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AO Year 1 Poetry Anthology AmblesideOnline.org

Ambleside Online Year 1 Poetry Anthology

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

There are 20 poems for each month of school, and some poems for the summer months, too! You should be able to read a different poem approximately 5 days every week. Poems are listed seasonally (to the northern hemisphere) and holiday poems are listed with their appropriate month.

Also available separately by month, 20 poems per page: Click Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec




Listing of Poems in this Collection:

January

     01 A Serenade for New Year's Eve, Author unknown
     02 New Year Snow, by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924
     03 The First Snowfall, by James Russell Lowell, 1819-1891
     04 Topsy-Turvy World, by William Brighty Rands, 1823-1882
     05 On the Bridge, by Kate Greenaway, 1846-1901
     06 Little Orphant Annie, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916
     07 Velvet Shoes, by Elinor Wylie, 1885-1928
     08 A Calendar, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852
     09 Chickadee, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
     10 White Fields, by James Stephens published, 1909
     11 The Yak, by Hilaire Belloc, 1870-1953
     12 The Little Artist, unknown
     13 Moon Folly (The Song of Conn the Fool), by Fannie Stearns Gifford 1884-?
     14 Certainty, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886
     15 Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898
     16 Little Pussy, by Jane Taylor, 1783-1824
     17 Song for a Little House, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957
     18 O Wind, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     19 The Cupboard, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     20 On Another's Sorrow, by William Blake, 1757-1827

February

     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

March

     01 Get up and Bar the Door, Traditional English
     02 When Early March Seems Middle May, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916
     03 Silver Filigree, by Elinor Wylie 1885-1928
     04 I Dug Amongst the Snow, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     05 The Rooks, by Jane Euphemia Browne, 1811-1898
     06 The Pobble Who Has No Toes, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888
     07 Silver, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     08 The Star, by Jane Taylor, 1783-1824
     09 The Owl and The Pussycat, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888
     10 Written in March, by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850
     11 Love Between Brothers and Sister, by Issac Watts, 1674-1748
     12 The Faery Forest, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     13 The Pasture, by Robert Frost, 1874-1963
     14 Wild Beasts, by Evaleen Stein, 1863-1923
     15 The Sandman, by Margaret Thomson Janvier, 1845-1913
     16 Fog, by Carl Sandburg, 1878-1967
     17 The Lily, by William Blake, 1757-1827
     18 All But Blind, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     19 Wishes, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     20 To March, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

April

     01 Spring, by William Blake, 1757-1827
     02 April, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     03 The First Bluebird, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916
     04 Tumbling, anonymous
     05 If You See a Tiny Faery, by William Shakespeare, 1564-1616
     06 Rain, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
     07 Daffadowndilley, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     08 Blowing Bubbles, by William Allingham, 1824-1889
     09 My Shadow, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
     10 Child's Song in Spring, by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924
     11 Raining, by Amelia Josephine Burr, 1878-1968
     12 Over in the Meadow, by Olive A. Wadsworth, 1835-1886
     13 The Prayer Perfect, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916
     14 The Fairies, by Rose Fyleman, 1877-1957
     15 Calico Pie, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888
     16 Weather, anonymous
     17 Try Again, by William Hickson, 1803-1870
     18 The Blind Men and the Elephant--A Hindu fable, by John Godfrey Saxe, 1816-1887
     19 Before the Rain, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 1836-1907
     20 After the Rain, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 1836-1907

May

     01 May Day, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     02 Hark, Hark! the Lark from Cymbeline, by Shakespeare, 1564-1616
     03 Baby Seed Song, by E. Nesbit, 1858-1924
     04 Afternoon on a Hill, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950
     05 Sometimes, by Rose Fyleman, 1877-1957
     06 There is but one May in the year, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     07 Bird Song, by Laura E. Richards
     08 What Is Pink? by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     09 The Fairies, by William Allingham, 1824-1889
     10 The Swing, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
     11 The Jumblies, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888
     12 Jemima, anonymous-sometimes attributed to Longfellow
     13 The Duck and the Kangaroo, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888
     14 Sea Fever, by John Masefield, 1878-1967
     15 Daybreak, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882
     16 My Pretty Rose Tree, by William Blake, 1757-1827
     17 The Shepherd, by William Blake, 1757-1827
     18 The Frog, by Hilaire Belloc, 1870-1953
     19 Temper, by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
     20 A Cradle Song, by Thomas Dekker, 1570-1632

June

     01 The Fountain, by James Russell Lowell, 1819-1891
     02 The Old Bridge, by Hilda Conkling, 1910-1986 (publshed 1922)
     03 Maker of Heaven and Earth, by Cecil Frances Alexander, 1818-1895
     04 The Sea Gypsy, by Richard Hovey, 1864-1900
     05 The Fly, by William Blake, 1757-1827
     06 My Fairy, by Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898
     07 The city mouse, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     08 Trees, by Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918
     09 Tit for Tat, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957 (published 1921)
     10 Pippa's Song, by Robert Browning, 1812-1889
     11 The Rabbit, by Elizabeth Madox Roberts, 1881-1941
     12 Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     13 The Tide Rises, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882
     14 Woodman, Spare That Tree, by George Pope Morris, 1802-1864
     15 The Owl, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892
     16 Nicholas Nye, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     17 Dusk in June, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     18 Evening, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886
     19 The Way Through the Woods, by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
     20 Good Night and Good Morning, by Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton, 1809-1885

July

     01 Summer Days, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     02 The Nightingale, by William Cowper, 1731-1800
     03 My Garden by Thomas Edward Brown, 1830-1897
     04 July, by Susan Hartley Swett, published in the 1880's
     05 Hurt No Living Thing, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     06 Ducks Ditty, by Kenneth Grahame, 1859 -1932
     07 The Elf and the Dormouse, by Oliver Herford, 1863-1935 (published 1900)
     08 The Brook, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892
     09 The Song of the Secret, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     10 Seal Lullaby, by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
     11 Anger, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834
     12 The Use of Flowers, by Mary Howitt, 1799-1888
     13 He Prayeth Well, Who Loveth Well, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834
     14 The Wind in a Frolic, by William Howitt, 1792-1879

August

     01 At the Sea-side, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
     02 A bird came down the walk, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886
     03 Sea-shell, by Amy Lowell, 1874-1925
     04 The Little Turtle, by Vachel Lindsay, 1879-1931
     05 Laughing Song, by William Blake, 1757-1827
     06 Five Little Chickens, a traditional English rhyme
     07 Seven Times One, by Jean Ingelow, 1820-1897
     08 If No One Ever Marries Me, by Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1836-1912
     09 The Little Elf, by John Kendrick Bangs, 1862-1922
     10 God Moves in Mysterious Ways, by William Cowper 1731-1800
     11 Hopping frog, hop here by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     12 The Little Green Orchard, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     13 Let Dogs Delight to Bark and Bite, by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
     14 Choosing A Name, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834
     15 Nod, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956

September

     01 September, by Helen Hunt Jackson, 1830-1885
     02 Robin Redbreast, by William Allingham, 1824-1889
     03 Smells, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957
     04 Little Things, by Julia Fletcher Carney, 1823-1908
     05 The Duel, by Eugene Field, 1850-1895
     06 The Frog and the Centipede, anonymous
     07 Wynken, Blynken and Nod, by Eugene Field, 1850-1895
     08 Diamond's Song, by George MacDonald, 1824-1905
     09 Fly away, fly away over the sea, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     10 Abou Ben Adhem, by Leigh Hunt 1784-1859
     11 Dream Song, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     12 A Ballad of Two Knights, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     13 Autumn, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886
     14 The Kitten and The Falling Leaves, by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850
     15 Answer To A Child's Question, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834
     16 A Child's Prayer, by Margaret Betham-Edwards, 1836-1919
     17 Crumbs To The Birds, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834
     18 At The Zoo, by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811-1868
     19 A Baby Sermon, by George MacDonald, 1824-1905
     20 The Canary, by Elizabeth Turner, 1775-1846

October

     01 October's Party, by George Cooper, 1840-1927
     02 Hunter's Song, by Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832
     03 The Cricket and the Ant Adapted from Aesop, author unknown
     04 The City of Falling Leaves, by Amy Lowell, 1874-1925
     05 Lucy Gray, by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850
     06 God's World, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950
     07 The Pin, by Ann Taylor, 1782-1866
     08 Lullaby of an Indian Chief, by Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832
     09 Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
     10 The Wind and the Moon, by George Macdonald, 1824-1905
     11 Fable, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
     12 Playgrounds, by Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1836-1912
     13 When the Frost is on the Punkin, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916
     14 The Kind Moon, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     15 Envy, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834
     16 An Evening Hymn, by Thomas Ken, 1637-1711
     17 The Rainbow, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     18 Trees, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852
     19 Young and Old, by Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875
     20 Wishing, by William Allingham, 1824-1889

November

     01 November, by Alice Cary, 1820-1871
     02 A Good Play, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
     03 The Arrow and the Song, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882
     04 The Moon's the North Wind's Cooky, by Vachel Lindsay, 1879-1931
     05 The Sunshine, by Mary Howitt, 1799-1888
     06 In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, 1872-1918 (for Nov 11, Veterans Day)
     07 The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898
     08 Little Raindrops, by Jane Euphemia Browne, 1811-1898
     09 A Farewell, by Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875
     10 Wishing, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1855-1919
     11 Cargoes, by John Masefield, 1878 -1967
     12 The Window, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     13 What do the stars do, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     14 The Cat of Cats, by William Brighty Rands, 1823-1882
     15 A Letter is a Gypsy Elf, by Annette Wynne
     16 A Thanksgiving, by John Kendrick Bangs, 1862-1922
     17 We Thank Thee, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
     18 Landing of the Pilgrims, by Felicia Dorothea Hemans, 1793-1835
     19 Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849
     20 Which Is The Favourite? by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

December

     01 The Coin, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     02 You Never Can Tell, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1855-1919
     03 Song of the Holly, by William Shakespeare, 1564-1616
     04 Lullaby, by Edith Nesbit 1858-1924
     05 Dust of Snow, by Robert Frost, 1874-1963
     06 Snow Song, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
     07 The Cottager to her Infant, by Dorothy Wordsworth, 1771--1855
     08 Good Night! Good Night! By Victor Hugo, 1802-1885
     09 Snow-flakes, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882
     10 Christmas Day and Every Day, by George MacDonald, 1824-1905
     11 The Time Draws Near, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1883
     12 A Christmas Carol, by G.K.Chesterton, 1874-1936
     13 The Christmas Child, by George MacDonald, 1824-1905
     14 Christmas Day, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     15 Christmas Hymn, by Eugene Field, 1850-1895
     16 Carol, by William Canton, 1845-1926
     17 A Christmas Carol, 1859, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     18 The Bells, by Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849
     19 Ring Out, Wild Bells, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1883
     20 A Happy New Year, by Margaret Sangster, 1838-1912


January


01 A Serenade for New Year's Eve, author unknown

The old year departed, how swiftly it flew,
'Tis gone, and with rapture we welcome the new;--
We trust a bright morning will dawn on your eyes,--
And sun beams unclouded illumine the skies.
Then wake from your slumbers, our serenade hear,--
We wish you a happy, a happy New Year!


02 New Year Snow, by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924

The white snow falls on hill and dale,
 The snow falls white by square and street,
Falls on the town, a bridal veil,
 And on the fields a winding-sheet.

A winding-sheet for last year's flowers,
 For last year's love, and last year's tear,
A bridal veil for the New Hours,
 For the New Love and the New Year.

Soft snow, spread out his winding-sheet!
 Spin fine her veil, O bridal snow!
Cover the print of her dancing feet,
 And the place where he lies low.


03 The First Snowfall, by James Russell Lowell, 1819-1891

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.


04 Topsy-Turvy World, by William Brighty Rands, 1823-1882

If the butterfly courted the bee,
And the owl the porcupine;
If churches were built in the sea,
And three times one was nine;
If the pony rode his master,
If the buttercups ate the cows,
If the cats had the dire disaster
To be worried, sir, by the mouse;
If mamma, sir, sold the baby
To a gypsy for half a crown;
If a gentleman, sir, was a lady,--
The world would be Upside-down!
If any or all of these wonders
Should ever come about,
I should not consider them blunders,
For I should be Inside-out!

Ba-ba, black wool,
Have you any sheep?
Yes, sir, a packfull,
Creep, mouse, creep!
Four-and-twenty little maids
Hanging out the pie,
Out jump'd the honey-pot,
Guy Fawkes, Guy!
Cross latch, cross latch,
Sit and spin the fire;
When the pie was open'd,
The bird was on the brier!


05 On the Bridge, by Kate Greenaway, 1846-1901

If I could see a little fish--
That is what I just now wish!
I want to see his great round eyes
Always open in surprise.

I wish a water-rat would glide
Slowly to the other side;
Or a dancing spider sit
On the yellow flags a bit.

I think I'll get some stones to throw,
And watch the pretty circles show.
Or shall we sail a flower boat,
And watch it slowly--slowly float?

That's nice--because you never know
How far away it means to go;
And when tomorrow comes, you see,
It may be in the great wide sea.


06 Little Orphant Annie, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849--1916

Inscribed, with All Faith and Affection:
To all the little children:--the happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones--Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other children, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
 Don't
    Watch
        Out!

Wunst they wuz a little boy woudn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
 Don't
    Watch
        Out!

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
 Don't
    Watch
        Out!

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputter, an' the wind goes woo--oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' cherish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
 Don't
    Watch
        Out!


07 Velvet Shoes, by Elinor Wylie 1885--1928
    from Nets to Catch the Wind, 1921

Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as a white cow's milk,
More beautiful
Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.


08 A Calendar, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes, loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm Septemper brings the fruit;
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant;
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast;
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.


09 Chickadee, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

Then piped a tiny voice hard by,
Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,
"Chick-a-dee-dee!" a saucy note
Out of sound heart and merry throat
As if it said, "Good day, good sir!
Fine afternoon, old passenger!
Happy to meet you in these places
Where January brings few faces."


10 White Fields, by James Stephens published, 1909

In the winter time we go
Walking in the fields of snow;
Where there is no grass at all;
Where the top of every wall,
Every fence and every tree,
Is as white, as white can be.

Pointing out the way we came,
Everyone of them the same--
All across the fields there be
Prints in silver filigree;
And our mothers always know,
By our footprints in the snow,
Where the children go.


11 The Yak, by Hillaire Belloc, 1870-1953
      from The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, 1897

As a friend to the children
Commend me the Yak.
You will find it exactly the thing:
It will carry and fetch, you can ride on its back,
Or lead it about with a string.

The Tartar who dwells on the plains of Thibet
(A desolate region of snow)
Has for centuries made it a nursery pet,
And surely the Tartar should know!
Then tell your papa where the Yak can be got,
And if he is awfully rich
He will buy you the creature--
or else
     he will not.
(I cannot be positive which.)


12 The Little Artist, unknown

Oh, there is a little artist
     Who paints in the cold night hours
Pictures for wee, wee children,
     Of wondrous trees and flowers,--

Pictures of snow-capped mountains
     Touching the snow-white sky;
Pictures of distant oceans,
     Where pigmy ships sail by.

Pictures of rushing rivers,
     By fairy bridges spanned;
Bits of beautiful landscapes,
     Copied from elfin land.

The moon is the lamp he paints by,
     His canvas the window-pane,
His brush is a frozen snowflake;
     Jack Frost is the artist's name.


13 Moon Folly (The Song of Conn the Fool), by Fannie Stearns Gifford 1884-?
      included in Rainbow Gold, edited by Sara Teasdale, 1922

I will go up the mountain after the Moon:
She is caught in dead fir-tree.
Like a great pale apple of silver and pearl,
Like a great pale apple is she.

I will leap and will catch her with quick cold hands
And carry her home in my sack.
I will set her down safe on the oaken bench
That stands at the chimney-back.

And then I will sit by the fire all night,
And sit by the fire all day.
I will gnaw at the Moon to my heart's delight
Till I gnaw her slowly away.

And while I grow mad with the Moon's cold taste
The World will beat at my door,
Crying "Come out!" and crying "Make haste,
And give us the Moon once more!"

But I shall not answer them ever at all.
I shall laugh, as I count and hide
The great black beautiful Seeds of the Moon
In a flower-pot deep and wide.

Then I shall lie down and go fast asleep,
Drunken with flame and aswoon.
But the seeds will sprout and the seeds will leap,
The subtle swift seeds of the Moon.

And some day, all of the World that cries
And beats at my door shall see
A thousand moon-leaves spring from my thatch
On a wonderful white Moon-tree!

Then each shall have Moons to his heart's desire:
Apples of silver and pearl;
Apples of orange and copper fire
Setting his five wits aswirl!

And then they will thank me, who mock me now,
"Wanting the Moon is he,"--
Oh, I'm off the mountain after the Moon,
Ere she falls from the dead fir-tree!


14 Certainty, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.


15 Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
he went galumphing back.

'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


16 Little Pussy, by Jane Taylor, 1783-1824

I like little pussy, her coat is so warm;
And if I don't hurt her, she'll do me no harm.
So I'll not pull her tail, nor drive her away,
But Pussy and I very gently will play.
She shall sit by my side, and I'll give her some food;
And she'll love me because I am gentle and good.

I'll pat little Pussy, and then she will purr;
And thus show her thanks for my kindness to her.
I'll not pinch her ears, nor tread on her paw,
Lest I should provoke her to use her sharp claw.
I never will vex her, nor make her displeased--
For Pussy can't bear to be worried or teased.


17 Song for a Little House, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957
      from Chimneysmoke, 1923

I'm glad our house is a little house,
Not too tall nor too wide:
I'm glad the hovering butterflies
Feel free to come inside.

Our little house is a friendly house.
It is not shy or vain;
It gossips with the talking trees,
And makes friends with the rain.

And quick leaves cast a shimmer of green
Against our whited walls,
And in the phlox, the dutious bees
Are paying duty calls.


18 O wind, why do you never rest, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

O wind, why do you never rest
Wandering, whistling to and fro,
Bringing rain out of the west,
From the dim north bringing snow?


19 The Cupboard, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

I know a little cupboard,
With a teeny tiny key,
And there's a jar of Lollypops
     For me, me, me.

It has a little shelf, my dear,
As dark as dark can be,
And there's a dish of Banbury Cakes
     For me, me, me.

I have a small fat grandmamma,
With a very slippery knee,
And she's the Keeper of the Cupboard
     With the key, key, key.

And when I'm very good, my dear,
As good as good can be,
There's Banbury Cakes, and Lollypops
     For me, me, me.


20 On Another's Sorrow, by William Blake, 1757-1827

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear --

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.


February


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!


March


01 Get up and Bar the Door, Traditional English

It fell about the Martinmas time,
      And a gay time it was then,
When our goodwife got puddings to make,
      And she's boil'd them in the pan.

The wind so cold blew south and north,
      And blew into the floor;
Quoth our goodman to our goodwife,
      'Get out and bar the door.'

'My hand is in my hussyfskap,
      Goodman, as ye may see;
An' it shouldn't be barr'd this hundred year,
      It won't be barr'd for me.'

They made a pact between them two,
      They made it firm and sure,
That the first word who'er should speak,
      Should rise and bar the door.

Then by there came two gentlemen,
      At twelve o'clock at night,
And they could neither see house nor hall,
      Nor coal nor candle-light.

'Now whether is this a rich man's house,
      Or whether is it a poor?'
But ne'er a word would ane o' them speak,
      For barring of the door.

And first they ate the white puddings,
      And then they ate the black.
Tho' muckle thought the goodwife to herself
      Yet ne'er a word she spake.

Then said the one unto the other,
      'Here, man, take ye my knife;
Do ye take off the old man's beard,
      And I'll kiss the goodwife.'--

'But there's no water in the house,
      And what shall we do than?'
'What ails ye at the pudding-brew,
      That boils into the pan?'

O up then started our goodman,
      An angry man was he:
'Will ye kiss my wife before my eyes,
      And scald me with pudding-brew?'

Then up and started our goodwife,
      Gave three skips on the floor:
'Goodman, you've spoken the foremost word!
      Get up and bar the door.'


02 When Early March Seems Middle May, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916

When country roads begin to thaw
In mottled spots of damp and dust,
And fences by the margin draw
     Along the frosty crust
Their graphic silhouettes, I say,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When morning-time is bright with sun
And keen with wind, and both confuse
The dancing, glancing eyes of one
     With tears that ooze and ooze
And nose-tips weep as well as they,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When suddenly some shadow-bird
Goes wavering beneath the gaze,
And through the hedge the moan is heard
     Of kine that fain would graze
In grasses new, I smile and say,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When knotted horse-tails are untied,
And teamsters whistle here and there,
And clumsy mitts are laid aside,
     And choppers' hands are bare,
And chips are thick where children play,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When through the twigs the farmer tramps,
And troughs are chunked beneath the trees,
And fragrant hints of s'gar-camps
     Astray in every breeze,
And early March seems middle-May,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When coughs are changed to laughs, and when
Our frowns melt into smiles of glee,
And all our blood thaws out again
     In streams of ecstasy,
And poets wreak their roundelay,
The Spring is coming round this way.


03 Silver Filigree, by Elinor Wylie 1885-1928
    from Nets to Catch the Wind, 1921

The icicles wreathing
     On trees in festoon
Swing, swayed to our breathing:
     They're made of the moon.

She's a pale, waxen taper;
     And these seem to drip
Transparent as paper
     From the flame of her tip.

Molten, smoking a little,
     Into crystal they pass;
Falling, freezing, to brittle
     And delicate glass.

Each a sharp-pointed flower,
     Each a brief stalactite
Which hangs for an hour
     In the blue cave of night.


04 I dug and dug amongst the snow, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

I dug and dug amongst the snow,
And thought the flowers would never grow;
I dug and dug amongst the sand,
And still no green thing came to hand.

Melt, O snow! the warm winds blow
To thaw the flowers and melt the snow;
But all the winds from every land
Will rear no blossom from the sand.


05 The Rooks, by Jane Euphemia Browne, 1811-1898

The rooks are building on the trees;
They build there every spring:
"Caw, caw," is all they say,
For none of them can sing.

They're up before the break of day,
And up till late at night;
For they must labour busily
As long as it is light.

And many a crooked stick they bring,
And many a slender twig,
And many a tuft of moss, until
Their nests are round and big.

"Caw, caw!" Oh, what a noise
They make in rainy weather!
Good children always speak by turns,
But rooks all talk together.


06 The Pobble Who Has No Toes, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888

The Pobble who has no toes
     Had once as many as we;
When they said, 'Some day you may lose them all';--
     He replied,--'Fish fiddle de-dee!'
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink,
Lavender water tinged with pink,
For she said, 'The world in general knows
There's nothing so good for a Pobble's toes!

The Pobble who has no toes,
     Swam across the Bristol Channel;
But before he set out he wrapped his nose,
     In a piece of scarlet flannel.
For his Aunt Jobiska said, 'No harm
'Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;
'And it's perfectly known that a Pobble's toes
'Are safe--provided he minds his nose.'

The Pobble swam fast and well
     And when boats or ships came near him
He tinkedly-binkledy-winkled a bell
     So that all the world could hear him.
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,
When they saw him nearing the further side,--
'He has gone to fish, for his Aunt Jobiska's
'Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!'

But before he touched the shore,
     The shore of the Bristol Channel,
A sea-green Porpoise carried away
     His wrapper of scarlet flannel.
And when he came to observe his feet
Formerly garnished with toes so neat
His face at once became forlorn
On perceiving that all his toes were gone!

And nobody ever knew
     From that dark day to the present,
Whoso had taken the Pobble's toes,
     In a manner so far from pleasant.
Whether the shrimps or crawfish gray,
Or crafty Mermaids stole them away--
Nobody knew; and nobody knows
How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!

The Pobble who has no toes
     Was placed in a friendly Bark,
And they rowed him back, and carried him up,
     To his Aunt Jobiska's Park.
And she made him a feast at his earnest wish
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish;--
And she said,--'It's a fact the whole world knows,
'That Pobbles are happier without their toes.'


07 Silver, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon:
This way, and that, she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam
By silver reeds in a silver stream.


08 The Star, by Jane Taylor, 1783-1824

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

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.

'Tis your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark :
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.


09 The Owl and The Pussycat, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888

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 stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
            You are,
                  You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O 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 at the end of his nose,
            His nose,
                  His nose,
With a ring at 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 on 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,
                  The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.


10 Written in March, by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850

The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The ploughboy is whooping--anon--anon:
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!


11 Love Between Brothers and Sister, by Issac Watts, 1674-1748

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.


12 The Faery Forest, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911

The faery forest glimmered
      Beneath an ivory moon,
The silver grasses shimmered
      Against a faery tune.

Beneath the silken silence
      The crystal branches slept,
And dreaming through the dew-fall
      The cold white blossoms wept.


13 The Pasture, by Robert Frost, 1874-1963
      from North of Boston, 1915

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I shan't be gone long.--You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shan't be gone long.--You come too.


14 Wild Beasts, by Evaleen Stein, 1863-1923
      from Child Songs of Cheer, 1918

I will be a lion
      And you shall be a bear,
And each of us will have a den
      Beneath a nursery chair;
And you must growl and growl and growl,
      And I will roar and roar,
And then--why, then--you'll growl again,
      And I will roar some more!


15 The Sandman, by Margaret Thomson Janvier, 1845-1913

The rosy clouds float overhead,
The sun is going down;
And now the sandman's gentle tread
Comes stealing through the town.
"White sand, white sand," he softly cries,
And as he shakes his hand,
Straightway there lies on babies' eyes
His gift of shining sand.
Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes, and brown,
As shuts the rose, they softly close,
            when he goes through the town.

From sunny beaches far away--
Yes, in another land--
He gathers up at break of day
His stone of shining sand.
No tempests beat that shore remote,
No ships may sail that way;
His little boat alone may float
Within that lovely bay.
Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes, and brown,
As shuts the rose, they softly close,
            when he goes through the town.

He smiles to see the eyelids close
Above the happy eyes;
And every child right well he knows,--
Oh, he is very wise!
But if, as he goes through the land,
A naughty baby cries,
His other hand takes dull gray sand
To close the wakeful eyes.
Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes, and brown,
As shuts the rose, they softly close,
            when he goes through the town.

So when you hear the sandman's song
Sound through the twilight sweet,
Be sure you do not keep him long
A-waiting in the street.
Lie softly down, dear little head,
Rest quiet, busy hands,
Till, by your bed his good-night said,
He strews the shining sands.
Blue eyes, gray eyes, black eyes, and brown,
As shuts the rose, they softly close,
            when he goes through the town.


16 Fog, by Carl Sandburg, 1878-1967
      from Chicago Poems, 1918

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


17 The Lily, by William Blake, 1757-1827

The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threat'ning horn:
While the Lily white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.


18 All But Blind, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

All but blind
In his cambered hole
Gropes for worms
The four-clawed Mole.

All but blind
In the evening sky
The hooded Bat
Twirls softly by.

All but blind
In the burning day
The Barn-Owl blunders
On her way.

And blind as are
These three to me,
So blind to someone
I must be.


19 Wishes, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Sonnets to Duse, 1907

I wish for such a lot of things
That never will come true--
And yet I want them all so much
I think they might, don't you?

I want a little kitty-cat
That's soft and tame and sweet,
And every day I watch and hope
I'll find one in the street.

But nursie says, "Come, walk along,
"Don't stand and stare like that"--
I'm only looking hard and hard
To try to find my cat.

And then I want a blue balloon
That tries to fly away,
I thought if I wished hard enough
That it would come some day.

One time when I was in the park
I knew that it would be
Beside the big old clock at home
A-waiting there for me--

And soon as we got home again,
I hurried through the hall,
And looked beside the big old clock--
It wasn't there at all.

I think I'll never wish again--
But then, what shall I do?
The wishes are a lot of fun
Although they don't come true.


20 To March, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

Dear March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat
You must have walked
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

I got your letter, and the birds';
The maples never knew
That you were coming, I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me
And all those hills
You left for me to hue;
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.

Who knocks? That April!
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
That blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.


April


01 Spring, by William Blake, 1757-1827

            Sound the flute!
            Now 'tis mute!
            Birds delight,
            Day and night,
            Nightingale,
            In the dale,
            Lark in sky,--
            Merrily,
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year.

            Little boy,
            Full of joy;
            Little girl,
            Sweet and small;
            Cock does crow,
            So do you;
            Merry voice,
            Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year.

            Little lamb,
            Here I am;
            Come and lick
            My white neck;
            Let me pull
            Your soft wool;
            Let me kiss
            Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily we welcome in the year.


02 April, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Rivers to the Sea, 1915

The roofs are shining from the rain,
The sparrows twitter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.

Yet the back yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree--
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.


03 The First Bluebird, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916

Jest rain and snow! and rain again!
And dribble! drip! and blow!
Then snow! and thaw! and slush! and then
Some more rain and snow!

This morning I was 'most afeard
To wake up when, I jing!
I seen the sun shine out and heerd
The first bluebird of Spring!

Mother she'd raised the winder some;
And in acrost the orchurd come,
Soft as a angel's wing,
A breezy, treesy, beesy hum,
Too sweet fer anything!

The winter's shroud was rent a-part
The sun bust forth in glee,
And when that bluebird sung, my hart
Hopped out o' bed with me!


04 Tumbling, anonymous

In jumping and tumbling
We spend the whole day,
Till night by arriving
Has finished our play.

What then? One and all,
There's no more to be said,
As we tumbled all day,
So we tumble to bed.


05 If You See a Tiny Faery, by William Shakespeare, 1564-1616

If you see a tiny faery,
Lying fast asleep
Shut your eyes
And run away,
Do not stay to peek!
Do not tell
Or you'll break a faery spell.


06 Rain, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

The rain is raining all around,
      It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
      And on the ships at sea.


07 Daffadowndilly, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Growing in the vale
By the uplands hilly,
Growing straight and frail,
Lady Daffadowndilly.

In a golden crown,
And a scant green gown
While the spring blows chilly,
Lady Daffadown,
Sweet Daffadowndilly.


08 Blowing Bubbles, by William Allingham, 1824-1889

See the pretty planet!
      Floating sphere!
Faintest breeze will fan it
      Far or near;

World as light as feather;
      Moonshine rays,
Rainbow tints together,
      As it plays.

Drooping, sinking, failing,
      Nigh to earth,
Mounting, whirling, sailing,
      Full of mirth;

Life there, welling, flowing,
      Waving round;
Pictures coming, going,
      Without sound.

Quick now, be this airy
      Globe repelled!
Never can the fairy
      Star be held.

Touched, it in a twinkle
      Disappears!
Leaving but a sprinkle,
      As of tears.


09 My Shadow, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

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 behind 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.


10 Child's Song in Spring, by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924
      from A Pomander of Verse, 1895

The silver birch is a dainty lady,
     She wears a satin gown;
The elm tree makes the old churchyard shady,
     She will not live in town.

The English oak is a sturdy fellow,
     He gets his green coat late;
The willow is smart in a suit of yellow,
     While brown the beech trees wait.

Such a gay green gown God gives the larches--
     As green as He is good!
The hazels hold up their arms for arches
     When Spring rides through the wood.

The chestnut's proud, and the lilac's pretty,
     The poplar's gentle and tall,
But the plane tree's kind to the poor dull city--
     I love him best of all!


11 Raining, by Amelia Josephine Burr, 1878-1968
      appeared in The Bellman Book of Verse, 1919

Raining, raining,
All night long;
Sometimes loud, sometimes soft,
Just like a song.

There'll be rivers in the gutters
And lakes along the street.
It will make our lazy kitty
Wash his little dirty feet.

The roses will wear diamonds
Like kings and queens at court;
But the pansies all get muddy
Because they are so short.

I'll sail my boat to-morrow
In wonderful new places,
But first I'll take my watering-pot
And wash the pansies' faces.


12 Over in the Meadow, or, The Rhymes by Which Mamma Taught Tot to Count to Twelve, by Olive A. Wadsworth (real name Katherine Floyd Dana), 1835-1886
      from Kit, Fan, Tot, and the Rest of Them, 1870

Over in the meadow,
     In the sand, in the sun,
Lived an old mother toad
     And her little toadie, one.
"Wink!" said the mother;
     "I wink!" said the one,
So she winked and she blinked
     In the sand, in the sun.

Over in the meadow
     Where the stream runs blue,
Lived an old mother fish
     And her little fishes, two.
"Swim!" said the mother;
     "We swim!" said the two,
So they swam and they leaped
     Where the stream runs blue.

Over in the meadow,
     In a hole in a tree,
Lived a mother bluebird
     And her little birdies, three.
"Sing!" said the mother;
     "We sing!" said the three
So they sang and were glad
     In the hole in the tree.

Over in the meadow
     In the reeds on the shore,
Lived a mother muskrat
     And her little ratties, four;
"Dive!" said the mother,
     "We dive!" said the four,
So they dived and they burrowed
     In the reeds on the shore.

Over in the meadow
     In a snug bee-hive,
Lived a mother honey-bee
     And her little honeys, five;
"Buzz!" said the mother,
     "We buzz!" said the five,
So they buzzed and they hummed
     In the snug bee-hive.

Over in the meadow
     In a nest built of sticks,
Lived a black mother crow
     And her little crows, six;
"Caw!" said the mother,
     "We caw!" said the six,
So they cawed and they called
     In their nest built of sticks.

Over in the meadow
     Where the grass is so even,
Lived a gay mother cricket
     And her little crickets, seven;
"Chirp!" said the mother,
     "We chirp!" said the seven,
So they chirped cheery notes
     In the grass green and even.

Over in the meadow
     By the old mossy gate,
Lived a brown mother lizard
     And her little lizards, eight;
"Bask!" said the mother,
     "We bask!" said the eight,
So they basked in the sun
     On the old mossy gate.

Over in the meadow
     Where the clear pools shine,
Lived a green mother frog
A     nd her little froggies, nine;
"Croak!" said the mother,
     "We croak!" said the nine,
So they croaked and they splashed
     Where the clear pools shine.

Over in the meadow
     In a sly little den,
Lived a gray mother spider
     And her little spiders, ten;
"Spin!" said the mother,
     "We spin!" said the ten,
So they spun lace webs
     In their sly little den.

Over in the meadow
     In the soft summer even,
Lived a mother fire-fly
     And her little flies, eleven;
"Shine!" said the mother,
     "We shine," said th' eleven,
So they shone like stars
     In the soft summer even.

Over in the meadow
     Where the men dig and delve,
Lived a wise mother ant,
     And her little anties, twelve;
"Toil!" said the mother,
     "We toil," said the twelve,
So they toiled and were wise,
     Where the men dig and delve.


13 The Prayer Perfect, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916

Dear Lord! kind Lord!
Gracious Lord! I pray
Thou wilt look on all I love,
Tenderly to-day!
Weed their hearts of weariness;
Scatter every care
Down a wake of angel-wings
Winnowing the air.

Bring unto the sorrowing
All release from pain;
Let the lips of laughter
Overflow again;
And with all the needy
O divide, I pray,
This vast treasure of content
That is mine to-day!


14 The Fairies, by Rose Fyleman, 1877-1957
      from The Rose Fyleman Fairy Book, 1923

The fairies have never a penny to spend,
      They haven't a thing put by,
But theirs is the dower of bird and flower
      And theirs is the earth and sky.
And though you should live in a palace of gold
      Or sleep in a dried up ditch,
You could never be as poor as the fairies are,
      And never as rich.

Since ever and ever the world began
      They danced like a ribbon of flame,
They have sung their song through the centuries long,
      And yet it is never the same.
And though you be foolish or though you be wise,
      With hair of silver or gold,
You can never be as young as the fairies are,
      And never as old.


15 Calico Pie, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888

      Calico pie,
      The little birds fly
Down to the calico-tree:
      Their wings were blue,
      And they sang "Tilly-loo!"
      Till away they flew;
And they never came back to me!
      They never came back,
      They never came back,
They never came back to me!

      Calico jam,
      The little Fish swam,
Over the Syllabub Sea,
      He took off his hat,
      To the Sole and the Sprat,
      And the Willeby-wat:
But he never came back to me;
      He never came back,
      He never came back,
He never came back to me.

      Calico ban,
      The little Mice ran,
To be ready in time for tea;
      Flippity flup,
      They drank it all up,
      And danced in the cup:
But they never came back to me;
      They never came back,
      They never came back,
They never came back to me.

      Calico drum,
      The Grasshoppers come,
The Butterfly, Beetle, and Bee,
      Over the ground,
      Around and round,
      With a hop and a bound;
But they never came back to me,
      They never came back,
      They never came back,
They never came back to me.


16 Weather, anonymous

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.


17 Try Again, by William Hickson, 1803-1870
      appeared in "Supplement to the Courant: Volume 6," pg 225, 1840

'Tis a lesson you should heed--
            Try again;
If at first you don't succeed,
            Try again.
Then your courage should appear;
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear,
            Try again.

Once or twice though you should fail,
If you would at last prevail,
            Try again.
If we strive, 'tis no disgrace
Though we did not win the race--
What should you do in that case?
            Try again.

If you find your task is hard.
            Try again;
Time will bring you your reward,
            Try again;
All that other folk can do,
Why with patience should not you?
Only keep this rule in view,
            Try again.


18 The Blind Men and the Elephant--A Hindu fable, by John Godfrey Saxe, 1816-1887

It was six men of Indostan
      To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
      (Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
      Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
      And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
      At once began to bawl:
'God bless me! but the Elephant
      Is very like a wall!'

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
      Cried, 'Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
      To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
      Is very like a spear!'

The Third approached the animal,
      And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
      Thus boldly up and spake:
'I see,' quoth he, '`the Elephant
      Is very like a snake.'

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
      And felt about the knee.
'What most this wondrous beast is like
      Is mighty plain,' quoth he;
'Tis clear enough the Elephant
      Is very like a tree!'

The Fifth who chanced to touch the ear,
      Said: 'E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most:
      Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
      Is very like a fan!'

The Sixth no sooner had begun
      About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
      That fell within his scope,
'I see,' quoth he, 'the Elephant
      Is very like a rope!'

And so these men of Indostan
      Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
      Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
      And all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars,
      The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
      Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
      Not one of them has seen!


19 Before the Rain, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 1836-1907

We knew it would rain, for all the morn
     A spirit on slender ropes of mist
Was lowering its golden buckets down
     Into the vapory amethyst.

Of marshes and swamps and dismal fens--
     Scooping the dew that lay in the flowers,
Dipping the jewels out of the sea,
     To sprinkle them over the land in showers.

We knew it would rain, for the poplars showed
     The white of their leaves, the amber grain
Shrunk in the wind--and the lightning now
     Is tangled in tremulous skeins of rain!


20 After the Rain, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 1836-1907

The rain has ceased, and in my room
     The sunshine pours an airy flood;
And on the church's dizzy vane
     The ancient cross is bathed in blood.

From out the dripping ivy leaves,
     Antiquely carven, gray and high,
A dormer, facing westward, looks
     Upon the village like an eye.

And now it glimmers in the sun,
     A globe of gold, a disk, a speck;
And in the belfry sits a dove
     With purple ripples on her neck.


May


01 May Day, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Flame and Shadow, 1920

A delicate fabric of bird song
      Floats in the air,
The smell of wet wild earth
      Is everywhere.

Red small leaves of the maple
      Are clenched like a hand,
Like girls at their first communion
      The pear trees stand.

Oh I must pass nothing by
      Without loving it much,
The raindrop try with my lips,
      The grass with my touch;

For how can I be sure
      I shall see again
The world on the first of May
      Shining after the rain?


02 Hark, Hark! the Lark from Cymbeline, by Shakespeare, 1564-1616

Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
      And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
      On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
      To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty is,
      My lady sweet, arise:
                        Arise, arise.


03 Baby Seed Song, by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924
     appeared in "New Outlook: Volume 59," pg 448, 1898

Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother,
      Are you awake in the dark?
Here we lie cosily, close to each other:
      Hark to the song of the lark--
"Waken!" the lark says, "waken and dress you;
      Put on your green coats and gay,
Blue sky will shine on you, sunshine caress you--
      Waken! 'tis morning 'tis May!"

Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother,
      What kind of a flower will you be?
I'll be a poppy--all white, like my mother;
      Do be a poppy like me.
What! You're a sunflower? How I shall miss you
      When you're grown golden and high!
But I shall send all the bees up to kiss you;
      Little brown brother, good-bye.


04 Afternoon on a Hill, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950
      from Renascence and Other Poems, 1917

I will be the gladdest thing
      Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
      And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
      With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
      And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
      Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
      And then start down!


05 Sometimes, by Rose Fyleman, 1877-1957
     from The Fairy Book, 1923

Some nights are magic nights,
      Before you go to bed,
You hear the darling music
      Go chiming in your head;
You look into the garden,
      And through the misty grey
You see the trees all waiting
      In a breathless kind of way.
All the stars are smiling;
      They know that very soon
The fairies will come singing
      From the land behind the moon.
If only you could keep awake
      When Nurse puts out the light . . .
Anything might happen
      On a truly magic night.


06 There is but one May in the year, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

There is but one May in the year,
And sometimes May is wet and cold;
There is but one May in the year
      Before the year grows old.

Yet though it be the chilliest May,
With least of sun and most of showers,
Its wind and dew, its night and day,
      Bring up the flowers.


07 Bird Song, by Laura E. Richards
      from The Home Book of Verse, ed. Burton Egbert Stevenson, vol 1, 1912

The robin sings of willow-buds,
Of snowflakes on the green;
The bluebird sings of Mayflowers,
The crackling leaves between;
The veery has a thousand tales
To tell to girl and boy;
But the oriole, the oriole,
      Sings, "Joy! joy! joy!"

The pewee calls his little mate,
Sweet Phoebe, gone astray,
The warbler sings,
"What fun, what fun,
To tilt upon the spray!"
The cuckoo has no song, but clucks,
Like any wooden toy;
But the oriole, the oriole,
      Sings, "Joy! joy! joy!"

The grosbeak sings the rose's birth,
And paints her on his breast;
The sparrow sings of speckled eggs,
Soft brooded in the nest.
The wood-thrush sings of peace, "Sweet peace,
Sweet peace," without alloy;
But the oriole, the oriole,
      Sings "Joy! joy! joy!"


08 What Is Pink? by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

What is pink? a rose is pink
By the fountain's brink.
What is red? a poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? the sky is blue
Where the clouds float through.
What is white? a swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? the grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? why, an orange,
Just an orange!


09 The Fairies, by William Allingham, 1824-1889

Up the airy mountain
     Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting,
     For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
     Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
     And white owl's feather!

Down along the rocky shore
     Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
     Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
     Of the black mountain-lake
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
     All night awake.

High on the hill-top
     The old king sits;
He is now so old and gray
     He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
     Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
     From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music,
     On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen,
     Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
     For seven years long;
When she came down again
     Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
     Between the night and morrow,
They thought she was fast asleep,
     But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
     Deep within the lakes,
On a bed of flag leaves,
     Watching till she wakes.

By the craggy hill-side,
     Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
     For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
     As dig one up in spite?
He shall find the thornies set
     In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain
     Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting,
     For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
     Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
     And white owl's feather.


10 The Swing, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

How do you like to go up in a swing,
     Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
     Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
     Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
     Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
     Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
     Up in the air and down!


11 The Jumblies, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter's morn, on a stormy day,
In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, 'You'll all be drowned!'
They called aloud, 'Our Sieve ain't big,
But we don't care a button! we don't care a fig!
In a Sieve we'll go to sea!'
  Far and few, far and few,
       Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
  Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
       And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
'O won't they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it's extremely wrong
In a Sieve to sail so fast!'
  Far and few, far and few,
       Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
  Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
       And they went to sea in a Sieve.

The water it soon came in, it did,
The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, 'How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!'
  Far and few, far and few,
       Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
  Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
       And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And all night long they sailed away;
And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
In the shade of the mountains brown.
'O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a Sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
In the shade of the mountains brown!'
  Far and few, far and few,
       Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
  Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
       And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of Stilton Cheese.
  Far and few, far and few,
       Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
  Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
       And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And in twenty years they all came back,
In twenty years or more,
And every one said, 'How tall they've grown!
For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the hills of the Chankly Bore!'
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, 'If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,---
To the hills of the Chankly Bore!'
  Far and few, far and few,
       Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
  Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
       And they went to sea in a Sieve.


12 Jemima, anonymous; sometimes attributed to Longfellow;
      authorship has been disputed since at least the 1880's

There was a little girl, and she had a little curl,
      Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good, she was very very good,
      But when she was bad she was horrid.

One day she went upstairs while her parents, unawares,
      In the kitchen down below were at their meals,
And she stood upon her head, on her little trundle bed,
      And she then began hurraying with her heels.

Her mother heard the noise, And thought it was the boys,
      A-playing at a combat in the attic,
But when she climbed the stair and saw Jemima there,
      She took her and did spank her most emphatic!


13 The Duck and the Kangaroo, by Edward Lear, 1812-1888

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
'Good gracious! How you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!'
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

'Please give me a ride on your back!'
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
'I would sit quite still, and say nothing but "quack,"
The whole of the long day through!
And we'd go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land and over the sea;
Please take me a ride! O do!'
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
'This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you'll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!' said the Kangaroo.

Said the Duck, 'As I sat on the rocks,
I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
Which fit my web feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I've bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I'll smoke,
All to follow my own dear true
Love of a Kangaroo?'

Said the Kangaroo, 'I'm ready!
All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
And quite at the end of my tail!'
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
And who so happy, O who,
As the Duck and the Kangaroo?


14 Sea Fever, by John Masefield, 1878-1967
      from Salt-Water Ballads, 1902

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


15 Daybreak, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882

A wind came up out of the sea,
And said, "O mists, make room for me."

It hailed the ships and cried, "Sail on,
Ye mariners, the night is gone."

And hurried landward far away
Crying "Awake! it is the day."

It said unto the forest, "Shout!
Hang all your leafy banners out!"

It touched the wood-bird's folded wing,
And said, "O bird, awake and sing."

And o'er the farms, "O chanticleer,
Your clarion blow; the day is near."

It whispered to the fields of corn,
"Bow down, and hail the coming morn."

It shouted through the belfry-tower,
"Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour."

It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,
And said, "Not yet! In quiet lie."


16 My Pretty Rose Tree, by William Blake, 1757-1827

A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said, 'I've a pretty rose tree,'
And I passed the sweet flower o'er.

Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.


17 The Shepherd, by William Blake, 1757-1827

How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot!
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

For he hears the lamb's innocent call,
And he hears the ewe's tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their shepherd is nigh.


18 The Frog, by Hillaire Belloc, 1870-1953
      from The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, 1896

Be kind and tender to the Frog,
      And do not call him names,
As "Slimy skin," or "Polly-wog,"
      Or likewise "Ugly James,"
Or "Gap-a-grin," or "Toad-gone-wrong,"
      Or "Bill Bandy-knees":
The Frog is justly sensitive
      To epithets like these.

No animal will more repay
      A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
      Who keep a frog (and, by the way,
      They are extremely rare).


19 Temper, by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
      from A Boy Scout's Patrol Song, 1913

Look out when your temper goes
     At the end of a losing game;
When your boots are too tight for your toes;
     And you answer and argue and blame.


20 A Cradle Song, by Thomas Dekker, 1570-1632

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise.
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby:
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

Care is heavy, therefore sleep you;
You are care, and care must keep you.
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby:
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.


June


01 The Fountain, by James Russell Lowell, 1819-1891

Into the sunshine,
      Full of the light,
Leaping and flashing
      From morn till night!
Into the moonlight,
      Whiter than snow,
Waving so flower-like
      When the winds blow!
Into the starlight,
      Rushing in spray,
Happy at midnight,
      Happy by day!
Ever in motion,
      Blithesome and cheery.
Still climbing heavenward,
      Never aweary;--
Glad of all weathers,
      Still seeming best,
Upward or downward,
      Motion thy rest;--
Full of a nature
      Nothing can tame,
Changed every moment,
      Ever the same;--
Ceaseless aspiring,
      Ceaseless content,
Darkness or sunshine
      Thy element;--
Glorious fountain!
      Let my heart be
Fresh, changeful, constant,
      Upward, like thee!


02 The Old Bridge, by Hilda Conkling, 1910-1986
      from Poems By a Little Girl, 1920

The old bridge has a wrinkled face.
He bends his back
For us to go over.
He moans and weeps
But we do not hear.
Sorrow stands in his face
For the heavy weight and worry
Of people passing.
The trees drop their leaves into the water;
The sky nods to him.
The leaves float down like small ships
On the blue surface
Which is the sky.
He is not always sad:
He smiles to see the ships go down
And the little children
Playing on the river banks.


03 Maker of Heaven and Earth, by Cecil Frances Alexander, 1818-1895

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;--

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


04 The Sea Gypsy, by Richard Hovey, 1864-1900

I am fevered with the sunset,
I am fretful with the bay,
For the wander-thirst is on me
And my soul is in Cathay.

There's a schooner in the offing,
With her topsails shot with fire,
And my heart has gone aboard her
For the Islands of Desire.

I must forth again to-morrow!
With the sunset I must be
Hull down on the trail of rapture
In the wonder of the sea.


05 The Fly, by William Blake, 1757-1827

Little Fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance,
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly.
If I live,
Or if I die.


06 I Meant To Do My Work Today, by Richard Le Gallienne 1866-1947
      appeared in The Melody of Earth, 1918

I meant to do my work to-day
     But a brown bird sang in the apple-tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
     And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
     Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand
     So what could I do but laugh and go?


07 The city mouse lives in a house, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

The city mouse lives in a house;--
The garden mouse lives in a bower,
He's friendly with the frogs and toads,
And sees the pretty plants in flower.

The city mouse eats bread and cheese;--
The garden mouse eats what he can;
We will not grudge him seeds and stalks,
Poor little timid furry man.


08 Trees, by Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree,

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
and lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.


09 Tit for Tat, by Christopher Morley
      from Chimneysmoke, 1921

I often pass a gracious tree
      Whose name I can't identify,
But still I bow, in courtesy
      It waves a bough, in kind reply.

I do not know your name, O tree
      (Are you a hemlock or a pine?)
But why should that embarrass me?
      Quite probably you don't know mine.


10 Pippa's Song, by Robert Browning, 1812-1889

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearl'd;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven--
All's right with the world!


11 The Rabbit, by Elizabeth Madox Roberts, 1881-1941
      from Under The Tree, 1922

When they said the time to hide was mine,
I hid back under a thick grape vine.

And while I was still for the time to pass,
A litle gray thing came out of the grass.

He hopped his way through the melon bed
And sat down close by a cabbage head.

He sat down close where I could see,
And his big still eyes looked hard at me,

His big eyes bursting out of the rim,
And I looked back very hard at him.


12 Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Who has seen the wind?
      Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
      The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
      Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
      The wind is passing by.


13 The Tide Rises, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.


14 Woodman, Spare That Tree, by George Pope Morris, 1802-1864

Woodman, spare that tree!
      Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
      And I'll protect it now.
'Twas my forefather's hand
      That placed it near his cot;
There, woodman, let it stand,
      Thy axe shall harm it not!

That old familiar tree,
      Whose glory and renown
Are spread o'er land and sea,
      And wouldst thou hew it down?
Woodman, forbear thy stroke!
      Cut not its earth-bound ties;
O, spare that aged oak,
      Now towering to the skies!

When but an idle boy
      I sought its grateful shade;
In all their gushing joy
      Here, too, my sisters played.
My mother kissed me here;
      My father pressed my hand--
Forgive this foolish tear,
      But let that old oak stand!

My heart-strings round thee cling,
      Close as thy bark, old friend!
Here shall the wild-bird sing,
      And still thy branches bend.
Old tree! the storm still brave!
      And, woodman, leave the spot;
While I've a hand to save,
      Thy axe shall hurt it not.


15 The Owl, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892

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.


16 Nicholas Nye, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

Thistle and darnell and dock grew there,
      And a bush, in the corner, of may,
On the orchard wall I used to sprawl
      In the blazing heat of the day;
Half asleep and half awake,
      While the birds went twittering by,
And nobody there my lone to share
      But Nicholas Nye.

Nicholas Nye was lean and gray,
      Lame of leg and old,
More than a score of donkey's years
      He had been since he was foaled;
He munched the thistles, purple and spiked,
      Would sometimes stoop and sigh,
And turn to his head, as if he said,
      "Poor Nicholas Nye!"

Alone with his shadow he'd drowse in the meadow,
      Lazily swinging his tail,
At break of day he used to bray,--
      Not much too hearty and hale;
But a wonderful gumption was under his skin,
      And a clean calm light in his eye,
And once in a while; he'd smile:--
      Would Nicholas Nye.

Seem to be smiling at me, he would,
      From his bush in the corner, of may,--
Bony and ownerless, widowed and worn,
      Knobble-kneed, lonely and gray;
And over the grass would seem to pass
      'Neath the deep dark blue of the sky,
Something much better than words between me
      And Nicholas Nye.

But dusk would come in the apple boughs,
      The green of the glow-worm shine,
The birds in nest would crouch to rest,
      And home I'd trudge to mine;
And there, in the moonlight, dark with dew,
      Asking not wherefore nor why,
Would brood like a ghost, and as still as a post,
      Old Nicholas Nye.


17 Dusk in June, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Rivers to the Sea, 1915

Evening, and all the birds
     In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
     For miles around.

The air is blue and sweet,
     The few first stars are white,
Oh let me like the birds
     Sing before night.


18 Evening, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

The cricket sang,
And set the sun,
And workmen finished, one by one,
     Their seam the day upon.

The low grass loaded with the dew,
The twilight stood as strangers do
With hat in hand, polite and new,
     To stay as if, or go.

A vastness, as a neighbor, came,
A wisdom without face or name,
A peace, as hemispheres at home,
     And so the night became.


19 The Way Through the Woods, by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
      from Rewards and Fairies, 1910

They shut the road through the woods
     Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
     And now you would never know
There was once a path through the woods
     Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
     And the thin anemonies.
Only the keeper sees
     That, where the ringdove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
     There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
     Of a summer evening late,
When the night air cools on the trout-ring'd pools
     Where the otter whistles his mate
(They fear not men in the woods
     Because they see so few),
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet
     And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
     Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
     As though they perfectly knew
     The old lost road through the woods . . .
But there is no road through the woods.


20 Good Night and Good Morning, by Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton, 1809-1885

A fair little girl sat under a tree,
Sewing as long as her eyes could see;
Then smoothed her work, and folded it right,
And said, "Dear work, good night! good night!"

Such a number of rooks came over her head,
Crying, "Caw! Caw!" on their way to bed;
She said, as she watched their curious flight,
"Little black things, good night! good night!"

The horses neighed, and the oxen lowed,
The sheep's "Bleat! bleat!" came over the road;
All seeming to say, with a quiet delight,
"Good little girl, good night! good night!"

She did not say to the sun, "Good night!"
Though she saw him there like a ball of light,
For she knew he had God's time to keep
All over the world, and never could sleep.

The tall pink foxglove bowed his head,
The violets curtsied and went to bed;
And good little Lucy tied up her hair,
And said on her knees her favourite prayer.

And while on her pillow she softly lay,
She knew nothing more till again it was day;
And all things said to the beautiful sun,
"Good morning! good morning! our work is begun!"


July


01 Summer Days, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

     Winter is cold-hearted;
     Spring is yea and nay;
Autumn is a weathercock;
          Blown every way:
     Summer days for me
When every leaf is on its tree,

     When Robin's not a beggar,
     And Jenny Wren's a bride,
And Larks hang, singing, singing, singing,
     Over the wheat-fields wide,
     And anchored lilies ride,
     And the pendulum spider,
     Swings from side to side;

And blue-black beetles transact business,
     And gnats fly in a host,
And furry caterpillars hasten
     That no time be lost,
     And moths grow fat and thrive,
     And ladybirds arrive.

     Before green apples blush,
     Before green nuts embrown,
     Why one day in the country
          Is worth a month in town;
Is worth a day and a year
Of the dusty, musty, lag-last fashion
     That days drone elsewhere.


02 The Nightingale, by William Cowper, 1731-1800

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.


03 My Garden by Thomas Edward Brown, 1830-1897

A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
            Rose plot,
            Fringed pool,
            Ferned grot--
            The veriest school
Of peace; and yet the fool
            Contends that God is not--
Not God! in gardens! when the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign;
'Tis very sure God walks in mine.


04 July, by Susan Hartley Swett (published in the 1880's)

When the scarlet cardinal tells
      Her dream to the dragonfly,
And the lazy breeze makes a nest in the trees,
      And murmurs a lullaby,
            It's July.

When the tangled cobweb pulls
      The cornflower's cap awry,
And the lilies tall lean over the wall
      To bow to the butterfly,
            It's July.

When the heat like a mist veil floats,
      And poppies flame in the rye,
And the silver note in the streamlet's throat
      Has softened almost to a sigh,
            It's July.

When the hours are so still that time
      Forgets them, and lets them lie
Underneath petals pink till the night stars wink
      At the sunset in the sky,
            It's July.


05 Hurt No Living Thing, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.


06 Ducks Ditty, by Kenneth Grahame, 1859-1932
      from The Wind in the Willows, 1908

All along the backwater,
      Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling.
            Up tails all!

Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,
      Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight
            Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
      Where the roaches swim
Here we keep our larder,
            Cool and full and dim.

Every one for what he likes!
      We like to be
Head down, tails up,
            Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
      Swifts whirl and call
We are down a-dabbling
            Up tails all!


07 The Elf and the Dormouse, by Oliver Herford, 1863-1935 (published in the 1800's)

Under a toadstool
      Crept a wee Elf,
Out of the rain
      To shelter himself.

Under the toadstool,
      Sound asleep,
Sat a big Dormouse
      All in a heap.

Trembled the wee Elf,
      Frightened, and yet
Fearing to fly away
      Lest he get wet.

To the next shelter--
      Maybe a mile!
Sudden the wee Elf
      Smiled a wee smile,

Tugged till the toadstool
      Toppled in two.
Holding it over him,
      Gaily he flew.

Soon he was safe home,
      Dry as could be.
Soon woke the Dormouse--
      "Good gracious me!

Where is my toadstool?"
      Loud he lamented.
--And that's how umbrellas
      First were invented.


08 The Brook, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
      I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
      To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
      Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
      And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip's farm I flow
      To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go
      But I go on forever.

I chatter over stony ways,
      In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
      I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret,
      By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
      With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter as I flow
      To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go
      But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,
      With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
      And here and there a grayling.

And here and there a foamy flake
      Upon me as I travel
With many a silver water-break
      Above the golden gravel.

And draw them all along, and flow
      To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go
      But I go on forever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
      I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
      That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
      Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
      Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
      In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
      I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
      To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go
      But I go on forever.


09 The Song of the Secret, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

Where is beauty?
     Gone, gone:
The cold winds have taken it
With their faint moan;
The white stars have shaken it,
Trembling down,
Into the pathless deeps of the sea.
     Gone, gone
Is beauty from me.

The clear naked flower
Is faded and dead;
The green-leafed willow,
Drooping her head,
Whispers low to the shade
Of her boughs in the stream,
     Sighing a beauty,
     Secret as dream.


10 Seal Lullaby, by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
      from The Jungle Book, 1894

Oh, hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green,
The moon o'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.


11 Anger, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

Anger in its time and place
May assume a kind of grace.
It must have some reason in it,
And not last beyond a minute.
If to further lengths it go,
It does into malice grow.
'Tis the difference that we see
'Twixt the serpent and the bee.
If the latter you provoke,
It inflicts a hasty stroke,
Puts you to some little pain,
But it never stings again.
Close in tufted bush or brake
Lurks the poison-swell'ed snake
Nursing up his cherished wrath;
In the purlieux of his path,
In the cold, or in the warm,
Mean him good, or mean him harm,
Whensoever fate may bring you,
The vile snake will always sting you.


12 The Use of Flowers, by Mary Howitt, 1799-1888

God might have bade the earth bring forth
Enough for great and small,
The oak tree, and the cedar tree,
Without a flower at all.

He might have made enough, enough,
For every want of ours;
For luxury, medicine, and toil,
And yet have made no flowers.

The ore within the mountain mine
Requireth none to grow,
Nor doth it need the lotus flower
To make the river flow.

The clouds might give abundant rain,
The nightly dews might fall,
And the herb that keepeth life in man
Might yet have drunk them all.

Then wherefore, wherefore were they made
All dyed with rainbow light,
All fashioned with supremest grace,
Upspringing day and night--

Springing in valleys green and low,
And on the mountains high,
And in the silent wilderness,
Where no man passeth by?

Our outward life requires them not,
Then wherefore had they birth?
To minister delight to man,
To beautify the earth;

To whisper hope--to comfort man
Whene'er his faith is dim;
For whoso careth for the flowers
Will care much more for Him!


13 He Prayeth Well, Who Loveth Well, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834

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.


14 The Wind in a Frolic, by William Howitt, 1792-1879

The wind one morning sprang up from sleep,
Saying, "Now for a frolic! now for a leap!
Now for a madcap galloping chase!
I'll make a commotion in every place!"
So it swept with a bustle right through a great town,
Cracking the signs and scattering down
Shutters; and whisking, with merciless squalls,
Old women's bonnets and gingerbread stalls.
There never was heard a lustier shout,
As the apples and oranges trundled about;
And the urchins that stand with their thievish eyes
Forever on watch, ran off each with a prize.

Then away to the field it went, blustering and humming,
And the cattle all wondered whatever was coming;
And tossed the colts' manes all over their brows;
It plucked by the tails the grave matronly cows,
Till, offended at such an unusual salute,
They all turned their backs, and stood sulky and mute.

So on it went capering and playing its pranks,
Whistling with reeds on the broad river's banks,
Puffing the birds as they sat on the spray,
Or the traveler grave on the king's highway.
It was not too nice to hustle the bags
Of the beggar, and flutter his dirty rags;
'Twas so bold that it feared not to play its joke
With the doctor's wig or the gentleman's cloak.

Through the forest it roared, and cried gaily, "Now,
You sturdy old oaks, I'll make you bow!"
And it made them bow without more ado,
Or it cracked their great branches through and through.

Then it rushed like a monster on cottage and farm,
Striking their dwellers with sudden alarm;
And they ran out like bees in a midsummer swarm;--
There were dames with their kerchiefs tied over their caps,
To see if their poultry were free from mishaps;
The turkeys they gobbled, the geese screamed aloud,
And the hens crept to roost in a terrified crowd;
There was rearing of ladders, and logs laying on,
Where the thatch from the roof threatened soon to be gone.

But the wind had swept on, and had met in a lane
With a schoolboy, who panted and struggled in vain;
For it tossed him and twirled him, then passed, and he stood
With his hat in a pool and his shoes in the mud.

There was a poor man, hoary and old,
Cutting the heath in the open wold;
The strokes of his bill were faint and few
Ere this frolicsome wind upon him blew,
But behind him, before him, about him it came,
And the breath seemed gone from his feeble frame;
So he sat him down, with a muttering tone,
Saying, "Plague on the wind! was the like ever known?"
But nowadays every wind that blows
Tells me how weak an old man grows."

But away went the wind in its holiday glee,
And now it was far on the billowy sea,
And the lordly ship felt its staggering blow,
And the little boats darted to and fro.
But lo! it was night, and it sank to rest
On the sea-bird's rock in the gleaming west,
Laughing to think, in its fearful fun,
How little of mischief it really had done.


August


01 At the Sea-side, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
     To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
     Till it could come no more.


02 A bird came down the walk, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

A bird came down the walk:
      He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
      And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
      From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
      To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
      That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
      He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
      I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
      And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
      Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
      Leap, splashless, as they swim.


03 Sea-shell, by Amy Lowell, 1874-1925
      from A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, 1912

Sea-shell, Sea-shell,
Sing me a song, oh! Please!
A song of ships, and sailormen,
And parrots, and tropical trees;
Of islands lost in the Spanish Main,
Which no man ever may find again,
Of fishes and corals under the waves,
And seahorses stabled in great green caves.
Oh, Sea-shell, Sea-shell,
Sing of the things you know so well.


04 The Little Turtle, by Vachel Lindsay, 1879-1931
      from The Golden Whales of California, 1923

There was a little turtle.
      He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
      He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
      He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
      And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
      He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
      But he didn't catch me.


05 Laughing Song, by William Blake, 1757-1827

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing 'Ha ha he!'

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of 'Ha ha he!'


06 Five Little Chickens, a traditional English rhyme

Said the first little chicken,
With a strange little squirm,
"I wish I could find
A fat little worm."

Said the second little chicken,
With an odd little shrug,
"I wish I could find
A fat little bug."

Said the third little chicken,
With a sharp little squeal,
"I wish I could find
Some nice yellow meal."

Said the fourth little chicken,
With a sigh of grief,
"I wish I could find
A little green leaf."

Said the fifth little chicken,
With a faint little moan,
"I wish I could find
A wee gravel stone."

"Now see here," said the mother,
From the green garden patch,
"If you want any breakfast,
Just come here and SCRATCH!"


07 Seven Times One, by Jean Ingelow, 1820-1897

There's no dew left on the daisies and clover,
There's no rain left in heaven:
I've said my "seven times" over and over,
Seven times one are seven.

I am old, so old, I can write a letter,
My birthday lessons are done,
The lambs play always, they know no better,
They are only one times one.

O moon! in the night I have seen you sailing
And shining so round and low,
You were bright! ah, bright! but your light is failing--
You are nothing now but a bow.

You moon, have you done something wrong in heaven
That God has hidden your face?
I hope if you have you will soon be forgiven,
And shine again in your place.

O velvet bee, you're a dusty fellow,
You've powdered your legs with gold!
O brave marsh marybuds, rich and yellow,
Give me your money to hold!

O columbine, open your folded wrapper,
Where two twin turtledoves dwell!
O cuckoo-pint, toll me the purple clapper
That hangs in your clear, green bell!

And show me your nest with the young ones in it,
I will not steal them away,
I am old! You may trust me, linnet, linnet--
I am seven times one today.


08 If No One Ever Marries Me, by Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1836-1912

If no one ever marries me--
And I don't see why they should,
For nurse says I'm not very pretty,
And I'm seldom very good--

If no one ever marries me
I shan't mind very much,
I shall buy a squirrel in a cage
And a little rabbit hutch;

I shall have a cottage near a wood,
And a pony all my own
And a little lamb, quite clean and tame,
That I can take to town.

And when I'm getting really old--
At twenty-eight or nine--
I shall buy a little orphan girl
And bring her up as mine.


09 The Little Elf, by John Kendrick Bangs, 1862-1922

I met a little Elf-man, once,
Down where the lilies blow.
I asked him why he was so small,
And why he didn't grow.
He slightly frowned, and with his eye
He looked me through and through.
"I'm quite as big for me," said he,
"As you are big for you."


10 God Moves in Mysterious Ways, By William Cowper, 1731-1800

God moves in a mysterious way
      His wonders to perform
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
      And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
      Of never failing skill
He treasures up his bright designs,
      And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
      The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
      In blessing on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
      But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
      He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
      Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
      But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
      And scan His work in vain:
God is His own interpreter
      And he will make it plain.


11 Hopping frog, hop here and be seen, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Hopping frog, hop here and be seen,
I'll not pelt you with stick or stone:
Your cap is laced and your coat is green;
Good bye, we'll let each other alone.

Plodding toad, plod here and be looked at,
You the finger of scorn is crooked at:
But though you're lumpish, you're harmless too;
You won't hurt me, and I won't hurt you.


12 The Little Green Orchard, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

Some one is always sitting there,
     In the little green orchard;
Even when the sun is high
In noon's unclouded sky,
And faintly droning goes
The bee from rose to rose,
Some one in shadow is sitting there
     In the little green orchard.

Yes, when the twilight's falling softly
     In the little green orchard;
When the grey dew distills
And every flower-cup fills;
When the last blackbird says,
'What--what!' and goes her way--ssh!
I have heard voices calling softly
     In the little green orchard.

Not that I am afraid of being there,
     In the little green orchard;
Why, when the moon's been bright,
Shedding her lonesome light,
And moths like ghosties come,
And the horned snail leaves home:
I've sat there, whispering and listening there,
     In the little green orchard.

Only it's strange to be feeling there,
     In the little green orchard;
Whether you paint or draw,
Dig, hammer, chop or saw;
When you are most alone,
All but the silence gone
Some one is watching and waiting there,
     In the little green orchard.


13 from Let Dogs Delight to Bark and Bite, by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

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.


14 Choosing A Name, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

I have got a new-born sister;
I was nigh the first that kissed her.
When the nursing woman brought her
To papa, his infant daughter,
How papa's dear eyes did glisten!--
She will shortly be to christen:
And papa has made the offer,
I shall have the naming of her.

Now I wonder what would please her,
Charlotte, Julia, or Louisa.
Ann and Mary, they're too common;
Joan's too formal for a woman;
Jane's a prettier name beside;
But we had a Jane that died.
They would say, if 'twas Rebecca,
That she was a little Quaker.
Edith's pretty, but that looks
Better in old English books;
Ellen's left off long ago;
Blanche is out of fashion now.

None that I have named as yet
Are so good as Margaret.
Emily is neat and fine.
What do you think of Caroline?
How I'm puzzled and perplext
What to choose or think of next!
I am in a little fever.
Lest the name that I shall give her
Should disgrace her or defame her,
I will leave papa to name her.


15 Nod, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from The Listeners and Other Poems, 1912

Softly along the road of evening,
      In a twilight dim with rose,
Wrinkled with age, and drenched with dew,
      Old Nod the shepherd goes.

His drowsy flock streams on before him,
      Their fleeces charged with gold,
To where the sun's last beam leans low
      On Nod the shepherds fold.

The hedge is quick and green with brier,
      From their sand the conies creep;
And all the birds that fly in heaven
      Flock singing home to sleep.

His lambs outnumber a noon's roses,
      Yet, when night shadows fall,
His blind old sheep-dog, Slumber-soon,
      Misses not one of all.

His are the quiet steps of dreamland,
      The waters of no more pain,
His ram's bell rings 'neath an arch of stars,
      "Rest, Rest, and rest again."


September


01 September, by Helen Hunt Jackson, 1830-1885

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'Tis a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.


02 Robin Redbreast, by William Allingham, 1824-1889

Good-bye, good-bye to Summer!
For Summer's nearly done;
The garden smiling faintly,
Cool breezes in the sun;
Our Thrushes now are silent,
Our Swallows flown away,--
But Robin's here, in coat of brown,
With ruddy breast-knot gay.
Robin, Robin Redbreast,
      O Robin dear!
Robin singing sweetly
In the falling of the year.

Bright yellow, red, and orange,
The leaves come down in hosts;
The trees are Indian Princes,
But soon they'll turn to Ghosts;
The scanty pears and apples
Hang russet on the bough,
It's Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late,
'Twill soon be Winter now.
Robin, Robin Redbreast,
      O Robin dear!
And welaway! my Robin,
For pinching times are near.

The fireside for the Cricket,
The wheatstack for the Mouse,
When trembling night-winds whistle
And moan all round the house;
The frosty ways like iron,
The branches plumed with snow,--
Alas! in Winter, dead and dark,
Where can poor Robin go?
Robin, Robin Redbreast,
      O Robin dear!
And a crumb of bread for Robin,
His little heart to cheer.


03 Smells, by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957
      from Chimneysmoke, 1923

Why is it that the poet tells
So little of the sense of smell?
These are the odors I love well:

The smell of coffee freshly ground;
Or rich plum pudding, holly crowned;
Or onions fried and deeply browned.

The fragrance of a fumy pipe;
The smell of apples, newly ripe;
And printer's ink on leaden type.

Woods by moonlight in September
Breathe most sweet, and I remember
Many a smoky camp-fire ember.

Camphor, turpentine, and tea,
The balsam of a Christmas tree,
These are whiffs of gramarye. . .
A ship smells best of all to me!


04 Little Things, by Julia Fletcher Carney, 1823-1908

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

So the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.

So our little errors
Lead the soul away
From the path of virtue,
Far in sin to stray.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Help to make earth happy
Like the heaven above.


05 The Duel, by Eugene Field, 1850-1895

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 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 was n'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!
(Never 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.)


06 The Frog and the Centipede, anonymous

A centipede was happy quite,
Until a frog in fun said:
"Pray tell which leg comes after which?"
This raised her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch,
Considering how to run.


07 Wynken, Blynken and Nod, by Eugene Field, 1850-1895

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 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 in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
    Wynken,
         Blynken,
               And Nod.


08 Diamond's Song, by George MacDonald, 1824-1905

What would you see if I took you up
      To my little nest in the air?
You would see the sky like a clear blue cup
      Turned upside downwards there.

What would you do if I took you there
      To my little nest in the tree?
My child with cries would trouble the air,
      To get what she could but see.

What would you get in the top of the tree
      For all your crying and grief?
Not a star would you clutch of all you see--
      You could only gather a leaf.

But when you had lost your greedy grief,
      Content to see from afar,
You would find in your hand a withering leaf,
      In your heart a shining star.


09 Fly away, fly away over the sea, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Fly away, fly away over the sea,
Sun-loving swallow, for summer is done;
Come again, come again, come back to me,
Bringing the summer and bringing the sun.


10 Abou Ben Adhem, by Leigh Hunt, 1784-1859

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:--
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"--The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.


11 Dream Song, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Collected Poems, Vol II, "Songs," 1920

     Sunlight, moonlight,
     Twilight, starlight--
Gloaming at the close of day,
     And an owl calling,
     Cool dews falling
In a wood of oak and may.

     Lantern-light, taper-light,
     Torchlight, no-light:
Darkness at the shut of day,
     And lions roaring,
     Their wrath pouring
In wild waste places far away.

     Elf-light, bat-light,
     Touchwood-light and toad-light,
And the sea a shimmering gloom of grey,
     And a small face smiling
     In a dream's beguiling
In a world of wonders far away.


12 A Ballad of Two Knights, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911

Two knights rode forth at early dawn
      A-seeking maids to wed,
Said one, "My lady must be fair,
      With gold hair on her head."

Then spake the other knight-at-arms:
      "I care not for her face,
But she I love must be a dove
      For purity and grace."


13 Autumn, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

The morns are meeker than they were,
      The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
      The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
      The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
      I'll put a trinket on.


14 The Kitten and The Falling Leaves, by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850

See the kitten on the wall, sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves--one--two--and three, from the lofty elder-tree!
Through the calm and frosty air, of this morning bright and fair . . .
--But the kitten, how she starts; Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts!

First at one, and then its fellow, just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now--now one--now they stop and there are none;
What intenseness of desire, in her upward eye of fire!

With a tiger-leap half way, now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then, has it in her power again:
Now she works with three or four, like an Indian Conjuror;
Quick as he in feats of art, far beyond in joy of heart.


15 Answer To A Child's Question, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834

Do you ask what the birds say? The sparrow, the dove,
The linnet, and thrush say, "I love, and I love!"
In the winter they're silent, the wind is so strong;
What it says I don't know, but it sings a loud song.

But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing and loving--all come back together.
But the lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings, and forever sings he,
"I love my love, and my love loves me."


16 A Child's Prayer, by Margaret Betham-Edwards, 1836-1919

God, make my life a little light
      Within the world to glow;
A little flame that burneth bright
      Wherever I may go.

God, make my life a little flower
      That giveth joy to all,
Content to bloom in native bower,
      Although the place be small.

God, make my life a little song
      That comforteth the sad,
That helpeth others to be strong
      And makes the singer glad.

God, make my life a little staff
      Whereon the weak may rest,
And so what health and strength I have
      May serve my neighbors best.

God, make my life a little hymn
      Of tenderness and praise;
Of faith, that never waxeth dim,
      In all His wonderous ways.


17 Crumbs To The Birds, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

A bird appears a thoughtless thing,
He's ever living on the wing,
And keeps up such a carolling,
That little else to do but sing
A man would guess had he.

No doubt he has his little cares,
And very hard he often fares,
The which so patiently he bears,
That, listening to those cheerful airs,
Who knows but he may be

In want of his next meal of seeds?
I think for that his sweet song pleads.
If so, his pretty art succeeds.
I'll scatter there among the weeds
All the small crumbs I see.


18 At The Zoo, by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811-1868

First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black;
Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;
Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;
Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;
Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk;
Then I saw the monkeys--mercy, how unpleasantly they smelt!


19 A Baby Sermon, by George MacDonald, 1824-1905

The lightning and thunder
      They go and come;
But the stars and the stillness
      Are always at home.


20 The Canary, by Elizabeth Turner, 1775-1846

Mary had a little bird,
With feathers bright and yellow,
Slender legs--upon my word,
He was a pretty fellow!

Sweetest notes he always sung,
Which much delighted Mary;
Often where his cage was hung,
She sat to hear Canary.

Crumbs of bread and dainty seeds
She carried to him daily,
Seeking for the early weeds,
She decked his palace gaily.

This, my little readers, learn,
And ever practice duly;
Songs and smiles of love return
To friends who love you truly.


October


01 October's Party, by George Cooper, 1840-1927
      included in "School Record: Volume 6, Issue 2," 1897

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came--
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."


02 Hunter's Song, by Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

The toils are pitched, and the stakes are set,
      Ever sing merrily, merrily;
The bows they bend, and the knives they whet,
      Hunters live so cheerily.

It was a stag, a stag of ten,
      Bearing its branches sturdily;
He came silently down the glen,
      Ever sing hardily, hardily.

It was there he met with a wounded doe,
      She was bleeding deathfully;
She warned him of the toils below,
      O so faithfully, faithfully!

He had an eye, and he could heed,
      Ever sing so warily, warily;
He had a foot, and he could speed--
      Hunters watch so narrowly.


03 The Cricket and the Ant, adapted from Aesop, author unknown

A silly young cricket accustomed to sing
Through the warm sunny months of gay summer and spring,
Began to complain, when he found that at home
His cupboard was empty,
and winter was come.

Not a crumb to be found
On the snow-covered ground;
Not a flower could he see,
Not a leaf on the tree;
"Oh, what will become," says the cricket, "of me?"

At last, by starvation and famine made bold,
All dripping with wet, and all trembling with cold,
Away he set off to a miserly ant,
To see if, to keep him alive, he would grant
him shelter from rain,
And a mouthful of grain.
He wished only to borrow,
He'd repay it to-morrow:
If not, he must die of starvation and sorrow.

Says the ant to the cricket, "I'm your servant and friend,
But we ants never borrow; we ants never lend.
But tell me, dear cricket, did you lay nothing by
When the weather was warm?" Quoth the cricket, "Not I!
My heart was so light
That I sang day and night,
For all nature looked gay."
"You sang, sir, you say?
Go, then," says the ant, "and dance winter away!"

Thus ending, he hastily lifted the wicket,
And out of the door turned the poor little cricket.
Folks call this a fable. I'll warrant it true:
Some crickets have four legs, and some have but two.


04 The City of Falling Leaves, by Amy Lowell, 1874-1925
      from Men, Women and Ghosts, 1916

Leaves fall,
Brown leaves,
Yellow leaves streaked with brown.
They fall,
Flutter,
Fall again.
The brown leaves,
And the streaked yellow leaves,
Loosen on their branches
And drift slowly downwards.
One,
One, two, three,
One, two, five.
All Venice is a falling of Autumn leaves--
Brown,
And yellow streaked with brown.


05 Lucy Gray, by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850

Oft had I heard of Lucy Gray,
And when I crossed the Wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary Child.

No Mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wide Moor,
The sweetest Thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!

You yet may spy the Fawn at play,
The Hare upon the Green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.

'To-night will be a stormy night,
You to the Town must go,
And take a lantern, Child, to light
Your Mother thro' the snow.'

'That, Father! will I gladly do;
'Tis scarcely afternoon--
The Minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the Moon.'

At this the Father raised his hook
And snapped a faggot-band;
He plied his work, and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.

Not blither is the mountain roe,
With many a wanton stroke
Her feet disperse the powd'ry snow
That rises up like smoke.

The storm came on before its time,
She wandered up and down,
And many a hill did Lucy climb
But never reached the Town.

The wretched Parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide;
But there was neither sound nor sight
To serve them for a guide.

At day-break on a hill they stood
That overlooked the Moor;
And thence they saw the Bridge of Wood
A furlong from their door.

And now they homeward turned, and cried
'In Heaven we all shall meet!'
When in the snow the Mother spied
The print of Lucy's feet.

Then downward from the steep hill's edge
They tracked the footmarks small;
And through the broken hawthorn-hedge,
And by the long stone-wall;

And then an open field they crossed,
The marks were still the same;
They tracked them on, nor ever lost,
And to the Bridge they came.

They followed from the snowy bank
The footmarks, one by one,
Into the middle of the plank,
And further there were none.

Yet some maintain that to this day
She is a living Child,
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
Upon the lonesome Wild.

O'er rough and smooth she trips along,
And never looks behind;
And sings a solitary song
That whistles in the wind.


06 God's World, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950
      from Renascence and Other Poems, 1917

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year.
My soul is all but out of me, let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.


07 The Pin, by Ann Taylor, 1782-1866

"Dear me! what signifies a pin!
I'll leave it on the floor;
My pincushion has others in,
Mamma has plenty more:
     A miser will I never be,"
     Said little heedless Emily.

So tripping on to giddy play,
She left the pin behind,
For Betty's broom to whisk away,
Or some one else to find;
     She never gave a thought, indeed,
     To what she might to-morrow need.

Next day a party was to ride,
To see an air-balloon!
And all the company beside
Were dress'd and ready soon:
     But she, poor girl, she could not stir,
     For just a pin to finish her.

'Twas vainly now, with eye and hand,
She did to search begin;
There was not one--not one, the band
Of her pelisse to pin!
     She cut her pincushion in two,
     But not a pin had slidden through!

At last, as hunting on the floor,
Over a crack she lay,
The carriage rattled to the door,
Then rattled fast away.
     Poor Emily! she was not in,
     For want of just--a single pin!

There's hardly anything so small,
So trifling or so mean,
That we may never want at all,
For service unforseen:
     And those who venture wilful waste,
     May woeful want expect to taste.


08 Lullaby of an Indian Chief, by Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

O hush thee, my baby, thy sire was a knight,
Thy mother a lady, both lovely and bright;
The woods and the glens, from the towers which we see,
They all are belonging, dear baby, to thee.
            O ho ro, i ri ri, cadul gu lo,
            O ho ro, i ri ri, cadul gu lo.

O fear not the bugle, though loudly it blows,
It calls but the warders that guard thy repose;
Their bows would be bended, their blades would be red,
Ere the step of a foeman drew near to thy bed.
            O ho ro, i ri ri, cadul gu lo,
            O ho ro, i ri ri, cadul gu lo.

O hush thee, my baby, the time soon will come
When thy sleep shall be broken by trumpet and drum;
Then hush thee, my darling, take rest while you may,
For strife comes with manhood, and waking with day.
            O ho ro, i ri ri, cadul gu lo,
            O ho ro, i ri ri, cadul gu lo.


09 Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

In the other gardens
     And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
     See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
     And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
     The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
     Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
     Fires in the fall!


10 The Wind and the Moon, by George Macdonald, 1824-1905

Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out.
           You stare
           In the air
       Like a ghost in a chair,
Always looking what I am about;
I hate to be watched--I'll blow you out."

The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon.
           So deep,
           On a heap
       Of clouds, to sleep,
Down lay the Wind, and slumbered soon--
Muttering low, "I've done for that Moon."

He turned in his bed; she was there again!
           On high
           In the sky
       With her one ghost eye,
The Moon shone white and alive and plain.
Said the Wind--"I will blow you out again."

The Wind blew hard, and the Moon grew dim.
            "With my sledge
           And my wedge
       I have knocked off her edge!
If only I blow right fierce and grim,
The creature will soon be dimmer than dim."

He blew and he blew, and she thinned to a thread.
           "One puff
            More's enough
       To blow her to snuff!
One good puff more where the last was bred,
And glimmer, glimmer, glum will go the thread!"

He blew a great blast, and the thread was gone;
           In the air
            Nowhere
       Was a moonbeam bare;
Far off and harmless the shy stars shone;
Sure and certain the Moon was gone.

The Wind, he took to his revels once more;
           On down
           In town,
       Like a merry-mad clown,
He leaped and hallooed with whistle and roar,
"What's that?" The glimmering thread once more!

He flew in a rage--he danced and blew;
           But in vain
           Was the pain
       Of his bursting brain;
For still the broader the Moon-scrap grew,
The broader he swelled his big cheeks and blew.

Slowly she grew--till she filled the night,
           And shone
           On her throne
       In the sky alone,
A matchless, wonderful, silvery light,
Radiant and lovely, the Queen of the night.

Said the Wind--"What a marvel of power am I!
           With my breath,
           Good faith!
       I blew her to death--
First blew her away right out of the sky--
Then blew her in; what strength have I!"

But the Moon, she knew nothing about the affair,
         For high
         In the sky,
      With her one white eye,
Motionless, miles above the air,
She had never heard the great Wind blare.


11 Fable, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel;
And the former called the latter "Little Prig."

Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together
To make up a year
And a sphere.

And I think it's no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.

I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ: all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut."


12 Playgrounds, by Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1836-1912

In summer I am very glad
We children are so small,
For we can see a thousand things
That men can't see at all.

They don't know much about the moss
And all the stones they pass:
They never lie and play among
The forests in the grass:

They walk about a long way off;
And, when we're at the sea,
Let father stoop as best he can
He can't find things like me.

But, when the snow is on the ground
And all the puddles freeze,
I wish that I were very tall,
High up above the trees.


13 When the Frost is on the Punkin, by James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawsack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover overhead!--
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin, and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!
I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angles wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me--
I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!


14 The Kind Moon, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911

I think the moon is very kind
     To take such trouble just for me.
He came along with me from home
     To keep me company.

He went as fast as I could run;
     I wonder how he crossed the sky?
I'm sure he hasn't legs and feet
     Or any wings to fly.

Yet here he is above their roof;
     Perhaps he thinks it isn't right
For me to go so far alone,
     Though mother said I might.


15 Envy, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

This rose-tree is not made to bear
The violet blue, nor lily fair,
          Nor the sweet mignonette:
And if this tree were discontent,
Or wished to change its natural bent,
          It all in vain would fret.

And should it fret, you would suppose
It ne'er had seen its own red rose,
          Nor after gentle shower
Had ever smelled its rose's scent,
Or it could ne'er be discontent
          With its own pretty flower.

Like such a blind and senseless tree
As I've imagined this to be,
          All envious persons are:
With care and culture all may find
Some pretty flower in their own mind,
          Some talent that is rare.


16 An Evening Hymn, by Thomas Ken, 1637-1711

All praise to thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light;
Keep me, O keep me, King of Kings,
Beneath thy own almighty wings.

Forgive me, Lord, for they dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done;
That with the world, myself, and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

O may my soul on Thee repose,
And may sweet sleep my eyelids close:
Sleep that may me more vigorous make
To serve my God when I awake.


17 The Rainbow, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Boats sail on the rivers,
     And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
     Are prettier than these.

There are bridges on the rivers,
     As pretty as you please;
But the bow that bridges heaven,
     And overtops the trees,
And builds a road from earth to sky,
     Is prettier far than these.


18 Trees, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852

The Oak is called the king of trees,
The Aspen quivers in the breeze,
The Poplar grows up straight and tall,
The Peach tree spreads along the wall,
The Sycamore gives pleasant shade,
The Willow droops in watery glade,
The Fir tree useful in timber gives,
The Beech amid the forest lives.


19 Young and Old, by Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875

When all the world is young lad,
     And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
     And every lass a queen;
Then heigh for boot and horse, lad,
     And round the world away;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
     And every dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,
     And all the trees are brown;
When all the sport is stale, lad,
     And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
     The spent and maimed among:
God grant you find one face there,
     You loved when all was young.


20 Wishing, by William Allingham, 1824-1889

Ring--ting! I wish I were a Primrose,
A bright yellow Primrose, blowing in the spring!
     The stooping bough above me,
          The wandering bee to love me,
     The fern and moss to creep across,
          And the Elm-tree for our king!

Nay,--stay! I wish I were an Elm-tree,
A great lofty Elm-tree, with green leaves gay!
     The winds would set them dancing,
     The sun and moonshine glance in,
     And birds would house among the boughs,
          And sweetly sing.

Oh,--no! I wish I were a Robin,--
A Robin, or a little Wren, everywhere to go,
     Through forest, field or garden,
     And ask no leave or pardon,
     Till winter comes with icy thumbs
          To ruffle up our wing!

Well,--tell! where should I fly to,
Where to sleep, in the dark wood or dell?
Before the day was over,
Home must come the rover,
For mother's kiss,--sweeter this
     Than any other thing.


November


01 November, by Alice Cary, 1820-1871

The leaves are fading and falling,
     The winds are rough and wild,
The birds have ceased their calling,
     But let me tell you, my child,

Though day by day, as it closes,
     Doth darker and colder grow,
The roots of the bright red roses
     Will keep alive in the snow.

And when the Winter is over,
     The boughs will get new leaves,
The quail come back to the clover,
     And the swallow back to the eaves.

The robin will wear on his bosom
     A vest that is bright and new,
And the loveliest way-side blossom
     Will shine with the sun and dew.

The leaves to-day are whirling,
     The brooks are dry and dumb,
But let me tell you, my darling,
     The Spring will be sure to come.

There must be rough, cold weather,
     And winds and rains so wild;
Not all good things together
     Come to us here, my child.

So, when some dear joy loses
     Its beauteous summer glow,
Think how the roots of the roses
     Are kept alive in the snow.


02 A Good Play, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

We built a ship upon the stairs
All made of the back-bedroom chairs,
And filled it full of sofa pillows
To go a-sailing on the billows.

We took a saw and several nails,
And water in the nursery pails;
And Tom said, "Let us also take
An apple and a slice of cake;"--
Which was enough for Tom and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.

We sailed along for days and days,
And had the very best of plays;
But Tom fell out and hurt his knee,
So there was no one left but me.


03 The Arrow and the Song, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882

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.


04 The Moon's the North Wind's Cooky, by Vachel Lindsay, 1879-1931
      from Congo and Other Poems, 1914

The Moon's the North Wind's cooky.
      He bites it, day by day,
Until there's but a rim of scraps
            That crumble all away.

The South Wind is a baker.
      He kneads clouds in his den,
And bakes a crisp new moon that . . . greedy
            North . . . Wind . . . eats . . . again!


05 The Sunshine, by Mary Howitt, 1799-1888

I love the sunshine everywhere--
     In wood and field, and glen;
I love it in the busy haunts
     Of town-imprisoned men.

I love it when it streameth in
     The humble cottage door,
And casts the chequered casement-shade
     Upon the red brick floor.

I love it where the children lie
     Deep in the clovery grass,
To watch among the twining roots
     The gold-green beetle pass.

How beautiful, where dragon-flies
     Are wondrous to behold,
With rainbow wings of gauzy pearl,
     And bodies blue and gold!

How beautiful on harvest-slopes
     To see the sunshine lie;
Or on the paler reaped fields
     Where yellow shocks stand high!

I love it, on the breezy sea,
     To glance on sail and oar,
While the great waves, like molten glass,
     Come leaping to the shore.

Oh! yes; I love the sunshine!
     Like kindness or like mirth,
Upon a human countenance
     Is sunshine on the earth!

Upon the earth; upon the sea;
     And through the crystal air,
On piled up clouds; the gracious sun;
     Is glorious everywhere.


06 In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, 1872-1918 (to read for Veterans Day, Nov 11)

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
          In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
          In Flanders fields.


07 The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898

The sun was shining on the sea,
     Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
     The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
     The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
     Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
     After the day was done--
'It's very rude of him.' she said,
     'To come and spoil the fun!'

The sea was wet as wet could be,
     The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
     No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
     There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
     Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
     Such quantities of sand:
'If this were only cleared away,'
     They said, 'it would be grand.'

'If seven maids with seven mops
     Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,' the Walrus said,
     'That they could get it clear?'
'l doubt it,' said the Carpenter,
     And shed a bitter tear.

'O Oysters, come and walk with us!
     The Walrus did beseech.
'A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
     Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
     To give a hand to each.'

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
     But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
     And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
     To leave the oyster-bed.

Out four young Oysters hurried up.
     All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
     Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
     They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
     And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
     And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
     And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
     Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
     Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
     And waited in a row.

'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
     'To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing wax--
     Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
     And whether pigs have wings.'

'But wait a bit,' the Oysters cried,
     'Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
     And all of us are fat!'
'No hurry!' said the Carpenter.
     They thanked him much for that.

'A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said,
     'Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
     Are very good indeed--
Now, if you're ready, Oysters dear,
     We can begin to feed.'

'But not on us!' the Oysters cried,
     Turning a little blue.
'After such kindness, that would be
     A dismal thing to do!'
'The night is fine,' the Walrus said,
     'Do you admire the view?'

'It was so kind of you to come!
     And you are very nice!'
The Carpenter said nothing but
     'Cut us another slice--
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
     I've had to ask you twice!'

'It seems a shame,' the Walrus said,
     'To play them such a trick.
After we've brought them out so far,
     And made them trot so quick!'
The Carpenter said nothing but
     'The butter's spread too thick!'

'I weep for you,' the Walrus said:
     'I deeply sympathize.'
With sobs and tears he sorted out
     Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
     Before his streaming eyes.

'O Oysters,' said the Carpenter,
     'You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
     But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
     They'd eaten every one.


08 Little Raindrops, by Jane Euphemia Browne, 1811-1898

Oh, where do you come from,
     You little drops of rain,
Pitter patter, pitter patter,
     Down the window pane?

They won't let me walk,
     And they won't let me play,
And they won't let me go
     Out of doors at all today.

They put away my playthings
     Because I broke them all,
And then they locked up all my bricks,
     And took away my ball.

Tell me, little raindrops,
     Is that the way you play,
Pitter patter, pitter patter,
     All the rainy day?

They say I'm very naughty,
     But I've nothing else to do
But sit here at the window;
     I should like to play with you.

The little raindrops cannot speak,
     But "pitter pitter pat"
Means, "We can play on this side,
     Why can't you play on that?"


09 A Farewell, by Charles Kingsley, 1819-1875

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.


10 Wishing, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1855-1919

Do you wish the world were better?
Let me tell you what to do:
Set a watch upon your actions,
Keep them always straight and true;
Let your thoughts be clean and high:
Of the sphere you occupy.

Do you wish the world was wiser?
Well, suppose you make a start
By accumulating wisdom
In the scrapbook of your heart.
Do not waste one page on folly;
Live to learn, and learn to live.
If you want to give men knowledge
You must get it ere you give.

Do you wish the world were happy?
Then remember day by day
Just to scatter seeds of kindness
As you pass along the way:
For the pleasures of many
May be oft times traced to one,
As the hand that plants an acorn
Shelters armies from the sun.


11 Cargoes, by John Masefield, 1878-1967
      from Salt-Water Ballads, 1902

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
          With a cargo of ivory,
          And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
          With a cargo of diamonds,
          Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
          With a cargo of Tyne coal,
          Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.


12 The Window, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

Behind the blinds I sit and watch
The people passing---passing by;
And not a single one can see
     My tiny watching eye.

They cannot see my little room,
All yellowed with the shaded sun;
They do not even know I'm here;
     Nor'll guess when I am gone.


13 What do the stars do, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

What do the stars do
      Up in the sky,
Higher than the wind can blow,
      Or the clouds can fly?

Each star in its own glory
      Circles, circles still;
As it was lit to shine and set,
      And do its Maker's will.


14 The Cat of Cats, by William Brighty Rands, 1823-1882

I am the cat of cats. I am
      The everlasting cat!
Cunning, and old, and sleek as jam,
      The everlasting cat!
I hunt vermin in the night--
      The everlasting cat!
For I see best without the light--
      The everlasting cat!


15 A Letter is a Gypsy Elf by Annette Wynne
      from For Days and Days, 1919

A letter is a gypsy elf
It goes where I would go myself;
East or West or North, it goes,
Or South past pretty bungalows,
Over mountain, over hill,
Any place it must and will,
It finds good friends that live so far
You cannot travel where they are.


16 A Thanksgiving, by John Kendrick Bangs, 1862-1922

For summer rains, and winter's sun,
For autumn breezes crisp and sweet;
For labors doing, to be done,
      And labors all complete;
For April, May, and lovely June,
For bud, and bird, and berried vine;
For joys of morning, night, and noon,
      My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

For loving friends on every side;
For children full of joyous glee;
For all the blessed Heavens wide,
      And for the sounding sea;
For mountains, valleys, forests deep;
For maple, oak, and lofty pine;
For rivers on their seaward sweep,
      My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

For light and air, for sun and shade,
For merry laughter and for cheer;
For music and the glad parade
      Of blessings through the year;
For all the fruitful earth's increase,
For home and life, and love divine,
For hope, and faith, and perfect peace,
      My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!


17 We Thank Thee, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky;
For pleasant shade of branches high;
For fragrant air and cooling breeze;
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.


18 Landing of the Pilgrims, by Felicia Dorothea Hemans, 1793-1835

The breaking waves dashed high,
      On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
      Their giant branches tossed;

And the heavy night hung dark
      The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
      On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
      They, the true-hearted came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
      And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,
      In silence and in fear;--
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
      With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
      And the stars heard, and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
      To the anthem of the free!

The ocean eagle soared
      From his nest by the white wave's foam;
And the rocking pines of the forest roared--
      This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair
      Amidst that pilgrim band:
Why had they come to wither there,
      Away from their childhood's land?

There was woman's fearless eye,
      Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,
      And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?
      Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?--
      They sought a faith's pure shrine!

Ay, call it holy ground,
      The soil where first they trod.
They have left unstained what there they found--
      Freedom to worship God.


19 Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849

It was many and many a year ago
      In this kingdom by the sea
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
      By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
      Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child, and she was a child,
      In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love,
      I and my Annabel Lee,
With a love that the winged seraphs in heaven
      Coveted her and me.

And that was the reason that, long ago,
      In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
      My beautiful Annabel Lee,
So that her high-born kinsmen came
      And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
      In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
      Went envying her and me--
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know
      In this kingdom by the sea)
That a wind blew out of a cloud by night,
      Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those that were older than we,
      Of many far wiser than we,
And neither the angels in heaven above
      Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
      Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
      Of the beautiful Annabel Lee,
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
      Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
      Of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride,
In her sepulcher there by the sea--
      In her tomb by the sounding sea.


20 Which Is The Favourite? by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

Brothers and sisters I have many:
Though I know there is not any
Of them but I love, yet I
Will just name them all; and try
If there be one a little more
Loved by me than all the rest.
Yes; I do think, that I love best
My brother Henry, because he
Has always been most fond of me.
Yet, to be sure, there's Isabel;
I think I love her quite as well.
And, I assure you, little Ann,
No brother nor no sister can
Be more dear to me than she.
Only I must say, Emily,
Being the eldest, it's right her
To all the rest I should prefer.
Yet after all I've said, suppose
My greatest favourite should be Rose.
No, John and Paul are both more dear
To me than Rose, that's always here,
While they are half the year at school;
And yet that neither is no rule.
I've named them all, there's only seven;
I find my love to all so even,
To every sister, every brother,
I love not one more than another.


December


01 The Coin, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Flame and Shadow, 1920

Into my heart's treasury
I slipped a coin
     That time cannot take
     Nor a thief purloin,--
Oh, better than the minting
     Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
     Of a lovely thing.


02 You Never Can Tell, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1855-1919

You never can tell when you send a word,
     Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an Archer blind, be it cruel or kind,
     Just where it may chance to go.
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
     Tipped with its poison or balm;
To a stranger's heart in life's great mart
     It may carry its pain or its calm.

You never can tell when you do an act
     Just what the result may be;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed
     Though the harvest you may not see.
Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
     In God's productive soil;
You may not know, but the tree shall grow,
     With shelter for those who toil.

You never can tell what your thoughts will do
     In bringing you hate or love;
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
     Are swifter than a dove.
They follow the law of the universe
     Each thing must create its kind;
And they speed o'er the track to bring you back
     Whatever went out of your mind.


03 Song of the Holly, by William Shakespeare, 1564-1616

Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
            Then heigh ho! the holly!
            This life is most jolly!


04 Lullaby, by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924
      from A Pomander of Verse, 1895

          Sleep, sleep, my treasure,
          The long day's pleasure
Has tired the birds, to their nests they creep;
          The garden still is
          Alight with lilies,
But all the daisies are fast asleep.

          Sleep, sleep, my darling,
          Dawn wakes the starling,
The sparrow stirs when he sees day break;
          But all the meadow
          Is wrapped in shadow,
And you must sleep till the daisies wake!


05 Dust of Snow, by Robert Frost, 1874-1963
      from Dust of Snow, 1923

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.


06 Snow Song, by Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933
      from Helen of Troy And Other Poems, 1911

Fairy snow, fairy snow,
Blowing, blowing everywhere,
Would that I
Too, could fly
Lightly, lightly through the air.


07 The Cottager to her Infant, by Dorothy Wordsworth, 1771--1855

The days are cold, the nights are long,
The North Wind sings a doleful song;
Then hush again upon my breast;
All merry things are now at rest,
            Save thee, my pretty love!

The kitten sleeps upon the hearth,
The crickets long have ceased their mirth;
There's nothing stirring in the house
Save one wee, hungry, nibbling mouse,
            Then why so busy thou?

Nay! start not at that sparkling light;
'Tis but the moon that shines so bright
On the window pane bedropped with rain:
Then, little Darling! sleep again,
            And wake when it is day.


08 Good Night! Good Night! By Victor Hugo, 1802-1885

Good night! Good night!
Far flies the light;
But still God's love
Shall flame above,
Making all bright.
Good night! Good night!


09 Snow-flakes, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882

Out of the bosom of the Air,
     Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
     Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
          Silent, and soft, and slow
          Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
     Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
     In the white countenance confession,
          The troubled sky reveals
          The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
     Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
     Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
          Now whispered and revealed
          To wood and field.


10 Christmas Day and Every Day, by George MacDonald, 1824-1905

Star high
Baby low:
'Twixt the two
Wise men go;
Find the baby,
Grasp the star
Heirs of all things
Near and far!


11 The Time Draws Near, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1883

The time draws near the birth of Christ:
     The moon is hid; the night is still;
     The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
     From far and near, on mead and moor,
     Swell out and fail, as if a door
Swell out between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
     That now dilate, and now decrease,
     Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.


12 A Christmas Carol, by G.K.Chesterton, 1874-1936
      included in "The Expository Times: Volume 19" 1908

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
     His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
     But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
     His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
     But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
     His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
     But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
     His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
     And all the stars looked down.


13 The Christmas Child, by George MacDonald, 1824-1905

"Little one, who straight hast come
Down the heavenly stair,
Tell us all about your home,
And the father there."

"He is such a one as I,
Like as like can be.
Do his will, and, by and by,
Home and him you'll see."


14 Christmas Day, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

A baby is a harmless thing
And wins our hearts with one accord,
And Flower of Babies was their King,
Jesus Christ our Lord:
Lily of lilies He
Upon His Mother's knee;
Rose of roses, soon to be
Crowned with thorns on leafless tree.

A lamb is innocent and mild
And merry on the soft green sod;
And Jesus Christ, the Undefiled,
Is the Lamb of God:
Only spotless He
Upon his Mother's knee;
White and ruddy, soon to be
Sacrificed for you and me.

Nay, lamb is not so sweet a word,
Nor lily half so pure a name;
Another name our hearts hath stirred,
Kindling them to flame:
'Jesus' certainly
Is music and melody:
Heart with heart in harmony
Carol we and worship we.


15 Christmas Hymn, by Eugene Field, 1850-1895
      from A Little Book of Western Verse, 1889

          Sing, Christmas bells!
Say to the earth this is the morn
Whereon our Saviour-King is born;
     Sing to all men,--the bond, the free,
The rich, the poor, the high, the low,
     The little child that sports in glee,
The aged folk that tottering go,--
          Proclaim the morn
     That Christ is born,
That saveth them and saveth me!

          Sing, angel host!
Sing of the star that God has placed
Above the manger in the east;
     Sing of the glories of the night,
The virgin's sweet humility,
     The Babe with kingly robes bedight,--
Sing to all men where'er they be
          This Christmas morn;
          For Christ is born,
That saveth them and saveth me!

          Sing, sons of earth!
O ransomed seed of Adam, sing!
God liveth, and we have a king!
     The curse is gone, the bond are free,--
By Bethlehem's star that brightly beamed,
     By all the heavenly signs that be,
We know that Israel is redeemed;
          That on this morn
          The Christ is born
That saveth you and saveth me!

          Sing, O my heart!
Sing thou in rapture this dear morn
Whereon the blessed Prince is born!
     And as thy songs shall be of love,
So let my deeds be charity,--
     By the dear Lord that reigns above,
By Him that died upon the tree,
          By this fair morn
          Whereon is born
The Christ that saveth all and me!


Carol, by William Canton, 1845-1926
      from Christmas Carols Old and New, 1918

When the herds were watching
In the midnight chill,
Came a spotless lambkin
From the heavenly hill.

Snow was on the mountains,
And the wind was cold,
When from God's own garden
Dropped a rose of gold.

When 'twas bitter winter,
Houseless and forlorn
In a star-lit stable
Christ the Babe was born.

Welcome, heavenly lambkin;
Welcome, golden rose;
Alleluia, Baby,
In the swaddling clothes!


17 A Christmas Carol, 1859, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Before the paling of the stars,
     Before the winter morn,
     Before the earliest cockcrow
     Jesus Christ was born:
          Born in a stable,
     Cradled in a manger,
In the world His Hands had made
          Born a Stranger.

Priest and King lay fast asleep
     In Jerusalem,
Young and old lay fast asleep
     In crowded Bethlehem:
Saint and Angel, Ox and obtund,
     Kept a watch together,
     Before the Christmas daybreak
     In the winter weather.

Jesus on His Mother's breast
     In the stable cold,
Spotless Lamb of God was He,
     Shepherd of the Fold:
Let us kneel with Mary Maid,
     With Joseph bent and hoary,
With Saint and Angel, Ox and ass,
     To hail the King of Glory.


18 from The Bells, by Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849

      Hear the sledges with the bells--
            Silver bells--
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
      How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
            In the icy air of night!
      While the stars that oversprinkle
      All the heavens, seem to twinkle
            With a crystalline delight;
      Keeping time, time, time,
      In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
      From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
            Bells, bells, bells,--
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


19 from Ring Out, Wild Bells, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1883

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
      The flying cloud, the frosty light;
      The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
      Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
      The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
      The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
      Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.


20 A Happy New Year, by Margaret Sangster, 1838-1912

Coming, coming, coming!
Listen! perhaps you'll hear
Over the snow the bugles blow
To welcome the glad new year.
In the steeple tongues are swinging,
There are merry sleigh bells ringing,
And the people for joy are singing,
It's coming, coming near.

Flying, sighing, dying,
Going away tonight,
Weary and old, its story told,
The year that was full and bright.
Oh, we are half sorry it's leaving
Good-by has a sound of grieving;
But its work is done and its weaving;
God speed its parting flight!

Tripping, slipping, skipping,
Like a child in its wooing grace,
With never a tear and never a fear,
And a light in its laughing face;
With hands held out to greet us,
With gay little steps to meet us,
With sweet eyes that entreat us,
The new year comes to its place.

Coming, coming, coming!
Promising lovely things--
The gold and the gray of the summer day,
The winter with fleecy-wings;
Promising swift birds glancing,
And the patter of raindrops dancing,
And the sunbeam's arrowy lancing,
Dear gifts the new year brings.