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AO Poems February AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline Year 1 Poetry Anthology February

Compiled and arranged by the AmblesideOnline Advisory, April, 2005 with revisions made Oct, 2011

     01 There's Snow on the Fields, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     02 Lady Moon, by Richard Monckton Milnes, 1809-1885
     03 The Vulture, by Hilaire Belloc, 1870-1953
     04 The Shortest Month, by Adeline Whitney, 1824-1906
     05 Against Idleness and Mischief, by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
     06 Little Ditties I, by William Brighty Rands, 1823-1882
     07 A Valentine, by Laura Elizabeth Richards, 1850-1943
     08 Meg Merrilies, by John Keats, 1795-1821
     09 Animal Crackers, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957
     10 The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Howitt, 1799-1888
     11 Mr. Nobody, author unknown
     12 Meddlesome Matty, by Ann Taylor, 1782-1866
     13 The Tyger, by William Blake, 1757-1827
     14 Four Seasons, anonymous
     15 The Lost Doll, by Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875
     16 Monday's Child, anonymous
     17 A House of Cards, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     18 Hide and Seek, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     19 A Winter Night, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     20 A Book, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886


01 There's snow on the fields, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

There's snow on the fields,
And cold in the cottage,
While I sit in the chimney nook
Supping hot pottage.

My clothes are soft and warm,
Fold upon fold,
But I'm so sorry for the poor
Out in the cold.


02 Lady Moon, by Richard Monckton Milnes, 1809-1885

"Lady Moon, Lady Moon, where are you roving?"
      "Over the sea."
"Lady Moon, Lady Moon, whom are you loving?"
      "All that love me."

"Are you not tired with rolling and never
      Resting to sleep?
Why look so pale and so sad, as for ever
      Wishing to weep?"

"Ask me not this, little child, if you love me;
      You are too bold.
I must obey my dear Father above me,
      And do as I'm told."

"Lady Moon, Lady Moon, where are you roving?"
      "Over the sea."
"Lady Moon, Lady Moon, whom are you loving?"
      "All that love me."


03 The Vulture, by Hillaire Belloc, 1870-1953
      from More Beasts for Worse Children, 1897

The Vulture eats between his meals,
And that's the reason why
He very, very, rarely feels
As well as you and I.

His eye is dull, his head is bald,
His neck is growing thinner.
Oh! what a lesson for us all
To only eat at dinner!


04 The Shortest Month, by Adeline Whitney, 1824-1906

Will Winter never be over?
Will the dark days never go?
Must the buttercup and clover
Be always hid under the snow?

Ah, lend me your little ear, love!
Hark! 'tis a beautiful thing;
The weariest month of the year, love,
Is shortest and nearest to spring.


05 Against Idleness and Mischief, by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

How skillfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labour or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.


06 Little Ditties I, by William Brighty Rands, 1823-1882

Winifred Waters sat and sighed
     Under a weeping willow;
When she went to bed she cried,
     Wetting all the pillow;

Kept on crying night and day,
     Till her friends lost patience;
"What shall we do to stop her, pray?"
     So said her relations.

Send her to the sandy plains,
     In the zone called torrid:
Send her where it never rains,
     Where the heat is horrid.

Mind that she has only flour
     For her daily feeding;
Let her have a page an hour
     Of the driest reading,--

Navigation, logarithm,
     All that kind of knowledge,--
Ancient pedigrees go with 'em,
     From the Heralds' College.

When the poor girl has endured
     Six months of this drying,
Winifred will come back cured,
     Let us hope, of crying.

Then she will not day by day
     Make those mournful faces,
And we shall not have to say,
     "Wring her pillow-cases."


07 A Valentine, by Laura Elizabeth Richards, 1850-1943
     from An American Anthology, ed. Edmund Clarence Stedman, 1900

Oh! little loveliest lady mine,
What shall I send for your valentine?
Summer and flowers are far away;
Gloomy old Winter is king to-day;
Buds will not blow, and sun will not shine:
What shall I do for a valentine?

I've searched the gardens all through and through
For a bud to tell of my love so true;
But buds are asleep, and blossoms are dead,
And the snow beats down on my poor little head:
So, little loveliest lady mine,
Here is my heart for your valentine!


08 Meg Merrilies, by John Keats, 1795-1821

Old Meg she was a Gipsy,
And liv'd upon the Moors:
Her bed it was the brown heath turf,
And her house was out of doors.

Her apples were swart blackberries,
Her currants pods o' broom;
Her wine was dew of the wild white rose,
Her book a churchyard tomb.

Her Brothers were the craggy hills,
Her Sisters larchen trees--
Alone with her great family
She liv'd as she did please.

No breakfast had she many a morn,
No dinner many a noon,
And 'stead of supper she would stare
Full hard against the Moon.

But every morn of woodbine fresh
She made her garlanding,
And every night the dark glen Yew
She wove, and she would sing.

And with her fingers old and brown
She plaited Mats o' Rushes,
And gave them to the Cottagers
She met among the Bushes.

Old Meg was brave as Margaret Queen
And tall as Amazon
An old red blanket cloak she wore;
A chip hat had she on.
God rest her aged bones somewhere--
She died full long agone!


09 Animal Crackers, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957 from Songs for a Little House, 1917

Animal crackers, and cocoa to drink,
That is the finest of suppers, I think;
When I'm grown up and can have what I please
I think I shall always insist upon these.

What do you choose when you're offered a treat?
When Mother says, "What would you like best to eat?"
Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
It's cocoa and animals that I love the most!

The kitchen's the coziest place that I know:
The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,
And there in the twilight, how jolly to see
The cocoa and animals waiting for me.

Daddy and Mother dine later in state,
With Mary to cook for them, Susan to wait;
But they don't have nearly as much fun as I
Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by;
And Daddy once said he would like to be me
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea!


10 The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Howitt, 1799-1888

"Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
"'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, "Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome--will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple--there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue--
Thinking only of her crested head--poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour--but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.


11 Mr. Nobody, author unknown

I know a funny little man
As quiet as a mouse
He does the mischief that is done
In everybody's house.
Though no one ever sees his face
Yet one and all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
      By Mr Nobody.

'Tis he who always tears our books,
Who leaves the door ajar.
He picks the buttons from our shirts
And scatters pins afar.
That squeaking door will always squeak--
For prithee, don't you see?
We leave the oiling to be done
      By Mr Nobody.

He puts damp wood upon the fire
That kettles will not boil:
His are the feet that bring in mud
And all the carpets soil.
The papers that so oft are lost--
Who had them last but he?
There's no one tosses them about
      But Mr Nobody.

The fingermarks upon the door
By none of us were made.
We never leave the blinds unclosed
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill! The boots
That lying round you see
Are not our boots--they all belong
      To Mr Nobody.


12 Meddlesome Matty, by Ann Taylor, 1782-1866

One ugly trick has often spoil'd
The sweetest and the best;
Matilda, though a pleasant child,
One ugly trick possess'd,
Which, like a cloud before the skies,
Hid all her better qualities.

Sometimes she'd lift the tea-pot lid,
To peep at what was in it,
Or tilt the kettle, if you did
But turn your back a minute.
In vain you told her not to touch,
Her trick of meddling grew so much.

Her grandmamma went out one day,
And by mistake she laid
Her spectacles and snuff-box gay
Too near the little maid;
"Ah! well," thought she, "I'll try them on,
As soon as grandmamma is gone."

Forthwith she placed upon her nose
The glasses large and wide;
And looking round, as I suppose,
The snuff-box too she spied:
"Oh! what a pretty box is that;
I'll open it," said little Matt.

"I know that grandmamma would say,
'Don't meddle with it, dear;'
But then, she's far enough away,
And no one else is near:
Besides, what can there be amiss
In opening such a box as this?"

So thumb and finger went to work
To move the stubborn lid,
And presently a mighty jerk
The mighty mischief did;
For all at once, ah! woful case,
The snuff came puffing in her face.

Poor eyes, and nose, and mouth, beside
A dismal sight presented;
In vain, as bitterly she cried,
Her folly she repented.
In vain she ran about for ease;
She could do nothing now but sneeze.

She dash'd the spectacles away,
To wipe her tingling eyes,
And as in twenty bits they lay,
Her grandmamma she spies.
"Heyday! and what's the matter now?"
Says grandmamma, with lifted brow.

Matilda, smarting with the pain,
And tingling still, and sore,
Made many a promise to refrain
From meddling evermore.
And 'tis a fact, as I have heard,
She ever since has kept her word.


13 The Tyger, by William Blake, 1757-1827

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart,
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


14 Four Seasons, anonymous

Spring is showery, flowery, bowery.
Summer: hoppy, choppy, poppy.
Autumn: wheezy, sneezy, freezy.
Winter: slippy, drippy, nippy.


15 The Lost Doll, by Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875

I once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world;
Her cheeks were so red and white, dears,
And her hair was so charmingly curled.
But I lost my poor little doll, dears,
As I played on the heath one day;
And I cried for her more than a week, dears,
But I never could find where she lay.

I found my poor little doll, dears,
As I played on the heath one day;
Folks say she is terribly changed, dears,
For her paint is all washed away,
And her arms trodden off by the cows, dears,
And her hair not the least bit curled;
Yet for old sake's sake, she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world.


16 Monday's Child, anonymous

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
And the child that's born on the Sabbath day
Is blithe and bonny and good and gay.


17 A house of cards, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

A house of cards
Is neat and small:
Shake the table,
It must fall.

Find the Court cards
One by one;
Raise it, roof it,--
Now it's done:--
Shake the table!
That's the fun.


18 Hide and Seek, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

Hide and seek, says the Wind,
In the shade of the woods;
Hide and seek, says the Moon,
To the hazel buds;
Hide and seek, says the Cloud,
Star on to star;
Hide and seek, says the Wave,
At the harbour bar;
Hide and seek, say I,
To myself, and step
Out of the dream of Wake
Into the dream of Sleep.


19 A Winter Night, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911

My window-pane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold to-night,
The moon is cruel and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.

God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro.
God pity all the poor to-night
Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.


20 A Book, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

He ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!