Mother Truth's Melodies - Common Sense For Children
by Mrs. E. P. Miller
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ELZIE'S kitty, white as snow, Loves his little mistress so, That he'll come at her command, Lift his paw to shake her hand, Bow his head and kneel to her, Rumpling all his milk-white fur; Many another pretty trick, Too, he's learned, our Elzie's Dick.


Well, the Church-Fair coming on, Elzie thought, "What can be done By a little girl like me, In the cause of charity?"

Mam'a told her she would show Her some fancy work to do, Which a half-a-dozen dimes Sure would bring;—so, many times Elzie made her fingers fly Neat and nice to form the "tie." Now our Elzie, large and fine, Looks like twelve, though only nine— And the "tie" when quite complete, Was so small, though choice and neat, That it could not be denied, Elzie was not satisfied. So she shook her curly head, As with curious smile she said: "If I were a little girl, Like Nannette or Cousin Pearl, This wee 'tie' might then appear Just the thing,—but now, I fear, Looking at the 'tie' and me, We shall seem to disagree.—


Now, Mamma, don't answer quick; Stop and think,—my snowy Dick At the Fair might win some pence, By his wise obedience; And his pretty winsome ways Being shown through all the days;— And, dear Mamma, then I should Feel I'd done the best I could."

Quickly Mamma took the thought, And a royal cage was brought; Cushion made of scarlet bright,— For our Dicky, pure and white, Thus was wont to perch and sit,— And a collar blue we fit To his neck, when loyal, true, He presents red, white, and blue.

So the cage is placed within A sly corner, free from din, And with tickets five cents each, Elzie sought her end to reach.


"Handsome Dick! weight fifteen pounds"— Whispers Elzie on her rounds; "What is 'Handsome Dick'?" they say; "Come and see, please,—step this way;"

And once seen they're glad to tell Others of white Dick, as well;— For the cat, as knowing now He must make his courtliest bow.


Did his best to help along Elzie's plan, the friends among. Upon his cushion he would stand, Or sit, as Elzie might command; Then down upon his blanket lie And be wrapped up like baby-bye; Would lap his milk, or dainty, sip, And shake his pretty under-lip, Thus showing teeth as white as pearl,— Then round and round would quickly whirl, Till each one seeing, cheerful, said: "For that five cents I'm sure we're paid."

Thus the three days passing by, Which the Fair must occupy— Dollars ten—ah, yes! and more, Elzie holds within her store! Dues for cage and tickets met, And the ten is Elzie's yet,— Which unto the Fair she gave With an air so joyful-grave, That it seemed a spirit bright, Nestled in her heart so light;— And a happier child than she, We may never hope to see.



Kisses, kisses, raining, raining, On her lips, her cheeks, her brow, Till she, wearied, "Daughter, darling, Mamma's had enough for now." "Ah! but Bessie has so many!"— Naught the pretty prattler daunts; Mamma pleading, baby shouting, "Ah! but Bessie's more'n she wants."



The homeliest things are highest worth, The dinner-pot's a treasure Compared with diamonds, chains and rings, Which serve alone for pleasure;— Enwreathe the dinner-pot with flame, And fill it with love's mixings, And it possesses charms beyond All gold or fancy fixings.

And then, our bony frame-work, too, So stiff and hard and homely, Will serve when plumpness all is gone, And lost is all that's comely. Fling beauty, grace and sweetness round, Festoon your lives with flowers, But ne'er forget that plainest things Are life's most precious dowers.



Our Nanny helped her mother In many a childish way,— She picked up chips to feed the fire, And "played that it was play."

She loved the hens and chickens And fed them day by day, And dubbed them each with quaintest name, And this was always play.

She hunted through the big barn For hens' nests in the hay, And fetched the eggs right carefully, And this again was play.

She donned her mother's dust-cap And danced about so gay, And planned how she would house-keep, And this was "truly play."


With basin full of water She scrubbed the door one day, And splashed about till mother dear Must work instead of play.


With brush and broom a-sweeping She fluttered like a fay; The broken cup soon told her 'Twas anything but play.


She romped around the hay-field And shook the new-mown hay, And with her baby-rake she gleaned The meadow for her play.

She ran to pick the berries That ripened by the way, And with her basket full to brim This was the best of play.

So many things, so many, Far more than I can say, Our Nanny in her childhood Has "played that it was play."



Our Nanny was but four years old When mother said, "My love, Your needle learn with skill to use, It will a blessing prove."

So Nanny learned to "overhand," And "hem" so fine and neat, To "backstitch," "run," and many a join That she could scarce repeat.


She learned to "catch-stitch" and to "cross," To "patch" and "darn," as well, To "gather," "plait," "box-plait" and "side," To "feather-stitch" and "fell."

She sewed the buttons fast, and "worked The buttonholes" so neat, That many an eld accomplishes With less success, the feat.

"Be sure your thread is smooth and strong, A goodly knot or two, A double stitch for first, and then A fastening sure when through;

"And thus your seams will never rip, Your sewing never wear,— Like buttons loose and hooks awry,— A slip-shod, shiftless air."

All this and more her mother taught, And Nanny conned it o'er Till she was versed in all the arts That point the seamster's lore.



Her ninth birthday, and mother said "You're old enough to care For all your clothing now, my child, Except the best you wear.

"And here, within this little chest, And in this drawer wide, You'll keep them ranged so neat and nice, Whatever may betide.

"A place for this, a place for that, Each garment grouped aright, That you may lay your little hand Upon it, day or night.

"No garment must be laid within, Except it ready be, To don and wear, for thus you spare Us trouble, you and me."

And Nanny, pleased with mother's trust, Accepted it with pride, And, in her heart, the lessons learned Forevermore abide.



Our Nanny oft in fancy Soared up, the earth above, And sailed the great air-ocean With skylark or with dove.

And in this fashion musing, One sunny summer's day, Half-watching mother mending And baby-brother play,

Without a word of warning The old umbrella came, Opened upside down before her, And whispered soft her name.


"Come, Nanny you've been longing For a ride, and now's your time: Jump in,—be quick! And careful, too, For I'm o'erpast my prime."

So, springing in, she sat there As happy as you please, And through the open window, Was borne upon the breeze.

The sparrows eyed her keenly, The doves left off their cooing, And children, cause they couldn't go, Set up a grand boo-hoo-ing.

She bobbed against a clothes-line, And all the wash went flying; {278} The good dame cried, "A witch! a witch! The saints forefend my drying."

And next she got entangled In the telegraphic wires; And when she jerked away from them, She bumped against the spires.

She hit the tallest chimneys, And set the smoke a-curling, Then knocked a flag-pole all awry, The stars and stripes a-whirling.

Now, far beyond the city, With mountains in her face, An eagle pounced to catch her, But she quickly won the race.


Within a mountain cavelet, Two baby-bears so young, Smiled on her as she passed them, And greetings to her flung.

She heard the thunder rolling. And saw the lightning's glare, From clouds away beneath her, While 'round her all was fair.



She met a cherub driving A brace of butterflies, While dancing on a gorgeous one, Away in wonder-skies.

She saw an angel lighting The stars up one by one, As he balanced on a cloudlet That was left behind the sun.

She heard angelic music, Far up, the blue along, And knew 'twas Mary crooning o'er Her first sweet cradle-song.


She saw such wondrous pictures, So beautiful and grand, Such skyscapes and such cloudscapes, Such waterscapes and land.

But now the fluttering insects All round her plainly told That she was nearing Mother Earth Far o'er the daisy-wold;

And startled at the distance From home, the baby screaming And mother still a-mending there, Told Nanny she'd been dreaming.



A hop, a skip, and a gambol, A run, a tumble, a scramble, An up-and-a-going, A laughing-and-crowing, A weal-and-a-woe-ing,— Yes, a race for a ball Or a toy we may call, This race that is human,— For child, man, or woman, Tis one and the same, A mysterious game That is played by us all, And we each get a fall; And so many it may be That forever a baby We feel in the race For a name and a place.



Written for our pet, as indicative of what he should be but is not.

Know ye our little black-eyed boy? His name is Kenney Stone; Now listen, for he always speaks In such a gentle tone.

He never says "I will!" "I wi'n't!" He's never rough nor rude, But always bows with, "Thank you; please;" And tries to be so good.

Our Kenneth never kicks nor strikes, Nor makes an ugly face; He never slides down banisters, Nor puts things out of place.

He never says a naughty word, Nor tells a big, big story! O, no, nor even a little one, To make us all so sorry.



Our Kenneth is a gentleman, He will not scratch nor bite; He never speaks to any child, A word that is not right.

Our Kenneth never slams the doors Nor stamps along the halls; He goes away when he is told, And comes when mamma calls.

Our Kenneth, everybody loves, Because he's so polite, Our darling little black-eyed boy, Our Kenney Stone so bright.



On thy cheek the roses lie; Lilies, on thy forehead fair; Violets blue, in each bright eye, Sunbeams, in thy golden hair.

Pearls, within thy coral lips, Ears and nostrils, crystal-clear, Dainty, sea-shell finger tips, Form, a sylph might love to wear.

Yet no beauty, thou, my child, Save as filled with inward grace; Save a spirit, undefiled, Warm thy heart and wreathe thy face.



Dear children, you are sometimes led To sorrow, sin, and woe, {289} Because you have not courage quite, And dare not answer, No.

When playmates tell you this, or that Is "very nice to do," See first what mamma says, or if You think 'tis wrong, say No.

Be always gentle, but be firm. And wheresoe'er you go, If you are asked to do what's wrong, Don't fear to answer, No.

False friends may laugh and sneer at you. Temptations round you flow, But prove yourself both brave and true, And firmly tell them, No.

Sometimes a thing that's not a sin, You might be asked to do,— But when you think it is not best, Don't yield, but answer, No.

True friends will honor you the more, Ah, yes, and false ones too, When they have learned you're not afraid To stand and answer, No.


And when temptations rise within, And plead to "come," or "go," And do a wrong for "just this once" Be sure you answer, No.

For when you once have done a Wrong, The Right receives a blow,— And Wrong will triumph easier now, So haste and answer, No.

There's many a little boy and girl, And man and woman too, Have gone to ruin and to death For want of saying, No!

So, young or old, or great or small, Don't fail, whate'er you do, To stand for Right and nobly dare To speak an honest No.



Yes, my darling, when you question, I will answer, simple, plain, Just the Truth;—and when playmate Tells you anything again, Come to Mother, she will tell you, Yes, and tell you always true, For she knows what's low and sinful, And what's right and wrong for you.


'Tis wrong, my dear, to do a thing That mother must not know; And when your playmates, old or young, Shall tell you thus to do, Leave them at once, and quickly come To your dear Mother's side, And tell her,—for she'll know what's wrong, And she will be your guide.



Don't tell a lie, dear children, No matter what you do,— {292} Own up and be a hero, Right honest, brave, and true.

You'd better have a whipping Each day than tell a lie,— No, not a "white one," even, They lead to blackest dye.

The rod but hurts your body, While lies deform your soul;— Don't mind the present smarting, Keep the spirit pure and whole.

But I am sure that mamma And papa, too, will try To help you children tell the Truth, Nor drive you to a lie.

They will not punish harshly, Nor when they're angry, quite; Nor promise, and then fail to do,— But always lead you right.



In the Talmud you will find it,— In the quaint and curious lore Of the ancient priests, or Rabbins, Whom the people bowed before;

Find the story of an infant Sitting on the kingly knee; "Little Moses," Pharaoh calls him,— Crowing loud in baby glee.


And the banqueters were cheering, When the infant with a spring, Reached and caught the crown that rested Upon Pharaoh's head, as king.

Caught the crown, and quickly placed it On his own unwitting head; But the king and all his princes, In the deed a meaning read.

Then spake Balaam, the magician, "Not because the child is young, Hath he done this thing unknowing;— He hath mocked thee, he hath flung

"In thy face thy kindly dealings; Such hath ever been the way Of his people; a usurper— Let his blood be spilled this day."

But the winsome baby-fingers Toying with the kingly beard, Won the edict: "Call the judges; Let their counselings be heard."


So the judges and the wise men Came with Jethro, Midian's priest, Who, with wish to save young Moses, Thus his majesty addressed:

"If it to the king be pleasing, Fetch two plates, and we will hold Them before the babe, a-brimming, One with fire, and one with gold.

"If the child shall grasp the golden, He hath done this knowingly; He will trample on thy statutes; For thine honor he must die.

"But if he shall grasp the other, Know, O King, he knoweth nought Of a royal crown or scepter,— And his life with fire is bought."

These wise words, the king approving, Plate of fire and plate of gold, Courtiers brought, and screams of anguish, Soon the childish choosing told.


For he, baby-like, had thrust it In his mouth; and though he flung Quick the coal, he ever after Spake with slow and stammering tongue.

[Footnote: Exodus IV:10]

* * * * *

Charming 'tis to see Children who agree; Chaste, and choice, and cheery, Chiming in so merry, Childlike, ever; Churlish, never. Championing the good; Challenging the rude; Chary as the dove; Chief in Jesus' love.



Old Time has built a Railroad, On which you children speed To a land of light and plenty, Or a land of darksome need; And soon you'll come to a meadow, Where two tracks mark the way, But they'll run close up alongside For many and many a day.

And one is strewn with roses, While one looks bleak and bare, With now and then a berry-bush, And a violet here and there;—


On one you'll find companions Who but for pleasure seek, While friends along the other, Will words of wisdom speak.

Be careful in your choosing, For if you take the Right, You will travel in the shadow Of the Rock that shields at night; 'T will lead through greenest pastures Where softest brooklets flow, And land you at a Station That is full of cheer and glow.


On the other track, the roses Are backed by sharpest thorns; While berries always nourish, And the violet but adorns;— You will stumble into sluices, And what is worse than all, Your self-respect and conscience Grow weak with every fall.

Yes, if you choose the other That looks so bright and gay, You'll find the bridges broken, And the road-bed washed away; And when you near the Station, You'll switch to a fearful leap, That will hurl you into darkness, And bury you in the deep.

But those who choose the Right one Grow manly, womanly, true; God's love-light shines upon them, And falls as heavenly dew;— They grieve at your wild folly, And will gladly help you back, If at any curve or turning You seek the trusty track.


But ah! the scars you're wearing, From thorns that pierced you sore,— {302} And the ditches in which you've fallen, That were strewn with roses o'er;— And the joys you've lost, unnumbered, That spring from good deeds done; And the fruits you've missed, unmeasured, That by others have been won.

Though friends may be indulgent, And loved ones even forget, Yourself can never banish The memories that beset. You will wish you had never traveled The way that leads to death; You will wish you had never reveled In the viper's venomed breath.

So beware which track you follow; And again I say, beware! The False is strewn with roses,— The True looks bleak and bare; But this, 't is plain, is only That youthful, artless eyes Are open to show and glamour, But see not deep nor wise,


To Truth then, children, listen, And cultivate the seed That in your hearts God planted, To serve your every need;— Yes, heed the voice within you, And follow it all the way, For it will help you choose the road That leads to endless day.



"Phoe-be, phoe-be," why, 'tis a little bird, "Phoe-be, phoe-be," singing the pretty word; "Phoe-be, phoe-be," brown feathers cover him, Gray breast, with blackish stripes scattered all over him.

"Phoe-be, phoe-be," here comes his little mate, "Phoe-be, phoe-be," both on the garden gate, "Phoe-be, phoe-be," loving now they trill, Planning to build a nest in the old well-wheel.

"Phoe-be, phoe-be," now the nest is begun; "Phoe-be, phoe-be," now it is nearly done; "Phoe-be, phoe-be," how will the birdies feel, When the egg is dropped down, with turn of the wheel.

"Phoe-be, phoe-be," children are sorry now, "Phoe-be, phoe-be," birds are all a-worry now, "Phoe-be, phoe-be," laying eggs day by day, While the turn of the wheel ever drops them away.


"Phoe-be, phoe-be," never the lesson learned, "Phoe-be, phoe-be," year by year they returned, "Phoe-be, phoe-be," building persistently, Where the turn of the wheel dropped the eggs all away.

Phoe-be, phoe-be, yet not in vain you wrought, Phoe-be, phoe-be, for, by your folly taught, Phoe-be, phoe-be, children plan so to build, That no eggs may be lost by the turn of life's wheel.



Listen, children, while I tell you What our merry Mabel said When she saw the feathery snow-flakes Tumbling down about her head.

Clapping hands and dancing gaily, "Mamma, mamma, come and see! Come and see the feathers, mamma, Soft and white as they can be!"


Standing then a moment, pondering As it were, whence came the snow, Little face so wise and thoughtful, Mabel cried: "Oh, now I know,

"There are lots of eider ducklets Up in Heaven, above the blue, And they're dropping off their feathers,— And such downy feathers, too!

"See them frolic with each other; See them kiss as fast they fly; See them make believe they are going to, Then go gaily flitting by.

"See them on the Spruce and Balsam, Pile up little soft, fat hands; See their many plump, white cushions; See them wave their fairy wands.

"See the showers of flying feathers Whisking 'round in merry moods; See, the telegraph their perch is,— Oh, I'm sure they're almost birds!"


Now she fancies she can hear them Whisper of their ducklet birth;— Hear their soft and wean-y quacklings, As they tumble down to earth.

Now she listens for the jingle Of the sleigh-bells they will bring; Now she sees the flying horses, Prancing gaily at their ring.

Lovely are these fleecy feathers, Dainty in each rare device; All unlike our ducklet feathers,— White and soft, but cold as ice.


Yet they cover, warmly cover Mother Earth so bleak and brown; Cover her with feathery mantles, Comforters of eider-down.



Children, have you seen the budding Of the trees in valleys low? Have you watched it creeping, creeping Up the mountain, soft and slow? Weaving there a plush-like mantle, Brownish, grayish, red-dish green, Changing, changing, daily, hourly, Till it smiles in emerald sheen?

Have you watched the shades so varied, From the graceful, little white birch, Faint and tender, to the balsam's Evergreen, so dark and rich? Have you seen the quaint mosaics Gracing all the mountain-sides, Where they, mingling, intertwining, Sway like softest mid-air tides?


Have you seen the autumn frostings Spread on all the leafage bright, Frostings of the rarest colors, Red and yellow, dark and light? Have you seen the glory painted On the mountain, valley, hill, When the landscape all illumined, Blazons forth His taste and skill?

Have you seen the foliage dropping, Tender cling, as loth to leave Mother-trees that taught them deftly, All their warp and woof to weave? Have you seen the leafless branches Tossing wildly 'gainst the blue? Have you seen the soft gray beauty Of their wintry garments' hue?

Have you thought the resurrection Seen in Nature year by year, Is a symbol of our rising In a higher, holier sphere? Children, ye are buds maturing; Make your autumn rich and grand, That your winter be a passage Through the gates to Glory-land.



The twilight gray is falling, Now list and you shall hear The footsteps of the sylphid fays,— This is their hour of cheer.

List to the gentle patter On each wee blade of grass, As it is bent, and back again, Whene'er the fairies pass.


Upon the tips of grasses They cross the meadows, lawn, And laugh and dance and play and sing, From twilight hour till dawn.

They light their myriad lanterns, And hang them in the arch Of blue that canopies o'erhead, And by their light they march.

They sometimes miss a fairy, And take a lantern down To search for her, and mortals say; "A fire-fly flits around."

On leaves they hang their diamonds, Their pearls in every flower; Their gauzy veils upon the grass, They spread for fairy bower.

Their slender wings are hanging On every shrub, across; Their seats are dainty cushion-beds Of green and springy moss.


Their shrubbery of coral Is gray and scarlet-tipped; Their hair upon the maize is hung Each Summer, when 'tis clipped.

The mushroom forms their table, Their dishes, acorn cups; The ant-hills are their barracks high; Their cannon, "hemlock pops."

Their scarfs of plush are lying On ripening grape and peach; Their sea-shells 'neath the apple trees, Each Spring bestrew their beach.

They paint the leaves in Autumn; They make a tiny rink Of every puddle, fen, and dike, And skate from nave to brink.

They brown the nuts in forests, The burrs they open wide; They lure the feathers from the clouds. And pile them up, to slide.


They build along the way-side Their fairy palisades,— The "hoar-frost" some have christened it,— And hold West Point parades.

They sketch upon the windows Such pictures as no power Of man can ever execute, And on them pearl-dust shower.


All these and myriad fancies That never can be told, My childhood days so new and sweet, In memory infold.

But mother softly whispers, "Tis not the Fays, my dears, Tis old Dame Nature's song of songs, The 'Music of the Spheres.'

"List ever for it, children, Twill bring you close to God; Each sound but echoes Him who made, Each motion is His nod."

* * * * *

"Waste not, want not," be your motto,— Little things bring weal or woe; Save the odds and ends, my children, Some one wants them, if not you.



Little Lizzie, thoughtful, earnest, Springing up at break of day, Thinks she heard the angels whisper Softly, as she knelt to pray.


"Yes, they whispered to me, mamma, And they told me lots of things,— And they said, 'O Lizzie, Lizzie, 'Tis your temper trouble brings!'

"Then they said: You, child, can never Be a woman good and true, If you let your fiery temper And your own will govern you; And they told me 'even Jesus Said, 'Thy will, not mine, be done,' And that if I grew up wilful, All my life I can but mourn.

And they told me, too, dear mamma, That if I were called to die, I could not be glad in heaven, For no heaven in me would lie. Now, what shall I do, dear mamma, That I may be good and true? How shall I my temper govern, And my wicked will subdue?"

"Lizzie, darling, if you listen, You will hear a voice within, {319} That will tell you every moment, What is Right, and what is Sin. But you must not disobey it, Or it will grow faint and weak; You must watch to catch its whispers, Hurry when you hear it speak.


"For if you should linger waiting, There's another voice will say: Never mind, nobody'll know it, Even though you disobey.' And this other voice, this Tempter, Sure will lead you to the wrong, While the voice of the good angel Fills your life with cheer and song.

"In your play and in your working, You the Golden Rule must heed; Do by others as you'd have them Do by you, if in their stead. Better far to bear and suffer Than to do a wrong, my child; Better give up every pleasure, Than to be by sin beguiled.

"In your eating, in your drinking, In your clothing, in your talk, You can glorify the Father, Or in wickedness can walk. For your little body, Lizzie, God has said, 'Keep holy, pure,' {321} Tis His 'temple' He has lent you, Keep its every gate secure,

"What you eat and drink makes muscles, Bones and nerves, and brain, and thought; And by food and drink improper, Fearful evils may be wrought. Much of meat and spice and candies, Makes your blood impure, and then All your body's in a jangle, And your temper's wild again.

"And your clothes if tight or heavy, Help to make your blood impure; Help to make you weak and wicked, Into evil ways to lure. Foul air, too, your blood will poison Sitting up too late at night; All these things will make it harder For you, child, to do the right.

"Bad companions also lead you To the wrong, and tempt you sore To defy the voice within you Till it, grieved, will speak no more,— {322} Do not hesitate to tell them You cannot their ways approve. Do not yield to their enticements; Tell them 'No!' with firmness, love.

"Do not ever let a single Word unkind, nor coarse, impure, Pass your lips; for these will lead you Toward the bad, you may be sure. Do not let a playmate tell you Anything that must be kept As a secret from your mother;— Something's wrong, so don't accept.

"Always tell a thing precisely As it is; don't try to make It more fine and entertaining; Tell the truth for Truth's dear sake. Never lay a finger, darling, On what is not quite your own, Lest temptation overtake you, And your honesty be gone.

"In the silence of your chamber, When no human being's nigh, {323} Don't forget that God is with you, Watching with all seeing-eye; Don't forget that He will know it If you do a thing that's wrong; Keep yourself so pure and perfect, That your life shall be His song.

"Now, dear child, the blessed Jesus Always, when you wish it, hears, Giving help to those who ask it, Lightening woes, and lessening fears. Follow always His example; Take His precepts for your guide; Learn to trust Him, for He's walking Ever loving at your side."



Was ever so sweet the clover, Was ever so clear the brook, As my child-days, over and over, Found fresh in the dear home-nook?


Was ever such grace of motion, Or ever such trills of song. As the birds in mid-air ocean, Poured childhood's plays among?

Were ever so bright the noondays, Were ever the skies so blue, Or so soft the slanting moon-rays, As stole my childhood through?

Was ever so dear a mother, Or a child so sweet, I pray, As my blue-eyed baby-brother, In the time so far away?

Was ever so true boy-lover,— O, ever such pictures bright, As my child-days, over and over, Reflect by memory's light!



"I'M twelve years old to-day," says Ned, "And wish I were twelve more, sir,— And Nelly Warner's almost twelve, So we'd be twenty-four, sir."

"'And what of that!' Why, Nelly 'n' I Have always played together; And then I draw her on my sled, To school in stormy weather.

"And all the goodies that we get, We share them half and half, sir; And O, we have such lots of fun, I'm sure 'twould make you laugh, sir!

"Now Nelly lives in Cottage Square, While I live 'round the corner, And all the boys would laugh and shout, 'Ned Jarrett loves Nell Warner.'



"I didn't care for this, you know, But O, I couldn't bear it When they began to laugh at her, And say, 'Nell loves Ned Jarrett!'

"And so I thought I'd have to fight,— And though I was the smallest Of all the party, I's so mad I'd easy beat the tallest.

"But Nelly coaxed and comforted, And said, 'Why would I do it, When they had only told the truth, And everybody knew it!'"



All you babies Perched in air, Careful how you Caper there! Careful lest the Little feet Or the little Hands so sweet, Lose their hold And babies fall,— Careful, careful, Babies all.



I never seen such naughty dirls As Susy Jones and Ellen; They laughed, O desht as hard's they tould When I twipped up and fell in The old toal-hole. And see, mamma, I tore my new white jattet; And when I twied, they laughed and laughed, And said, "O, what a wattet!" The bid dirls talled them most untind, And said they surely knew it, The teaching of the Dolden Wule, And then how tould they do it! I duess they'd twy if they was me, I duess they'd mate a wattet, If they should fall in a toal-hole, And tear their new white jattet.



"SWEET, my darling, come and see What mamma has brought for thee; Garments soft and ribbons bright, Hat and coat, a pretty sight; Sweet, my child, what shall we do With the old, now you've the new?"

"Why, mamma, this frock and frill, These are good and pretty still. But as they are quite too small, Give them, please, to Lillie Ball In the cottage by the hill, She'll be glad, I know she will; For mamma, they're very poor, And 'tis cold to cross the moor In their tattered garments few; Mamma, may I give the new?"

"No, my child, and yet you may Sometimes give new things away. Keep your pennies, and they'll be Dollars, by and by, two, three; Thus you now and then may have Something new and fresh to give."



Look at that little girl sweeping the crossing; See how the mud her bare legs is embossing! And her feet are so slippered with mud, that it seems As though from the ground she grew up 'mongst the teams; And why she's not run over surely's a wonder, Standing there sweeping, the horses' feet under. See her close curls and her bright, beaming eye; Though fearless, the glance, you perceive, is half shy, {333} As so lightly she swings her wet broom, and so true,— Let us cross, and we'll give her a penny or two.

But wait, now a passer-by hands her a penny; Just see her bright glance twinkle over to Benny, The little hunchback sitting there on the curb-stone, Close up to the lamp-post, that he may disturb none. His crutches beside him a sorry tale tell; But see, he's a basket of knick-nacks to sell; And a lady has bought for her child a toy whip, And now from her port-monaie gives him the scrip, But refuses the change,—and with tears in his eyes, He thanks her and blesses, with grateful surprise;— And the glance the boy now flashes over to Jenny, Is as bright as she gave him when she got the penny. O, I've seen them so many times! always together, Always happy and cheery, in bright or dull weather; For though he makes the most when it's fair, as they show me, Yet she does the best when it's muddy and stormy.

Watch, now, her quick smile of such pleased recognition:— To win it I oft come this way on my mission. But see, she draws back as I offer the penny, {334} And modestly says, "Madam, please keep the money, For you know 'tis a pleasure to me to be sweeping The path for you, lady;" and, all the time keeping Her broom just before us to brush the least speck, The sweet smiles in her eyes her whole being bedeck. So I keep it, for she has as good claim as I To the right to do favors and none will deny That "It is more blessed to give than receive," And her sweep is far more than my pennies to give. But we'll stop and see Benny, and make it up there, For in all that each gets they will both have a share. A nice little bib for my baby at home,— A patent tape-measure, a mother-pearl comb; And Benny's pale face lightens up with a glow Such as angels rejoice in;—now, Maud, we must go. But to Benny: "I'm thinking to-night I may come And bring my friend with me, to see your new home." "O, if you will!" says the child with delight Rippling over his face like a sunbeam—and quite As joyously, Jenny: "O, madam, please do, For we've something at home that we want to show you!"

So when 'tis near night-fall we take the short car {335} That off through West Fourth Street goes winding afar, And away to the Hudson, almost, we shall find A lone-seeming tenement cuddled behind Huge heaps of fresh lumber so piney and sweet, While everything round there is charmingly neat.— Yes, the children are home and as gay as a lark, While the good mother greets us with pleasure;—but hark! A baby-cry comes from the bedroom beyond, And Jenny brings forth a sweet, sunny-haired blonde, Saying: "This is the something we wanted to show you, This two-years-old baby-girl—why, does she know you? She holds out her hands to go to you so soon!" "Ah! she feels we are friendly;—hear now her soft croon. But how came she here, child?" "We found her just over The lumber-yard fence, with a board for a cover, Wrapped up in a blanket marked Bertha." "But why Do you not to the charity mission apply?" "O, we want her ourselves! And the good Lord, through you, {336} Has given us this home, so what else should we do, Than to keep what He sends? And we're sure He sent Berty, In place of our baby that died, little Myrtie!"

And here these poor people, so poor they were starving When I found them a few months ago, were now halving Their food and their home with this waif and with Benny— For he was an orphan child left by his granny, Who died in an attic just over their room, In the tumble-down house they before-time called home; Though they've four of their own, and the eldest is Jenny, The little street-sweep who would not take the penny, Yet they say, "Benny seems quite as much to belong here, And be one of our children, as if he were born here."

O, how many rich homes where no child is given, Might be made, for poor orphans, an opening to Heaven! {337} And how many, poorer, might seem to be rich, With a benny or Bertha to fill up the niche That is left 'neath the hundreds of home-roofs all over. Which the Lord has designed some poor orphan shall cover; For He makes His home where His children are moored,— And brings in His wealth where they live by His word; And the meal and the oil there shall never be spent;— What we give to the poor, to the Lord we have lent. A baby to feed, is a baby to love, A child in the house, "a well-spring" from above,— And never forsaken, and ne'er begging bread, Shall be those who take care that His lambs are well fed.




I am always in a buzz, Though I'm never in a fret, But I'm ever with a zealot in his zeal; I am in the zephyr-breath, Yet with zest have often met The zero mark that brings the ice-man weal.


I've to do with the yoke, but not with the ox; I help every priest in his prayer; I am new every year, and in four months appear, While I yield to the yeoman a share.


I live in a Lexicon, I mark half a score; I ride with a Mexican, In Texas, for lore,



I am in every wing, yet I'm not in a dove; I wait in the swing to be tossed up above. I live in the woods, and I perch on the wall; I am in the wild waves, though I sail in a yawl.


I am mingled with your victuals, yet 'm never in your mouth; I always lead the van and must forever stem the wave; I grow in every gravel bed, East, West, or North, or South, And although I'm with the living, you will find me in the grave.


I live in the urn, but not in the vase, I always can run, but I never can race. I tumble and jump, but I can't hop nor skip; I hide in your mouth, but I ne'er touch your lip.


I'm doubled up in a patty-pan, Yet I never saw a pie; I hide in the boy's first pair of boots, Nor pass his mittens by.



I am always in sadness, yet never know grief; Then, too, I'm in gladness, which gives me relief. I know not the ocean, but swim in the sea, And the stars and the sunshine were not, but for me.


I live at both ends of a river, My home is the center of art; I am found in both arrows and quiver Yet I quietly rest in your heart.


I lead the queen, yet never walk Without you (u) at my heels; I laugh at every question queer, And joy in piggy's squeals.


I perch on every pepper-pod, I peer in every place; I prance with every palfrey gay, Yet never run nor race.



Listen, children, and you'll hear me in the cooing of the dove; In the lowing of the kine and the crowing of the cocks; I am in your joy and sorrow, and I come to you in love, And you will find me safely hidden in the middle of your box.


I live in the moon, yet I visit the sun, I've twice blest the noon, and I've twice kissed the nun; I was in the beginning, yes, double and treble, And wherever's an end I am always in the middle.


I, too, live in the moon, yet I ne'er saw the sun; I ne'er blessed the noon, and I ne'er kissed a nun. I'm one of the many, and in at each mess, Though I've never a penny, I'm not in distress.


I sing in every lullaby, I'm out in every squall; I ring in every shilling piece, And roll in every ball.



I am baked in a cake, but I never see bread, I can fork hay, and rake, but I can't lie in bed; I can like, but not love; though no doe, I'm with the buck; I'm in kite, but not in dove; and I'm always in luck.


I'm in a baby-jumper, and with joy I laugh and sing, But I quickly find myself shut up in jail, Where I pass my time in jokes, or perhaps in conjuring, Till I lead the Judge, who says I'm "out on bail."


I live in an Inn, yet I never taste beer, I never smoke, chew, or use snuff; I am seen in high life, yet I'm true to my wife, And now I have told you enough.


At the door of a hut I must stand, it is true, Yet of the king's household I'm one; I revel in heather all wet with the dew, And yet I am never in fun.



I grow in grace, yet gayety Would have no place except for me; I greet the gardener with a grin, E'en though I lie the grave within. I'm with the King, yet shun the Queen; I walk in grey, ah! yes in green; I gleam in gold, yet live in gloom, And at a wedding kiss the groom.


I am in the farmer's field, I am fresh in all his fruits; I'm in all his forests wide, But I'm not in his pursuits.


Twice told, I'm in Eternity, And yet I live in time; I eat and sleep in every place, Yet soar in the sublime.


I darken your doors and your windows, And if you are deaf, dumb, or blind, You may know I am always quite ready, Your duds or your dainties to find.



Though I live in the ocean so blue, Yet I never am seen in the sea; I can cast a sheet-anchor, 't is true, And captains depend upon me.


I grow in the bean, And to beauty I lean, And when buttercups bloom I am there; I bend the boy's bow, And the bugle I blow, Till I wake the Kamtchatcadale bear.


I lead out the ape, and I'm seen in the glass; I hide in the grape, and I'm found in the grass. I was there in the garden when Adam was made, Not to help them to sin, though I stood in their shade. You can not have an apple, an orange, a pear, But in each and in all, I must have my full share. You can not eat nor speak, nay, nor hear, without me; That I'm chief among my fellows, you all must agree.



A little word of letters five That means bound fast together; Transpose but two, and you will find A scattering yon and hither.


* * * * *

And now a word of letters four Five perfect words will make, If you transpose and rightly place 'Tis true and no mistake.


* * * * *

Now five are found, With spring and bound A twist or turn to take, And ere we know, All in a row, Five other words they make. The times are bad, The items sad, The mites must meet their fate; To smite the rock Emits a shock That hurls us from the gate.




List to the ring of the midnight song! 'Tis somebody's boy; The winds give to every wild echo a tongue. Yes, somebody's boy;

The witch of the revel has waved her wand Over somebody's boy; And the spirit of evil has clasped the hand Of somebody's boy.

Comes now a yell on the midnight air From somebody's boy; Reckless, defiant, and devil-may-care, Is somebody's boy.

Foul is the bed, madly dark the dank cell, Where somebody's boy Is writhing in torture, the veriest hell, Yet, somebody's boy.

Waiting and watching, a mother's eyes weep For somebody's boy; The vigil, dear Father, O help her to keep! For somebody's boy.


Throw round him, and over, thy Spirit to save,— This somebody's boy, Ere fiends for his lost soul shall hollow the grave Of somebody's boy.

Fill with thy Spirit, too, our hearts we pray, That somebody's boy We may watch for, and snatch from the death-trodden way, Yes, somebody's boy.



Come sit with me in the green-wood bower, While I sing you a song of love;— 'Tis the song of the birds In the deep, wild woods, 'Tis the song of the sweet ring-dove.

The laddie-bird says, "I have come to woo;" And the lassie-bird, "Ah! coo, coo, coo, coo." {349}

The laddie-bird says, "With a hope to win,"— And the lassie-bird, "Coo, coo, that is no sin."

The laddie-bird says, "Together we'll dwell," And the lassie-bird says, "In the Linden dell."

The laddie-bird says, "And build our nest," And the lassie-bird says, "In the tree to the West."

The laddie-bird says, "And raise our brood," And the lassie-bird says, "In the sweet solitude."

The laddie-bird says, "Till they're fit to fly," And the lassie-bird, "Yes, to the blue, blue sky."

The laddie-bird says, "Let us hie away;"— And the lassie-bird, "Yes, and begin to-day.

The laddie-bird says, "I will take this moss,"— And the lassie-bird says, "And I, this floss."


The laddie-bird says, "And we'll love so true;" And the lassie-bird, "Ah, yes, coo, coo, coo."

'Tis the old-new song that the birds have sung, Aye, the birds of every race, Since the world was planned, And came forth from the hand Of the Maker, aglow with grace.

'Tis the song they will sing till time is o'er,— 'Tis the stream that from Paradise gushed; {351} And the music that flows When the love-light glows, Will never, no, never be hushed.





[Footnote: "The great watchful I is over US through TIME and ETERNITY.]


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