. It completely filled my heart, and has made every member of the lily family dear to me. George Macdonald's charming book, "At the Back of the North Wind," also was my wonder and delight.

Little White Lily

Sat by a stone,

Drooping and waiting

Till the sun shone.

Little White Lily

Sunshine has fed;

Little White Lily

Is lifting her head.

Little White Lily

Said: "It is good

Little White Lily's

Clothing and food."

Little White Lily

Dressed like a bride!

Shining with whiteness,

And crownèd beside!

Little White Lily

Drooping with pain,

Waiting and waiting

For the wet rain.

Little White Lily

Holdeth her cup;

Rain is fast falling

And filling it up.

Little White Lily

Said: "Good again,

When I am thirsty

To have the nice rain.

Now I am stronger,

Now I am cool;

Heat cannot burn me,

My veins are so full."

Little White Lily

Smells very sweet;

On her head sunshine,

Rain at her feet.

Thanks to the sunshine,

Thanks to the rain,

Little White Lily

Is happy again.

George Macdonald.

How the Leaves Came Down.

"How the Leaves Came Down," by Susan Coolidge (1845-), appeals to children because it helps to reconcile them to going to bed. "I go to bed by day" is one of the crosses of childhood.

"I'll tell you how the leaves came down,"

The great Tree to his children said:

"You're getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown,

Yes, very sleepy, little Red.

It is quite time to go to bed."

"Ah!" begged each silly, pouting leaf,

"Let us a little longer stay;

Dear Father Tree, behold our grief!

'Tis such a very pleasant day,

We do not want to go away."

So, for just one more merry day

To the great Tree the leaflets clung,

Frolicked and danced, and had their way,

Upon the autumn breezes swung,

Whispering all their sports among—

"Perhaps the great Tree will forget,

And let us stay until the spring,

If we all beg, and coax, and fret."

But the great Tree did no such thing;

He smiled to hear their whispering.

"Come, children, all to bed," he cried;

And ere the leaves could urge their prayer,

He shook his head, and far and wide,

Fluttering and rustling everywhere,

Down sped the leaflets through the air.

I saw them; on the ground they lay,

Golden and red, a huddled swarm,

Waiting till one from far away,

White bedclothes heaped upon her arm,

Should come to wrap them safe and warm.

The great bare Tree looked down and smiled.

"Good-night, dear little leaves," he said.

And from below each sleepy child

Replied, "Good-night," and murmured,

"It is so nice to go to bed!"

Susan Coolidge.

Willie Winkie.

"Wee Willie Winkie," by William Miller (1810-72), is included in this volume out of respect to an eight-year-old child who chose it from among hundreds. We had one poetry hour every week, and he studied and recited it with unabated interest to the end of the year.

Wee Willie Winkie rins through the town,

Up-stairs and doon-stairs, in his nicht-gown,

Tirlin' at the window, cryin' at the lock,

"Are the weans in their bed?—for it's now ten o'clock."

Hey, Willie Winkie! are ye comin' ben?

The cat's singin' gay thrums to the sleepin' hen,

The doug's speldered on the floor, and disna gie a cheep;

But here's a waukrife laddie that winna fa' asleep.

Onything but sleep, ye rogue! glow'rin' like the moon,

Rattlin' in an airn jug wi' an airn spoon,

Rumblin' tumblin' roun' about, crowin' like a cock,

Skirlin' like a kenna-what—wauknin' sleepin' folk.

Hey, Willie Winkie! the wean's in a creel!

Waumblin' aff a body's knee like a vera eel,

Ruggin' at the cat's lug, and ravellin' a' her thrums,—

Hey, Willie Winkie!—See, there he comes!

Wearie is the mither that has a storie wean,

A wee stumpie stoussie that canna rin his lane,

That has a battle aye wi' sleep before he'll close an ee;

But a kiss frae aff his rosy lips gies strength anew to me.

William Miller.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat.

"The Owl and the Pussy-Cat," by Edward Lear (1812-88), is placed here because I once found that a timid child was much strengthened and developed by learning it. It is a song that appeals to the imagination of children, and they like to sing it.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat;

They took some honey, and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the moon above,

And sang to a small guitar,

"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love!

What a beautiful Pussy you are,—

You are,

What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!

How wonderful sweet you sing!

Oh, let us be married,—too long we have tarried,—

But what shall we do for a ring?"

They sailed away for a year and a day

To the land where the Bong-tree grows,

And there in a wood a piggy-wig stood

With a ring in the end of his nose,—

His nose,

With a ring in the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?" Said the piggy, "I will,"

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined upon mince and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon,

And hand in hand on the edge of the sand

They danced by the light of the moon,—

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.

Edward Lear.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod," by Eugene Field (1850-95), pleases children, who are all by nature sailors and adventurers.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night

Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—

Sailed on a river of crystal light

Into a sea of dew.

"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"

The old moon asked the three.

"We have come to fish for the herring-fish

That live in this beautiful sea;

Nets of silver and gold have we,"

Said Wynken,

Blynken,

And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,

As they rocked in the wooden shoe;

And the wind that sped them all night long

Ruffled the waves of dew;

The little stars were the herring-fish

That lived in the beautiful sea.

"Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—

Never afeard are we!"

So cried the stars to the fishermen three,

Wynken,

Blynken,

And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw

To the stars in the twinkling foam,—

Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,

Bringing the fishermen home:

'Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed

As if it could not be;

And some folk thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed

Of sailing that beautiful sea;

But I shall name you the fishermen three:

Wynken,

Blynken,

And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,

And Nod is a little head,

And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies

Is a wee one's trundle-bed;

So shut your eyes while Mother sings

Of wonderful sights that be,

And you shall see the beautiful things

As you rock on the misty sea

Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three,

Wynken,

Blynken,

And Nod.

Eugene Field.

The Duel.

"The Duel," by Eugene Field (1850-95), is almost the most popular humorous poem that has come under my notice. In making such a collection as this it is not easy to find poems at once delicate, witty, and graphic. I have taught "The Duel" hundreds of times, and children invariably love it.

The gingham dog and the calico cat[**link to part1 img?]

Side by side on the table sat;

'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)

Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!

The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate

Appeared to know as sure as fate

There was going to be a terrible spat.

(I wasn't there; I simply state

What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"

And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"

The air was littered, an hour or so,

With bits of gingham and calico,

While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place

Up with its hands before its face,

For it always dreaded a family row!

(Now mind: I'm only telling you

What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,

And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"

But the gingham dog and the calico cat

Wallowed this way and tumbled that,

Employing every tooth and claw

In the awfullest way you ever saw—

And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!

(Don't fancy I exaggerate!

I got my views from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning where the two had sat

They found no trace of the dog or cat;

And some folks think unto this day

That burglars stole the pair away!

But the truth about the cat and the pup

Is this: They ate each other up!

Now what do you really think of that!

(The old Dutch clock it told me so,

And that is how I came to know.)

Eugene Field.

The Boy Who Never Told a Lie.

"The Boy Who Never Told a Lie" (anonymous), as well as "Whatever Brawls Disturb the Street," by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), are real gems. A few years ago they were more in favour than the poorer verse that has been put forward. But they are sure to be revived.

Once there was a little boy,

With curly hair and pleasant eye—

A boy who always told the truth,

And never, never told a lie.

And when he trotted off to school,

The children all about would cry,

"There goes the curly-headed boy—

The boy that never tells a lie."

And everybody loved him so,

Because he always told the truth,

That every day, as he grew up,

'Twas said, "There goes the honest youth."

And when the people that stood near

Would turn to ask the reason why,

The answer would be always this:

"Because he never tells a lie."

Love Between Brothers and Sisters.

Whatever brawls disturb the street,

There should be peace at home;

Where sisters dwell and brothers meet,

Quarrels should never come.

Birds in their little nests agree;

And 'tis a shameful sight,

When children of one family

Fall out and chide and fight.

Isaac Watts.

The Bluebell of Scotland.

Oh where! and oh where! is your Highland laddie gone?

He's gone to fight the French for King George upon the throne;

And it's oh! in my heart how I wish him safe at home.

Oh where! and oh where! does your Highland laddie dwell?

He dwells in merry Scotland at the sign of the Bluebell;

And it's oh! in my heart that I love my laddie well.

If I Had But Two Little Wings.

"If I Had But Two Little Wings," by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), is recommended by a number of teachers and school-girls.

If I had but two little wings

And were a little feathery bird,

To you I'd fly, my dear!

But thoughts like these are idle things

And I stay here.

But in my sleep to you I fly:

I'm always with you in my sleep!

The world is all one's own.

And then one wakes, and where am I?

All, all alone.

Samuel T. Coleridge.

A Farewell.

"A Farewell," by Charles Kingsley (1819-75), makes it seem worth while to be good.

My fairest child, I have no song to give you;

No lark could pipe to skies so dull and gray;

Yet, ere we part, one lesson I can leave you

For every day.

Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;

Do noble things, not dream them all day long:

And so make life, death, and that vast forever

One grand, sweet song.

Charles Kingsley.

Casabianca.

"Casabianca," by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835), is the portrait of a faithful heart, an example of unreasoning obedience. It is right that a child should obey even to the death the commands of a loving parent.

The boy stood on the burning deck,

Whence all but him had fled;

The flame that lit the battle's wreck

Shone round him o'er the dead.

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,

As born to rule the storm;

A creature of heroic blood,

A proud though childlike form.

The flames rolled on—he would not go

Without his father's word;

That father, faint in death below,

His voice no longer heard.

He called aloud, "Say, father, say

If yet my task is done?"

He knew not that the chieftain lay

Unconscious of his son.

"Speak, father!" once again he cried,

"If I may yet be gone!"

And but the booming shots replied,

And fast the flames rolled on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,

And in his waving hair;

And looked from that lone post of death

In still, yet brave despair.

And shouted but once more aloud

"My father! must I stay?"

While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,

The wreathing fires made way.

They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,

They caught the flag on high,

And streamed above the gallant child

Like banners in the sky.

Then came a burst of thunder sound—

The boy—oh! where was he?

—Ask of the winds that far around

With fragments strew the sea;

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair.

That well had borne their part—

But the noblest thing that perished there

Was that young, faithful heart.

Felicia Hemans.

The Captain's Daughter.

"The Captain's Daughter," by James T. Fields (1816-81), carries weight with every young audience. It is pointed to an end that children love—viz., trust in a higher power.

We were crowded in the cabin,

Not a soul would dare to sleep,—

It was midnight on the waters,

And a storm was on the deep.

'Tis a fearful thing in winter

To be shattered by the blast,

And to hear the rattling trumpet

Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"

So we shuddered there in silence,—

For the stoutest held his breath,

While the hungry sea was roaring

And the breakers talked with Death.

As thus we sat in darkness,

Each one busy with his prayers,

"We are lost!" the captain shouted

As he staggered down the stairs.

But his little daughter whispered,

As she took his icy hand,

"Isn't God upon the ocean,

Just the same as on the land?"

Then we kissed the little maiden.

And we spoke in better cheer,

And we anchored safe in harbour

When the morn was shining clear.

James T. Fields.

["The 'village smithy' stood in Brattle Street, Cambridge. There came a time when the chestnut-tree that shaded it was cut down, and then the children of the place put their pence together and had a chair made for the poet from its wood."]

The Village Blacksmith.

Longfellow (1807-82) is truly the children's poet. His poems are as simple, pathetic, artistic, and philosophical as if they were intended to tell the plain everyday story of life to older people. "The Village Blacksmith" has been learned by thousands of children, and there is no criticism to be put upon it. The age of the child has nothing whatever to do with his learning it. Age does not grade children nor is poetry wholly to be so graded. "Time is the false reply."

Under a spreading chestnut-tree

The village smithy stands;

The smith, a mighty man is he,

With large and sinewy hands,

And the muscles of his brawny arms

Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long;

His face is like the tan;

His brow is wet with honest sweat,

He earns whate'er he can,

And looks the whole world in the face,

For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,

You can hear his bellows blow;

You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,

With measured beat and slow,

Like a sexton ringing the village bell,

When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school

Look in at the open door;

They love to see the flaming forge,

And hear the bellows roar,

And catch the burning sparks that fly

Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,

And sits among his boys;

He hears the parson pray and preach,

He hears his daughter's voice

Singing in the village choir,

And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,

Singing in Paradise!

He needs must think of her once more,

How in the grave she lies;

And with his hard, rough hand he wipes

A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing,

Onward through life he goes;

Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close;

Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught!

Thus at the flaming forge of life

Our fortunes must be wrought;

Thus on its sounding anvil shaped

Each burning deed and thought.

Henry W. Longfellow.

Sweet and Low.

Sweet and low, sweet and low,

Wind of the western sea,

Low, low, breathe and blow,

Wind of the western sea!

Over the rolling waters go,

Come from the dropping moon and blow,

Blow him again to me;

While my little one, while my pretty one sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,

Father will come to thee soon;

Rest, rest, on mother's breast,

Father will come to thee soon;

Father will come to his babe in the nest,

Silver sails all out of the west

Under the silver moon:

Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

Alfred Tennyson.

The Violet.

"The Violet," by Jane Taylor (1783-1824), is another of those dear old-fashioned poems, pure poetry and pure violet. It is included in this volume out of respect to my own love for it when I was a child.

Down in a green and shady bed

A modest violet grew;

Its stalk was bent, it hung its head,

As if to hide from view.

And yet it was a lovely flower,

No colours bright and fair;

It might have graced a rosy bower,

Instead of hiding there.

Yet there it was content to bloom,

In modest tints arrayed;

And there diffused its sweet perfume,

Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go,

This pretty flower to see;

That I may also learn to grow

In sweet humility.

Jane Taylor.

The Rainbow.

(A FRAGMENT.)

"The Rainbow," by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), accords with every child's feelings. It voices the spirit of all ages that would love to imagine it "a bridge to heaven."

My heart leaps up when I behold

A rainbow in the sky;

So was it when my life began,

So is it now I am a man,

So be it when I shall grow old,

Or let me die!

The child is father of the man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

William Wordsworth.

A Visit From St. Nicholas.

"A Visit From St. Nicholas," by Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) is the most popular Christmas poem ever written. It carries Santa Claus on from year to year and the spirit of Santa Claus.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down on a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Clement Clarke Moore.

The Star-Spangled Banner.

O! say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming—

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming!

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On that shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;

'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion

A home and a country should leave us no more?

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps, pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave;

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land

Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,

And this be our motto—"In God is our trust":

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Francis Scott Key.

Father William.

"Father William" a parody by Lewis Carroll (1833-), is even more clever than the original. Harmless fun brightens the world. It takes a real genius to create wit that carries no sting.

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,

"And your hair has become very white;

And yet you incessantly stand on your head—

Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,

"I feared it might injure the brain;

But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,

Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,

And have grown most uncommonly fat;

Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—

Pray, what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his gray locks,

"I kept all my limbs very supple

By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box—

Allow me to sell you a couple."

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak

For anything tougher than suet;

Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak:

Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,

And argued each case with my wife;

And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw

Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth; "one would hardly suppose

That your eye was as steady as ever;

Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—

What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"

Said his father, "don't give yourself airs!

Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?

Be off, or I'll kick you down-stairs!"

Lewis Carroll.

("Alice in Wonderland.")

The Nightingale and the Glow-worm.

"The Nightingale," by William Cowper (1731-1800), is a favourite with a teacher of good taste, and I include it at her request.

A nightingale, that all day long

Had cheered the village with his song,

Nor yet at eve his note suspended,

Nor yet when eventide was ended,

Began to feel, as well he might,

The keen demands of appetite;

When, looking eagerly around,

He spied far off, upon the ground,

A something shining in the dark,

And knew the glow-worm by his spark;

So, stooping down from hawthorn top,

He thought to put him in his crop.

The worm, aware of his intent,

Harangued him thus, right eloquent:

"Did you admire my lamp," quoth he,

"As much as I your minstrelsy,

You would abhor to do me wrong,

As much as I to spoil your song;

For 'twas the self-same power divine,

Taught you to sing and me to shine;

That you with music, I with light,

Might beautify and cheer the night."

The songster heard his short oration,

And warbling out his approbation,

Released him, as my story tells,

And found a supper somewhere else.

William Cowper.

PART II.

The Little Child

A dog and a cat

The Frost.

"Jack Frost," by Hannah Flagg Gould (1789-1865), is perhaps a hundred years old, but he is the same rollicking fellow to-day as of yore. The poem puts his merry pranks to the front and prepares the way for science to give him a true analysis.

The Frost looked forth, one still, clear night,

And whispered, "Now I shall be out of sight;

So through the valley and over the height,

In silence I'll take my way:

I will not go on with that blustering train,

The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain,

Who make so much bustle and noise in vain,

But I'll be as busy as they."

Then he flew to the mountain and powdered its crest;

He lit on the trees, and their boughs he dressed

In diamond beads—and over the breast

Of the quivering lake he spread

A coat of mail, that it need not fear

The downward point of many a spear

That hung on its margin far and near,

Where a rock could rear its head.

He went to the windows of those who slept,

And over each pane, like a fairy, crept;

Wherever he breathed, wherever he slept,

By the light of the moon were seen

Most beautiful things—there were flowers and trees;

There were bevies of birds and swarms of bees;

There were cities with temples and towers, and these

All pictured in silver sheen!

But he did one thing that was hardly fair;

He peeped in the cupboard, and finding there

That all had forgotten for him to prepare—

"Now just to set them a-thinking,

I'll bite this basket of fruit," said he,

"This costly pitcher I'll burst in three,

And the glass of water they've left for me

Shall 'tchich!' to tell them I'm drinking."

Hannah Flagg Gould.

The Owl.

When cats run home and light is come,

And dew is cold upon the ground,

And the far-off stream is dumb,

And the whirring sail goes round,

And the whirring sail goes round;

Alone and warming his five wits,

The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,

And rarely smells the new-mown hay,

And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch

Twice or thrice his roundelay,

Twice or thrice his roundelay;

Alone and warming his five wits,

The white owl in the belfry sits.

Alfred Tennyson.

Little Billee.

"Little Billee," by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-63), finds a place here because it carries a good lesson good-naturedly rendered. An accomplished teacher recommends it, and I recollect two young children in Chicago who sang it frequently for years without getting tired of it.

There were three sailors of Bristol city

Who took a boat and went to sea.

But first with beef and captain's biscuits

And pickled pork they loaded she.

There was gorging Jack and guzzling Jimmy,

And the youngest he was little Billee.

Now when they got so far as the Equator