Year 1 Poetry Anthology: July

Compiled and arranged by the AmblesideOnline Advisory, April, 2005 with revisions made August, 2021

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     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 Rhapsody by William Stanley Braithwaite 1878-1962
     08 The Elf and the Dormouse, by Oliver Herford, 1863-1935 (published 1900)
     09 The Brook, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892
     10 The Song of the Secret, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     11 Seal Lullaby, by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
     12 Anger, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834
     13 The Use of Flowers, by Mary Howitt, 1799-1888
     14 He Prayeth Well, Who Loveth Well, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834
     15 The Wind in a Frolic, by William Howitt, 1792-1879
     16 Sugar in my Coffee-O, adapted from the folk collection of Thomas W. Talley, 1870-1952

Click here to view an Index of Poets included in AO's Year 1 Anthology.

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, 1843-1907

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 Rhapsody by William Stanley Braithwaite 1878-1962
from The Book of American Negro Poetry, 1922

I am glad daylong for the gift of song,
For time and change and sorrow;
For the sunset wings and the world-end things
Which hang on the edge of to-morrow.
I am glad for my heart whose gates apart
Are the entrance-place of wonders,
Where dreams come in from the rush and din
Like sheep from the rains and thunders.

08 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.

09 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 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-swelléd 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.

13 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!

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

from The Ancient Mariner

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.

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

A bill, or billhook, is a sharp, hooked tool for cutting.

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.

16 Sugar in my Coffee-O
from Negro Folk Rhymes, 1922, adapted from the folk collection of Thomas W. Talley, 1870-1952

Sheep's in the meadow, mowing the hay.
There's honey in a bee-gum, so they all say.
My hair's done up, and I'm bound to go.
Who'll take sugar in the coffee-o?

I'm the prettiest little gal in the county-o
My mammy and my daddy, they both say so.
I look in the glass, and it don't say, 'no.'
So I'll take sugar in the coffee-o.

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