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AO Eugene Field Poems AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline: Poems of Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Lullaby Land: Songs of Childhood Page Images


Many of these poems are excessively saccharine; some that are less so include: 03 The Night Wind, 05 Little Blue Pigeon, 17 Krinken, 33 Over the Hills and Far Away, 31 Contentment, 34 Inscription for My Little Son's Silver Plate.
Be sure not to miss his most famous poems: 06 The Duel, 22 Wynken, Blynken and Nod, 25 Little Boy Blue.


01 - The Rockaby Lady From Hushabye Street

The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby street
        Comes stealing; comes creeping;
The poppies they hang from her head to her feet,
And each hath a dream that is tiny and fleet
She bringeth her poppies to you, my sweet,
        When she findeth you sleeping!

There is one little dream of a beautiful drum
        "Rub-a-dub!" it goeth;
There is one little dream of a big sugar-plum,
And lo! thick and fast the other dreams come
Of popguns that bang, and tin tops that hum,
        And a trumpet that bloweth!

And dollies peep out of those wee little dreams
        With laughter and singing;
And boats go a-floating on silvery streams,
And the stars peek-a-boo with their own misty gleams,
And up, up, and up, where the Mother Moon beams,
        The fairies go winging!

Would you dream all these dreams that are tiny and fleet?
        They'll come to you sleeping;
So shut the two eyes that are weary, my sweet,
For the Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby street,
With poppies that hang from her head to her feet,
        Comes stealing; comes creeping.


02 - Garden and Cradle

When our babe he goeth walking in his garden,
     Around his tinkling feet the sunbeams play;
        The posies they are good to him,
        And bow them as they should to him,
     As fareth he upon his kingly way;
        And birdlings of the wood to him
     Make music, gentle music, all the day,
When our babe he goeth walking in his garden.

When our babe he goeth swinging in his cradle,
     Then the night it looketh ever sweetly down;
        The little stars are kind to him,
        The moon she hath a mind to him
     And layeth on his head a golden crown;
        And singeth then the wind to him
     A song, the gentle song of Bethlem-town,
When our babe he goeth swinging in his cradle.


03 - The Night Wind

Have you ever heard the wind go "Yooooo"?
'Tis a pitiful sound to hear!
It seems to chill you through and through
With a strange and speechless fear.
'Tis the voice of the night that broods outside
When folks should be asleep,

And many and many's the time I've cried
To the darkness brooding far and wide
Over the land and the deep:
"Whom do you want, O lonely night,
That you wail the long hours through?"
And the night would say in its ghostly way:
                "Yoooooooo!
                Yoooooooo!
                Yoooooooo!"

Mother told me long ago
     (When I was a little tad)
That when the night went wailing so,
     Somebody had been bad;
Then, when I was snug in bed,
     Whither I had been sent,
With the blankets pulled up round my head,
I'd think of what my mother'd said,
     And wonder what boy she meant!
And "Who's been bad today?" I'd ask
     Of the wind that hoarsely blew,
And the voice would say in its meaningful way.
                "Yoooooooo!
                Yoooooooo!
                Yoooooooo!"

That this was true I must allow
     You'll not believe it, though!
Yes, though I'm quite a model now,
     I was not always so.
And if you doubt what things I say,
     Suppose you make the test;
Suppose, when you've been bad some day
And up to bed are sent away
     From mother and the rest
Suppose you ask, " Who has been bad?"
     And then you'll hear what's true;
For the wind will moan in its ruefulest tone:
                "Yoooooooo!
                Yoooooooo!
                Yoooooooo!"


04 - The Dinky Bird

In an ocean, 'way out yonder
     (As all sapient people know),
Is the land of Wonder-Wander,
     Whither children love to go;
It's their playing, romping, swinging,
     That give great joy to me
While the Dinkey-Bird goes singing
     In the amfalula tree!

There the gum-drops grow like cherries,
     And taffy's thick as peas--
Caramels you pick like berries
     When, and where, and how you please;
Big red sugar-plums are clinging
     To the cliffs beside that sea
Where the Dinkey-Bird is singing
     In the amfalula tree.

So when children shout and scamper
     And make merry all the day,
When there's naught to put a damper
     To the ardor of their play;
When I hear their laughter ringing,
     Then I'm sure as sure can be
That the Dinkey-Bird is singing
     In the amfalula tree.

For the Dinkey-Bird's bravuras
     And staccatos are so sweet--
His roulades, appoggiaturas,
     And robustos so complete,
That the youth of every nation--
     Be they near or far away--
Have especial delectation
     In that gladsome roundelay.

Their eyes grow bright and brighter,
     Their lungs begin to crow,
Their hearts get light and lighter,
     And their cheeks are all aglow;
For an echo cometh bringing
     The news to all and me,
That the Dinkey-Bird is singing
     In the amfalula tree.

I'm sure you like to go there
     To see your feathered friend--
And so many goodies grow there
     You would like to comprehend!
Speed, little dreams, your winging
     To that land across the sea
Where the Dinkey-Bird is singing
     In the amfalula tree!


05 - Little Blue Pigeon

Sleep, little pigeon, and fold your wings--
     Little blue pigeon with velvet eyes;
Sleep to the singing of mother-bird swinging--
     Swinging the nest where her little one lies.

Away out yonder I see a star--
     Silvery star with a tinkling song;
To the soft dew falling I hear it calling--
     Calling and tinkling the night along.

In through the window a moonbeam comes--
     Little gold moonbeam with misty wings;
All silently creeping, it asks: "Is he sleeping--
     Sleeping and dreaming while mother sings?"

Up from the sea there floats the sob
     Of the waves that are breaking upon the shore,
As though they were groaning in anguish, and moaning--
     Bemoaning the ship that shall come no more.

But sleep, little pigeon, and fold your wings--
     Little blue pigeon with mournful eyes;
Am I not singing??--see, I am swinging--
     Swinging the nest where my darling lies.


06 - The Duel

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor the 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 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 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 news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat,
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
     But the truth about the cat and 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.)


07 - Good Children Street

There's a dear little home in Good-Children street--
     My heart turneth fondly to-day
Where tinkle of tongues and patter of feet
     Make sweetest of music at play;
Where the sunshine of love illumines each face
And warms every heart in that old-fashioned place.

For dear little children go romping about
     With dollies and tin tops and drums,
And, my! how they frolic and scamper and shout
     Till bedtime too speedily comes
Oh, days they are golden and days they are fleet
With little folk living in Good-Children street.

See, here comes an army with gulls painted red,
     And swords, caps, and plumes of all sorts;
The captain rides gaily and proudly ahead
     On a stick-horse that prances and snorts!
Oh, legions of soldiers you're certain to meet--
Nice make-believe soldiers--in Good-Children street.

And yonder Odette wheels her dolly about--
     Poor dolly! I'm sure she is ill,
For one of her blue china eyes has dropped out
     And her voice is asthmatic'ly shrill.
Then, too, I observe she is minus her feet,
Which causes much sorrow in Good-Children street.

'Tis so the dear children go romping about
     With dollies and banners and drums,
And I venture to say they are sadly put out
     When an end to their jollity comes:
Oh, days they are golden and days they are fleet
With little folk living in Good-Children street!


08 - The Bottle Tree

A bottle tree bloometh in Winkyway land--
     Heigh-ho for a bottle, I say!
A snug little berth in that ship I demand
     That rocketh the Bottle-Tree babies away
     Where the Bottle Tree bloometh by night and by day
And reacheth its fruit to each wee, dimpled hand;
     You take of that fruit as much as you list,
     For colic's a nuisance that doesn't exist!
So cuddle me close, and cuddle me fast,
     And cuddle me snug in my cradle away,
For I hunger and thirst for that precious repast
     Heigh-ho for a bottle, I say!

The Bottle Tree bloometh by night and by day!
     Heigh-ho for Winkyway land!
And Bottle-Tree fruit (as I've heard people say)
     Makes bellies of Bottle-Tree babies expand--
     And that is a trick I would fain understand!
Heigh-ho for a bottle to-day!
     And heigh-ho for a bottle to-night!
     A bottle of milk that is creamy and white!
So cuddle me close, and cuddle me fast,
     And cuddle me snug in my cradle away,
For I hunger and thirst for that precious repast--
     Heigh-ho for a bottle, I say!


09 - Lady Button Eyes

When the busy day is done,
And my weary little one
Rocketh gently to and fro;
When the night winds softly blow,
And the crickets in the glen
Chirp and chirp and chirp again;
When upon the haunted green
Fairies dance around their queen--
Then from yonder misty skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Through the murk and mist and gloam
To our quiet, cozy home,
Where to singing, sweet and low,
Rocks a cradle to and fro;
Where the clock's dull monotone
Telleth of the day that's done;
Where the moonbeams hover o'er
Playthings sleeping on the floor--
Where my weary wee one lies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Cometh like a fleeting ghost
From some distant eerie coast;
Never footfall can you hear
As that spirit fareth near--
Never whisper, never word
From that shadow-queen is heard.
In ethereal raiment dight,
From the realm of fay and sprite
In the depth of yonder skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Layeth she her hands upon
My dear weary little one,
And those white hands overspread
Like a veil the curly head,
Seem to fondle and caress
Every little silken tress;
Then she smooths the eyelids down
Over those two eyes of brown--
In such soothing, tender wise
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Dearest, feel upon your brow
That caressing magic now;
For the crickets in the glen
Chirp and chirp and chirp again,
While upon the haunted green
Fairies dance around their queen,
And the moonbeams hover o'er
Playthings sleeping on the floor--
Hush, my sweet! from yonder skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes!


10 - The Ride to Bumpville

Play that my knee was a calico mare
Saddled and bridled for Bumpville;
Leap to the back of this steed if you dare,
     And gallop away to Bumpville!
I hope you'll be sure to sit fast in your seat,
For this calico mare is prodigiously fleet,
And many adventures you're likely to meet
     As you journey along to Bumpville.

This calico mare both gallops and trots
     While whisking you off to Bumpville;
She paces, she shies, and she stumbles, in spots,
     In the tortuous road to Bumpville;
And sometimes this strangely mercurial steed
Will suddenly stop and refuse to proceed,
Which, all will admit, is vexatious indeed,
     When one is en route to Bumpville!

She's scared of the cars when the engine goes "Toot!"
Down by the crossing at Bumpville;
You'd better look out for that treacherous brute
     Bearing you off to Bumpville!
With a snort she rears up on her hindermost heels,
And executes jigs and Virginia reels--
Words fail to explain how embarrassed one feels
     Dancing so wildly to Bumpville!

It's bumpytybump and it's jiggityjog,
     Journeying on to Bumpville;
It's over the hilltop and down through the bog
     You ride on your way to Bumpville;
It's rattletybang over boulder and stump,
There are rivers to ford, there are fences to jump,
And the corduroy road it goes bumpytybump,
     Mile after mile to Bumpville!

Perhaps you'll observe it's no easy thing
     Making the journey to Bumpville,
So I think, on the whole, it were prudent to bring
     An end to this ride to Bumpville;
For, though she has uttered no protest or plaint,
The calico mare must be blowing and faint-
What's more to the point, I'm blowed if I ain't!
     So play we have got to Bumpville!


11 - Shuffle Shoon and Amber Locks

Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks
     Sit together, building blocks;
Shuffle-Shoon is old and grey,
     Amber-Locks a little child,
But together at their play
     Age and Youth are reconciled,
And with sympathetic glee
Build their castles fair to see.

"When I grow to be a man"
     (So the wee one's prattle ran),
"I shall build a castle so--
     With a gateway broad and grand;
Here a pretty vine shall grow,
     There a soldier guard shall stand;
And the tower shall be so high,
Folks will wonder, by-and-by!"

Shuffle-Shoon quoth: "Yes, I know;
     Thus I builded long ago!
Here a gate and there a wall,
     Here a window, there a door;
Here a steeple wondrous tall
     Riseth ever more and more!
But the years have levelled low
What I builded long ago!"

So they gossip at their play,
     Heedless of the fleeting day;
One speaks of the Long Ago
     Where his dead hopes buried lie;
One with chubby cheeks aglow
     Prattleth of the By-and-By;
Side by side, they build their blocks
Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks.


12 - The Shut Eye Train

Come, my little one, with me!
There are wondrous sights to see
     As the evening shadows fall;
     In your pretty cap and gown,
               Don't detain
               The Shut-Eye train
     "Ting-a-ling!" the bell it goeth,
     "Toot-toot!" the whistle bloweth,
And we hear the warning call:
"All aboard for Shut-Eye Town!"

Over hill and over plain
Soon will speed the Shut-Eye train!
     Through the blue where bloom the stars
     And the Mother Moon looks down
               We'll away
               To land of Fay
     Oh, the sights that we shall see there!
     Come, my little one, with me there--
'Tis a goodly train of cars
All aboard for Shut-Eye Town!

Swifter than a wild bird's flight,
Through the realms of fleecy light
     We shall speed and speed away!
     Let the Night in envy frown--
               What care we
               How wroth she be!
     To the Balow-land above us,
     To the Balow-folk who love us,
Let us hasten while we may--
All aboard for Shut-Eye Town!

Shut-Eye Town is passing fair
Golden dreams await us there;
     We shall dream those dreams, my dear,
     Till the Mother Moon goes down
               See unfold
               Delights untold!
     And in those mysterious places
     We shall see beloved faces
And beloved voices hear
In the grace of Shut-Eye Town.

Heavy are your eyes, my sweet,
Weary are your little feet
     Nestle closer up to me
     In your pretty cap and gown;
               Don't detain
               The Shut-Eye train!
     "Ting-a-ling!" the bell it goeth,
     "Toot-toot!" the whistle bloweth;
Oh, the sights that we shall see!
All aboard for Shut-Eye Town!


13 - Little Oh-Dear

See, what a wonderful garden is here,
Planted and trimmed for my Little Oh-Dear!
Posies so gaudy and grass of such brown--
Search ye the country and hunt ye the town
And never ye'll meet with a garden so queer
As this one I've made for my Little Oh-Dear!

Marigolds white and buttercups blue,
Lilies all dabbled with honey and dew,
The cactus that trails over trellis and wall,
Roses and pansies and violets--all
Make proper obeisance and reverent cheer
When into her garden steps Little Oh-Dear!

And up at the top of that lavender-tree
A silver-bird singeth as only can she;
For, ever and only, she singeth the song
"I love you--I love you!" the happy day long;--
Then the echo--the echo that smiteth me here!
"I love you, I love you," my Little Oh-Dear!

The garden may wither, the silver-bird fly--
But what careth my little precious, or I?
From her pathway of flowers that in spring-time upstart
She walketh the tenderer way in my heart;
And, oh, it is always the summer-time here
With that song of "I love you," my Little Oh-Dear!


14 - The Fly Away Horse

Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse--
     Perhaps you have seen him before;
Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept
     Through the moonlight that floats on the floor.
For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle bright,
     That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh
And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane,
     Is up on his heels and away!
               The Moon in the sky,
               As he gallopeth by,
     Cries: "Oh! what a marvellous sight!"
               And the Stars in dismay
               Hide their faces away
     In the lap of old Grandmother Night.

It is yonder, out yonder, the Fly-Away Horse
     Speedeth ever and ever away--
Over meadows and lanes, over mountains and plains,
     Over streamlets that sing at their play;
And over the sea like a ghost sweepeth he,
     While the ships they go sailing below,
And he speedeth so fast that the men at the mast
     Adjudge him some portent of woe.
               "What ho there!" they cry,
               As he flourishes by

With a whisk of his beautiful tail;
          And the fish in the sea
          Are as scared as can be,
From the nautilus up to the whale!
And the Fly-Away Horse seeks those far-away lands
     You little folk dream of at night--
Where candy-trees grow, and honey-brooks flow,
     And corn-fields with popcorn are white;
And the beasts in the wood are ever so good
     To children who visit them there
What glory astride of a lion to ride,
     Or to wrestle around with a bear!
               The monkeys, they say:
               "Come on, let us play,"
     And they frisk in the cocoa-nut trees:
               While the parrots, that cling
               To the peanut-vines, sing
     Or converse with comparative ease!

Off! scamper to bed--you shall ride him tonight!
     For, as soon as you've fallen asleep,
With a jubilant neigh he shall bear you away
     Over forest and hillside and deep!
But tell us, my dear, all you see and you hear
     In those beautiful lands over there,
Where the Fly-Away Horse wings his far-away course
     With the wee one consigned to his care.
               Then Grandma will cry
               In amazement: "Oh, my!
     And she'll think it could never be so;
               And only we two
               Shall know it is true--
     You and I, little precious! shall know!


15 - Fiddle-Dee-Dee

There once was a bird that lived up in a tree,
And all he could whistle was "Fiddle-dee-dee"--
A very provoking, unmusical song
For one to be whistling the summer day long!
Yet always contented and busy was he
With that vocal recurrence of "Fiddle-dee-dee."

Hard by lived a brave little soldier of four,
That weird iteration repented him sore;
"I prithee, Dear-Mother-Mine! fetch me my gun,
For, by our St. Didy! the deed must be done
That shall presently rid all creation and me
Of that ominous bird and his 'Fiddle-dee-dee'!"

Then out came Dear-Mother-Mine, bringing her son
His awfully truculent little red gun;
The stock was of pine and the barrel of tin,
The "bang" it came out where the bullet went in--
From the right kind of weapon I think you'll agree
For slaying all fowl that go "Fiddle-dee-dee!"

The brave little soldier quoth never a word,
But he up and he drew a straight bead on that bird;
And, while that vain creature provokingly sang,
The gun it went off with a terrible bang!
Then loud laughed the youth--"By my Bottle," cried he,
"I've put a quietus on 'Fiddle-dee-dee'!"

The "bang" it came out where the bullet went in
Right well have you wrought with your little gun!
Out came then Mother-Dear-Mine, saying--"My son,
Hereafter no evil at all need I fear,
With such a brave soldier as You-My-Love here!"
She kissed the dear boy. [The bird in the tree
Continued to whistle his "Fiddle-dee-dee"!]

16 - The Sugar Plum Tree

Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
     'Tis a marvel of great renown!
It blooms on the shore of the Lollipop sea
     In the garden of Shut-Eye Town;
The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
     (As those who have tasted it say)
That good little children have only to eat
     Of that fruit to be happy next day.

When you've got to the tree, you would have a hard time
     To capture the fruit which I sing;
The tree is so tall that no person could climb
     To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!
But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
     And a gingerbread dog prowls below--
And this is the way you contrive to get at
     Those sugar-plums tempting you so:

You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
     And he barks with such terrible zest
That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
     As her swelling proportions attest.
And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
     From this leafy limb unto that,
And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground--
     Hurrah for that chocolate cat!

There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,
     With stripings of scarlet or gold,
And you carry away of the treasure that rains
     As much as your apron can hold!
So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
     In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
And I'll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree
     In the garden of Shut-Eye Town.


17 - Krinken

Krinken was a little child,--
It was summer when he smiled,
Oft the hoary sea and grim
Stretched its white arms out to him;
Calling, "Sun-child, come to me;
Let me warm my heart with thee!"
But the child heard not the sea.

Krinken on the beach one day
Saw a maiden Nis at play;
Frail, and very fair, was she,
Just a little child was he.
"Krinken," said the maiden Nis,
"Let me have a little kiss,--
Just a kiss, and go with me
To the summer-lands that be
Down within the silver sea."

Krinken was a little child,
By the maiden Nis beguiled;
Down into the calling sea
With the maiden Nis went he.

But the sea calls out no more;
It is winter on the shore,--
Winter where that little child
Made sweet summer when he smiled;
Though 'tis summer on the sea
Where with maiden Nis went he,--
Summer, summer evermore,--
It is winter on the shore,
Winter, winter evermore.

Of the summer on the deep
Come sweet visions in my sleep;
His fair face lifts from the sea,
His dear voice calls out to me,--
These my dreams of summer be.

Krinken was a little child,
By the maiden Nis beguiled;
Oft the hoary sea and grim
Reached its longing arms to him,
Crying, "Sun-child, come to me;
Let me warm my heart with thee!"
But the sea calls out no more;
It is winter on the shore,--
Winter, cold and dark and wild;
Krinken was a little child,--
It was summer when he smiled;
Down he went into the sea,
And the winter bides with me.
Just a little child was he.


18 - Pittypat and Tippytoe

All day long they come and go--
Pittypat and Tippytoe;
     Footprints up and down the hall,
          Playthings scattered on the floor,
     Finger-marks along the wall,
          Tell-tale smudges on the door
By these presents you shall know
Pittypat and Tippytoe.

How they riot at their play!
And a dozen times a day
     In they troop, demanding bread--
          Only buttered bread will do,
     And the butter must be spread
          Inches thick with sugar too!
And I never can say "No,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!"

Sometimes there are griefs to soothe,
Sometimes ruffled brows to smooth;
     For (I much regret to say)
          Tippytoe and Pittypat
     Sometimes interrupt their play
          With an internecine spat;
Fie, for shame! to quarrel so--
Pittypat and Tippytoe!

Oh the thousand worrying things
Every day recurrent brings!
     Hands to scrub and hair to brush,
          Search for playthings gone amiss,
     Many a wee complaint to hush,
          Many a little bump to kiss;
Life seems one vain, fleeting show
To Pittypat and Tippytoe!

And when day is at an end,
There are little duds to mend:
     Little frocks are strangely torn,
          Little shoes great holes reveal,
     Little hose, but one day worn,
          Rudely yawn at toe and heel!
Who but you could work such woe,
Pittypat and Tippytoel

On the floor and down the hall,
Rudely smutched upon the wall,
     There are proofs in every kind
          Of the havoc they have wrought,
     And upon my heart you'd find
          Just such trade-marks, if you sought;
Oh, how glad I am 'tis so,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!


19 - So So Rockabye So

So, so, rock-a-by so!
Off to the garden where dreamikins grow;
And here is a kiss on your winkyblink eyes,
     And here is a kiss on your dimpledown cheek
And here is a kiss for the treasure that lies
In the beautiful garden way up in the skies
     Which you seek.
Now mind these three kisses wherever you go--
So, so, rock-a-by so!

There's one little fumfay who lives there, I know,
For he dances all night where the dreamikins grow;
I send him this kiss on your droopydrop eyes,
     I send him this kiss on your rosy-red cheek.
And here is a kiss for the dream that shall rise
When the fumfay shall dance in those far-away skies
     Which you seek.
Be sure that you pay those three kisses you owe -
So, so, rock-a-by so!

And, by-low, as you rock-a-by go,
Don't forget mother who loveth you so!
And here is her kiss on your weepydeep eyes,
     And here is her kiss on your peachypink cheek,
And here is her kiss for the dreamland that lies
Like a babe on the breast of those far-away skies
     Which you seek
The blinkywink garden where dreamikins grow
So, so, rock-a-by so!


20 - Teeny Weeny

Every evening, after tea,
Teeny-Weeny comes to me.
And, astride my willing knee,
     Plies his lash and rides away;
Though that palfrey, all too spare,
Finds his burden hard to bear,
Teeny-Weeny doesn't care;
     He commands, and I obey!

First it's trot, and gallop, then;
Now it's back to trot again;
Teeny-Weeny likes it when
     He is riding fierce and fast.
Then his dark eyes brighter grow
And his cheeks are all aglow:
"More!" he cries, and never "Whoa! "
     Till the horse breaks down at last

Oh, the strange and lovely sights
Teeny-Weeny sees of nights,
As he makes those famous flights
     On that wondrous horse of his!
Oftentimes before he knows,
Wearylike his eyelids close,
And, still smiling, off he goes
     Where the land of By-low is.

There he sees the folk of fay
Hard at ring-a-rosie play,
And he hears those fairies say:
     "Come, let's chase him to and fro!"
But, with a defiant shout,
Teeny puts that host to rout;
Of this tale I make no doubt,
     Every night he tells it so.

So I feel a tender pride
In my boy who dares to ride
That fierce horse of his astride,
     Off into those misty lands;
And as on my breast he lies,
Dreaming in that wondrous wise,
I caress his folded eyes,
     Pat his little dimpled hands.

On a time he went away,
Just a little while to stay,
And I'm not ashamed to say
     I was very lonely then;
Life without him was so sad,
You can fancy I was glad
And made merry when I had
     Teeny-Weeny back again!

So of evenings, after tea,
When he toddles up to me
And goes tugging at my knee,
     You should hear his palfrey neigh!
You should see him prance and shy,
When, with an exulting cry,
Teeny-Weeny, vaulting high,
     Plies his lash and rides away!


21 - Buttercup, Poppy, Forget-me-not

Buttercup, Poppy, Forget-me-not
These three bloomed in a garden spot;
And once, all merry with song and play,
A little one heard three voices say:
          "Shine and shadow, summer and spring,
          O thou child with the tangled hair
     And laughing eyes! we three shall bring
          Each an offering passing fair."
The little one did not understand,
But they bent and kissed the dimpled hand.

Buttercup gamboled all day long,
Sharing the little one's mirth and song;
Then, stealing along on misty gleams,
Poppy came bearing the sweetest dreams.
     Playing and dreaming--and that was all
          Till once a sleeper would not awake;
     Kissing the little face under the pall,
          We thought of the words the third flower spake;
And we found betimes in a hallowed spot
The solace and peace of Forget-me-not.

Buttercup shareth the joy of day,
Glinting with gold the hours of play;
Bringeth the poppy sweet repose,
When the hands would fold and the eyes would close;
     And after it all--the play and the sleep
          Of a little life--what cometh then?
     To the hearts that ache and the eyes that weep
          A new flower bringeth God's peace again.
Each one serveth its tender lot--
Buttercup, Poppy, Forget-me-not.


22 - Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

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 that 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 folks thought 'twas a dreamed 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 in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
               Wynken,
               Blynken,
               And Nod.


23 - Little Mistress Sans-Merci

Little Mistress Sans-Merci
Fareth world-wide, fancy free:
     Trotteth cooing to and fro,
          And her cooing is command
     Never ruled there yet, I trow,
          Mightier despot in the land.
And my heart it lieth where
Mistress Sans-Merci doth fare.

Little Mistress Sans-Merci
She hath made a slave of me!
     "Go," she biddeth, and I go
          "Come," and I am fain to come.
     Never mercy doth she show,
          Be she wroth or frolicsome,
Yet am I content to be
Slave to Mistress Sans-Merci!

Little Mistress Sans-Merci
Hath become so dear to me
     That I count as passing sweet
          All the pain her moods impart,
     And I bless the little feet
          That go trampling on my heart:
Ah, how lonely life would be
But for little Sans-Merci!

Little Mistress Sans-Merci,
Cuddle close this night to me,
     And the heart, which all day long
          Ruthless thou hast trod upon,
     Shall outpour a soothing song
          For its best beloved one--
All its tenderness for thee,
Little Mistress Sans-Merci!


24 - Hi Spy

Strange that the city thoroughfare,
     Noisy and bustling all the day,
Should with the night renounce its care
     And lend itself to children's play!

Oh, girls are girls, and boys are boys,
     And have been so since Abel's birth,
And shall be so till dolls and toys
     Are with the children swept from earth.

The self-same sport that crowns the clay
     Of many a Syrian shepherd's son,
Beguiles the little lads at play
     By night in stately Babylon.

I hear their voices in the street,
     Yet 'tis so different now from then!
Come, brother! from your winding-sheet,
     And let us two be boys again!


25 - Little Boy Blue

The little toy dog is covered with dust,
     But sturdy and staunch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
     And the musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
     And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
     Kissed them and put them there.

"Now, don't you go till I come," he said,
     "And don't you make any noise!"
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
     He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
     Awakened our Little Boy Blue--
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
     But the little toy friends are true!

Aye, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
     Each in the same old place--
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
     The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
     In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
     Since he kissed them and put them there.


26 - Heigho, My Dearie

Moonbeam floateth from the skies,
Whispering: "Heigho, my dearie;
I would spin a web before your eyes--
A beautiful web of silver light
Wherein is many a wondrous sight
Of a radiant garden leagues away,
Where the softly tinkling lilies sway
And the snow-white lambkins are at play--
     Heigho, my dearie!"

A brownie stealeth from the vine,
Singing: "Heigho, my dearie;
And will you hear this song of mine
A song of the land of murk and mist
Where bideth the bud the dew hath kist?
Then let the moonbeam's web of light
Be spun before thee silvery white,
And I shall sing the livelong night--
     Heigho, my dearie!"

The night wind speedeth from the sea,
Murmuring: "Heigho, my dearie;
I bring a mariner's prayer for thee;
So let the moonbeam veil thine eyes,
And the brownie sing thee lullabies--
But I shall rock thee to and fro,
Kissing the brow he loveth so.
And the prayer shall guard thy bed, I trow--
     Heigho, my dearie!"


27 - Fairy and Child

Oh, listen, little Dear-My-Soul,
     To the fairy voices calling,
For the moon is high in the misty sky
     And the honey dew is falling;
To the midnight feast in the clover bloom
     The bluebells are a-ringing,
And it's "Come away to the land of fay"
     That the katydid is singing.

Oh, slumber, little Dear-My-Soul,
     And hand in hand we'll wander--
Hand in hand to the beautiful land
     Of Balow, away off yonder;
Or we'll sail along in a lily leaf
     Into the white moon's halo
Over a stream of mist and dream
     Into the land of Balow.

Or, you shall have two beautiful wings
     Two gossamer wings and airy,
And all the while shall the old moon smile
     And think you a little fairy;
And you shall dance in the velvet sky,
     And the silvery stars shall twinkle
And dream sweet dreams as over their beams
     Your footfalls softly tinkle.


28 - Child and Mother

Mother-my-love, if you'll give me your hand,
     And go where I ask you to wander,
I will lead you away to a beautiful land--
     The Dreamland that's waiting out yonder.
We'll walk in a sweet-posie garden out there,
     Where moonlight and starlight are streaming,
And the flowers and the birds are filling the air
     With the fragrance and music of dreaming.

There'll be no little tired-out boy to undress,
     No questions or cares to perplex you;
There'll be no little bruises or bumps to caress,
     Nor patching of stockings to vex you.
For I'll rock you away on a silver-dew stream,
     And sing you asleep when you're weary,
And no one shall know of our beautiful dream,
     But you and your own little dearie.

And when I am tired I'll nestle my head
     In the bosom that's soothed me so often,
And the wide-awake stars shall sing in my stead
     A song which our dreaming shall soften.
So, Mother-My-Love, let me take your dear hand,
     And away through the starlight we'll wander--
Away through the mist to the beautiful land--
     The Dreamland that's waiting out yonder.


29 - Ganderfeather's Gift

I was just a little thing
     When a fairy came and kissed me;
Floating in upon the light
Of a haunted summer night,
Lo, the fairies came to sing
Pretty slumber songs and bring
     Certain boons that else had missed me.
From a dream I turned to see
What those strangers brought for me,
     When that fairy up and kissed me--
     Here, upon this cheek, he kissed me!

Simmerdew was there, but she
     Did not like me altogether;
Daisybright and Turtledove,
Pilfercurds and Honeylove,
Thistleblow and Amberglee
On that gleaming, ghostly sea
     Floated from the misty heather,
And around my trundle-bed
Frisked, and looked, and whispering said--
     Solemnlike and all together:
     "You shall kiss him, Ganderfeather!"

Ganderfeather kissed me then--
     Ganderfeather, quaint and merry!
No attenuate sprite was he,
--But as buxom as could be;--
Kissed me twice, and once again,
And the others shouted when
     On my cheek uprose a berry
Somewhat like a mole, mayhap,
But the kiss-mark of that chap
     Ganderfeather, passing merry--
     Humorsome, but kindly, very!

I was just a tiny thing
     When the prankish Ganderfeather
Brought this curious gift to me
With his fairy kisses three;
Yet with honest pride I sing
That same gift he chose to bring
     Out of yonder haunted heather.
Other charms and friendships fly--
Constant friends this mole and I,
     Who have been so long together.
     Thank you, little Ganderfeather!


30 - Telling the Bees

Out of the house where the slumberer lay
Grandfather came one summer day,
And under the pleasant orchard trees
He spake this wise to the murmuring bees:
     "The clover-bloom that kissed her feet
     And the posie-bed where she used to play,
     Have honey store, but none so sweet
     As ere our little one went away.
     O bees, sing soft, and, bees, sing low;
     For she is gone who loved you so."

A wonder fell on the listening bees
Under those pleasant orchard trees,
And in their toil that summer day
Ever their murmuring seemed to say:
     "Child, O child, the grass is cool,
     And the posies are waking to hear the song
     Of the bird that swings by the shaded pool,
     Waiting for one that tarrieth long."
'Twas so they called to the little one then,
As if to call her back again.

O gentle bees, I have come to say
That grandfather fell asleep to-day,
And we know by the smile on grandfather's face
He has found his dear one's biding-place.
     So, bees, sing soft, and, bees, sing low,
     As over the honey-fields you sweep
     To the trees abloom and the flowers ablow
     Sing of grandfather fast asleep;
And ever beneath these orchard trees
Find cheer and shelter, gentle bees.


31 - Contentment

Once on a time an old red hen
     Went strutting round with pompous clucks,
For she had little babies ten,
     A part of which were tiny ducks.
"'Tis very rare that hens," said she,
     "Have baby ducks as well as chicks
But I possess, as you can see,
     Of chickens four and ducklings six!"

A season later, this old hen
     Appeared, still cackling of her luck,
For, though she boasted babies ten,
     Not one among them was a duck!
"'Tis well," she murmured, brooding o'er
     The little chicks of fleecy down,
"My babies now will stay ashore,
     And, consequently, cannot drown!"

But, oh! alas, how very sad!
     When gentle spring rolled round again.
The eggs eventuated bad,
     And childless was the old red hen!
Yet patiently she bore her woe,
     And still she wore a cheerful air,
And said: "'Tis best these things are so
     For babies are a dreadful care!"

I half suspect that many men,
     And many, many women, too,
Could learn a lesson from the hen
     With foliage of vermilion hue.
She ne'er presumed to take offence
     At any fate that might befall,
But meekly bowed to Providence.
     She was contented - that was all!

End of Lullabye Land

More poems by Eugene Field


32 - The Naughty Doll

My dolly is a dreadful care,--
     Her name is Miss Amandy;
I dress her up and curl her hair,
     And feed her taffy candy.
Yet heedless of the pleading voice
     Of her devoted mother,
She will not wed her mother's choice,
     But says she'll wed another.

I'd have her wed the china vase,--
     There is no Dresden rarer;
You might go searching every place
     And never find a fairer.
He is a gentle, pinkish youth,--
     Of that there's no denying;
Yet when I think of him forsooth,
     Amandy falls to crying!

She loves the drum--that's very plain--
     And scorns the case so clever;
And weeping, vows she will remain
     A spinster doll forever!
The protestations of the Drum
     I am convinced are hollow;
When once distressing times should come,
     How soon would ruin follow!

Yet all in vain the Dresden boy
     From yonder mantel woos her;
A mania for that vulgar toy,
     The noisy drum, imbues her!
In vain I wheel her to and fro,
     And reason with her mildly,--
Her waxen tears in torrents flow,
     Her sawdust heart beats wildly.

I'm sure that when I'm big and tall,
     And wear long trailing dresses,
I sha'n't encourage beaux at all
     Till mama acquiesces;
Our choice will be a suitor then
     As pretty as this vase is,--
Oh, how we'll hate the noisy men
     With whiskers on their faces!


33 - Over the Hills and Far Away

Over the hills and far away,
A little boy steals from his morning play,
And under the blossoming apple-tree
He lies and dreams of the things to be:
Of battles fought and of victories won,
Of wrongs o'erthrown and of great deeds done--
Of the valor that he shall prove some day,
Over the hills and far away--
          Over the hills and far away!

Over the hills and far away
It's, oh, for the toil of the livelong day!
But it mattereth not to the soul aflame
With a love for riches and power and fame!
On, O man! while the sun is high--
On to the certain joys that lie
Yonder where blazeth the noon of day.
Over the hills and far away--
          Over the hills and far away!

Over the hills and far away
An old man lingers at close of day;
Now that his journey is almost done,
His battles fought and his victories won--
The old-time honesty and truth,
The trustfulness and the friends of youth,
Home and mother--where are they?
Over the hills and far away--
          Over the hills and far away!


34 - Inscription for My Little Son's Silver Plate

When thou dost eat from off this plate,
I charge thee be thou temperate;
Unto thine elders at the board
Do thou sweet reverence accord;
And, though to dignity inclined,
Unto the serving-folk be kind;
Be ever mindful of the poor,
Nor turn them hungry from the door;
And unto God, for health and food
And all that in thy life is good,
Give thou thy heart in gratitude.


35 - In the Firelight

The fire upon the hearth is low,
     And there is stillness everywhere,
     And, like wing'd spirits everywhere,
The firelight shadows fluttering go.
And as the shadows round me creep,
     A childish treble breaks the gloom,
     And softly from a further room
Comes: "Now I lay me down to sleep."

And, somehow with that little pray'r
     And that sweet treble in my ears,
     My thought goes back to distant years,
And lingers with a dear one there;
And as I hear my child's amen,
     My mother's faith comes back to me--
     Crouched at her side I seem to be,
And mother holds my hands again.

Oh, for an hour in that dear place--
     Oh, for that childish trust sublime--
     Oh, for a glimpse of mother's face!
Yet, as the shadows round me creep,
     I do not seem to be alone--
     Sweet magic of that treble tone
And "Now I lay me down to sleep!"


36 - Jest 'Fore Christmas

Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl--ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes curls an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake--
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for belly-ache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat.
First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibals that live in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cowboys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm as good as I kin be!

And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!

For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
And don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, and "Yessur" to the men,
An' when they's company, don'a pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!


37 - Little Homer's Slate

After dear old grandma died,
     Hunting through an oaken chest
In the attic, we espied
     What repaid our childish quest;
'Twas a homely little slate,
Seemingly of ancient date.

On its quaint and battered face
     Was the picture of a cart,
Drawn with all that awkward grace
     Which betokens childish art;
But what meant this legend, pray:
"Homer drew this yesterday?"

Mother recollected then
     What the years were fain to hide--
She was but a baby when
     Little Homer lived and died;
Forty years, so mother said,
Little Homer had been dead.

This one secret through those years
     Grandma kept from all apart,
Hallowed by her lonely tears
     And the breaking of her heart;
While each year that sped away
Seemed to her but yesterday.

So the homely little slate
     Grandma's baby's fingers pressed,
To a memory consecrate,
     Lieth in the oaken chest,
Where, unwilling we should know,
Grandma put it, years ago.


38 - The Hawthorne Children

The Hawthorne children--seven in all--
     Are famous friends of mine,
And with what pleasure I recall
How, years ago, one gloomy fall,
     I took a tedious railway line
And journeyed by slow stages down
Unto that sleepy seaport town
     (Albeit one worth seeing),
          Were Hildegarde, John, Henry, Fred,
And Beatrix and Gwendolen
And she that was the baby then--
     These famous seven, as aforesaid,
          Lived, moved, and had their being.

The Hawthorne children gave me such
     A welcome by the sea,
That the eight of us were soon in touch,
And though their mother marveled much,
     Happy as larks were we!
Egad I was a boy again
With Henry, John, and Gwendolen!
     And, oh! the funny capers
          I cut with Hildegarde and Fred!
The pranks we heedless children played,
The deafening, awful noise we made--
     'Twould shock my family, if they read
          About it in the papers.

The Hawthorne children all were smart;
     The girls, as I recall,
Had comprehended every art
Appealing to the head and heart,
     The boys were gifted, all;
'Twas Hildegard that showed me how
To hitch the horse and milk a cow
     And cook the best of suppers;
     With Beatrix upon the sands
I sprinted daily, and was beat,
While Henry stumped me to the feat
     Of walking round upon my hands
          Instead of on my "uppers."

The Hawthorne children liked me best
     Of evenings, after tea;
For then, by general request,
I spun them yarns about the west--
     And all involving Me!
I represented hw I'd slain
The bison on the gore-smeared plain,
     And divers tales of wonder
          I'd told of how I'd fought and bled
In injun scrimages galore,
Til Mrs. Hawthorne quoth, "No more!"
     And packed her darlings off to bed
          To dream of blood and thunder!"

They must have changed a deal since then:
     The misses tall and fair,
And those three lusty, handsome men,
Would they be girls and boys again
     Were I to happen there,
Down in that spot beside the sea
Where we had such tumultuous glee
     In dull autumnal weather?
          Ah me! the years go swiftly by,
And yet how fondly I recall
The week when we were children all--
     Dear Hawthorne children, you and I--
          Just eight of us together!