The Posy Ring - A Book of Verse for Children
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The Posy Ring is a companion volume to Golden Numbers A Book of Verse for Youth Edited by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith




Kate Douglas Wiggin


Nora Archibald Smith

"A box of jewels, shop of rarities, A ring whose posy was 'My pleasure'" GEORGE HERBERT


Copyright, 1903, by McCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO.

Published, February, 1903, N Fifth Impression.


THANKS are due to the following publishers for permission to reprint poems on which they hold copyright:

Charles Scribner's Sons, for permission to use the following poems by Robert Louis Stevenson: "Windy Nights," "Where Go the Boats?" "The Little Land," "The Land of Story Books" and "Bed Time"; for the following poems by Mary Mapes Dodge: "Nearly Ready," "Now the Noisy Winds are Still," "Snowflakes," "Birdies with Broken Wings," and "Night and Day"; for the following poems by Eugene Field: "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod," and "Nightfall in Dordrecht"; for "Rockaby, Lullaby," by J. G. Holland; and for "One, Two, Three," by H. C. Bunner. G. P. Putnam's Sons, for permission to use "High and Low," by Dora Goodale. D. Appleton & Son, publishers of Bryant's Complete Poetical Works, for permission to reprint "Robert of Lincoln," by W. C. Bryant. E. P. Dutton & Co., for permission to reprint "The Birds in Spring," by Thomas Nashe. A. C. McClurg & Co., for permission to reprint "Baby Seed Song" and "Bird's Song in Spring," by E. Nesbit. The Century Company, for permission to reprint the "Seal Lullaby," by Rudyard Kipling. The "Independent," for permission to reprint "Baby Corn," Anon. Dana, Estes & Co., for permission to reprint "The Blue Jay," by Susan Hartley Swett. Small, Maynard & Co., for permission to reprint the following poems by John B. Tabb: "The Fern Song," "A Bunch of Roses," "The Child at Bethlehem." George Routledge & Sons, for permission to reprint the following poems by W. B. Rands: "The Child's World," "The Wonderful World," "Love and the Child," "Dolladine," "Dressing the Doll," "The Pedlar's Caravan," and "Little Christel"; also for "Little White Lily" and "What Would You See?" by George Macdonald, and "The Wind," by L. E. Landon. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., for the right to reprint the following poems: "Marjorie's Almanac," by T. B. Aldrich; "Dandelion," by Helen Grey Cone; "The Fairies' Shopping" and "The Christmas Silence," by Margaret Deland; "The Titmouse" and "Fable," by Ralph Waldo Emerson; "Hiawatha's Chickens" and "Hiawatha's Brothers," by Henry W. Longfellow; "The Fountain," by James Russell Lowell; "The Rivulet," by Lucy Larcom; "The Coming of Spring," by Nora Perry; "May," "The Waterfall," "Clouds," and "Bells of Christmas," by Frank Dempster Sherman; "What the Winds Bring" and "The Singer," by E. C. Stedman; "Spring," "Wild Geese," "Chanticleer," and "Little Gustava," by Celia Thaxter. Little, Brown & Co., for the right to reprint "September," by Helen Hunt Jackson; "When the Leaves Come Down," by Susan Coolidge; and "Summer Days," "A Year's Windfalls," "The Flower Folk," "There's Nothing Like the Rose," "Milking Time," "A Chill," and "A Birthday Gift," by Christina G. Rossetti. St. Nicholas, for permission to reprint "The Little Elf," by John Kendrick Bangs. The Macmillan Company, for permission to reprint "O Lady Moon," by Christina G. Rossetti. Frederick Warne & Co., for permission to reprint "By Cool Siloam's Shady Rill," by Reginald Heber. Cassell & Co., Ltd., for permission to reprint "The Last Voyage of the Fairies," by W. H. Davenport Adams.

PUBLIC NOTICE.—This is to state, That these are the specimens left at the gate Of Pinafore Palace, exact to date, In the hands of the porter, Curlypate, Who sits in his plush on a chair of state, By somebody who is a candidate For the office of Lilliput Laureate. William Brighty Rands.



LILLIPUT NOTICE. By William Brighty Rands ix


Marjorie's Almanac. By Thomas Bailey Aldrich 3 In February. By John Addington Symonds 5 March. By William Wordsworth 6 Nearly Ready. By Mary Mapes Dodge 7 Spring Song. By George Eliot 7 In April. By Elizabeth Akers 8 Spring. By Celia Thaxter 9 The Voice of Spring. By Mary Howitt 10 The Coming of Spring. By Nora Perry 11 May. By Frank Dempster Sherman 13 Spring and Summer. By "A." 14 Summer Days. By Christina G. Rossetti 15 September. By H. H. 16 How the Leaves Came Down. By Susan Coolidge 17 Winter Night. By Mary F. Butts 19 A Year's Windfalls. By Christina G. Rossetti 20


The Wonderful World. By William Brighty Rands 27 A Day. By Emily Dickinson 28 Good-Morning. By Robert Browning 29 What the Winds Bring. By Edmund Clarence Stedman 29 Lady Moon. By Lord Houghton 30 O Lady Moon. By Christina G. Rossetti 31 Windy Nights. By Robert Louis Stevenson 31 Wild Winds. By Mary F. Butts 32 Now the Noisy Winds are Still. By Mary Mapes Dodge 33 The Wind. Letitia E. Landon 33 The Fountain. By James Russell Lowell 34 The Waterfall. By Frank Dempster Sherman 35 The Voice of the Grass. By Sarah Roberts Boyle 36 The Wind in a Frolic. By William Howitt 38 Clouds. By Frank Dempster Sherman 40 Signs of Rain. By Edward Jenner 41 A Sudden Shower. By James Whitcomb Riley 43 Strange Lands. By Laurence Alma Tadema 44 Guessing Song. By Henry Johnstone 45 The Rivulet. By Lucy Larcom 46 Jack Frost. By Hannah F. Gould 47 Snowflakes. By Mary Mapes Dodge 49 The Water! The Water. By William Motherwell 49


The Swallows. By Edwin Arnold 53 The Swallow's Nest. By Edwin Arnold 53 The Birds in Spring. By Thomas Nashe 54 Robin Redbreast. By William Allingham 54 The Lark and the Rook. Unknown 56 The Snowbird. By Hezekiah Butterworth 57 Who Stole the Bird's Nest? By Lydia Maria Child 59 Answer to a Child's Question. By Samuel Taylor Coleridge 62 The Burial of the Linnet. By Juliana H. Ewing 63 The Titmouse. By Ralph Waldo Emerson 64 Birds in Summer. By Mary Howitt 65 An Epitaph on a Robin Redbreast. By Samuel Rogers 67 The Bluebird. By Emily Huntington Miller 68 Song. By John Keats 69 What Does Little Birdie Say? By Alfred, Lord Tennyson 69 The Owl. By Alfred, Lord Tennyson 70 Wild Geese. By Celia Thaxter 71 Chanticleer. By Celia Thaxter 72 The Singer. By Edmund Clarence Stedman 73 The Blue Jay. By Susan Hartley Swett 74 Robert of Lincoln. By William Cullen Bryant 75 White Butterflies. By Algernon C. Swinburne 78 The Ant and the Cricket. Unknown 78


Little White Lily. By George Macdonald 83 Violets. By Dinah Maria Mulock 85 Young Dandelion. By Dinah Maria Mulock 86 Baby Seed Song. By E. Nesbit 88 A Violet Bank. By William Shakespeare 88 There's Nothing Like the Rose. By Christina G. Rossetti 89 Snowdrops. By Laurence Alma Tadema 89 Fern Song. By John B. Tabb 90 The Violet. By Jane Taylor 90 Daffy-Down-Dilly. By Anna B. Warner 91 Baby Corn. Unknown 93 A Child's Fancy. By "A." 95 Little Dandelion. By Helen B. Bostwick 97 Dandelions. By Helen Gray Cone 98 The Flax Flower. By Mary Howitt 99 Dear Little Violets. By John Moultrie 101 Bird's Song in Spring. By E. Nesbit 102 The Tree. By Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson 102 The Daisy's Song. By John Keats 103 Song. By Thomas Love Peacock 104 For Good Luck. By Juliana Horatia Ewing 105


My Pony. By "A." 109 On a Spaniel, Called Beau, Killing a Young Bird. By William Cowper 111 Beau's Reply. By William Cowper 112 Seal Lullaby. By Rudyard Kipling 113 Milking Time. By Christina G. Rossetti 113 Thank You, Pretty Cow. By Jane Taylor 114 The Boy and the Sheep. By Ann Taylor 114 Lambs in the Meadow. By Laurence Alma Tadema 115 The Pet Lamb. By William Wordsworth 116 The Kitten, and Falling Leaves. By William Wordsworth 121


Where Go the Boats? By Robert Louis Stevenson 125 Cleanliness. By Charles and Mary Lamb 126 Wishing. By William Allingham 127 The Boy. By William Allingham 128 Infant Joy. By William Blake 129 A Blessing for the Blessed. By Laurence Alma Tadema 129 Piping Down the Valleys Wild. By William Blake 131 A Sleeping Child. By Arthur Hugh Clough 132 Birdies with Broken Wings. By Mary Mapes Dodge 133 Seven Times One. By Jean Ingelow 133 I Remember, I Remember. By Thomas Hood 135 Good-Night and Good-Morning. By Lord Houghton 136 Little Children. By Mary Howitt 137 The Angel's Whisper. By Samuel Lover 139 Little Garaine. By Sir Gilbert Parker 140 A Letter. By Matthew Prior 141 Love and the Child. By William Brighty Rands 142 Polly. By William Brighty Rands 143 A Chill. By Christina G. Rossetti 144 A Child's Laughter. By Algernon C. Swinburne 145 The World's Music. By Gabriel Setoun 146 The Little Land. By Robert Louis Stevenson 148 In a Garden. By Algernon C. Swinburne 151 Little Gustava. By Celia Thaxter 152 A Bunch of Roses. By John B. Tabb 155 The Child at Bethlehem. By John B. Tabb 155 After the Storm. By W. M. Thackeray 156 Lucy Gray. By William Wordsworth 156 Deaf and Dumb. By "A." 159 The Blind Boy. By Colley Cibber 160


A Boy's Song. By James Hogg 165 The Lost Doll. By Charles Kingsley 166 Dolladine. By William Brighty Rands 167 Dressing the Doll. By William Brighty Rands 167 The Pedlar's Caravan. By William Brighty Rands 170 A Sea-Song from the Shore. James Whitcomb Riley 171 The Land of Story-Books. By Robert Louis Stevenson 172 The City Child. By Alfred, Lord Tennyson 173 Going into Breeches. By Charles and Mary Lamb 174 Hunting Song. By Samuel Taylor Coleridge 176 Hie Away. By Sir Walter Scott 176


The Fairy Folk. By Robert Bird 181 A Fairy in Armor. By Joseph Rodman Drake 183 The Last Voyage of the Fairies. By W. H. Davenport Adams 184 A New Fern. By "A." 186 The Child and the Fairies. By "A." 187 The Little Elf. By John Kendrick Bangs 188 "One, Two, Three." By Henry C. Bunner 188 What May Happen to a Thimble. By "B." 190 Discontent. By Sarah Orne Jewett 193 The Nightingale and the Glowworm. By William Cowper 195 Thanksgiving Day. By Lydia Maria Child 196 A Thanksgiving Fable. By Oliver Herford 197 The Magpie's Nest. By Charles and Mary Lamb 198 The Owl and the Pussy-Cat. By Edward Lear 201 A Lobster Quadrille. By Lewis Carroll 202 The Fairies' Shopping. By Margaret Deland 204 Fable. By Ralph Waldo Emerson 206 A Midsummer Song. By Richard Watson Gilder 207 The Fairies of the Caldon-Low. By Mary Howitt 209 The Elf and the Dormouse. By Oliver Herford 213 Meg Merrilies. By John Keats 214 Romance. By Gabriel Setoun 215 The Cow-Boy's Song. By Anna M. Wells 217


Auld Daddy Darkness. By James Ferguson 221 Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. By Eugene Field 222 Rockaby, Lullaby. By Josiah Gilbert Holland 224 Sleep, My Treasure. By E. Nesbit 225 Lullaby of an Infant Chief. By Sir Walter Scott 226 Sweet and Low. By Alfred, Lord Tennyson 227 Old Gaelic Lullaby. Unknown 228 The Sandman. By Margaret Vandegrift 228 The Cottager to Her Infant. By Dorothy Wordsworth 230 A Charm to Call Sleep. By Henry Johnstone 231 Night. By Mary F. Butts 232 Bed-Time. By Lord Rosslyn 232 Nightfall in Dordrecht. By Eugene Field 233


All Things Bright and Beautiful. By Cecil F. Alexander 237 The Still Small Voice. By Alexander Smart 238 The Camel's Nose. By Lydia H. Sigourney 240 A Child's Grace. By Robert Burns 241 A Child's Thought of God. By Elizabeth B. Browning 241 The Lamb. By William Blake 242 Night and Day. By Mary Mapes Dodge 243 High and Low. By Dora Read Goodale 244 By Cool Siloam's Shady Rill. By Reginald Heber 244 Sheep and Lambs. By Katharine Tynan Hinkson 245 To His Saviour, a Child; A Present by a Child. By Robert Herrick 246 What Would You See? By George Macdonald 247 Corn-Fields. By Mary Howitt 248 Little Christel. By William Brighty Rands 250 A Child's Prayer. By M. Betham Edwards 252


The Adoration of the Wise Men. By Cecil F. Alexander 257 Cradle Hymn. By Isaac Watts 258 The Christmas Silence. By Margaret Deland 260 An Offertory. By Mary Mapes Dodge 261 Christmas Song. By Lydia Avery Coonley Ward 261 A Visit from St. Nicholas. By Clement C. Moore 262 The Christmas Trees. By Mary F. Butts 265 A Birthday Gift. By Christina G. Rossetti 267 A Christmas Lullaby. By John Addington Symonds 267 I Saw Three Ships. Old Carol 268 Santa Claus. Unknown 269 Neighbors of the Christ Night. By Nora Archibald Smith 271 Cradle Hymn. By Martin Luther 272 The Christmas Holly. By Eliza Cook 273

LILLIPUT NOTICE. By William Brighty Rands 274




Who comes dancing over the snow, His soft little feet all bare and rosy? Open the door, though the wild winds blow, Take the child in and make him cosy. Take him in and hold him dear, He is the wonderful glad New Year.

Dinah M. Mulock.


Marjorie's Almanac

Robins in the tree-top, Blossoms in the grass, Green things a-growing Everywhere you pass; Sudden little breezes, Showers of silver dew, Black bough and bent twig Budding out anew; Pine-tree and willow-tree, Fringed elm and larch,— Don't you think that May-time's Pleasanter than March?

Apples in the orchard Mellowing one by one; Strawberries upturning Soft cheeks to the sun; Roses faint with sweetness, Lilies fair of face, Drowsy scents and murmurs Haunting every place; Lengths of golden sunshine, Moonlight bright as day,— Don't you think that summer's Pleasanter than May?

Roger in the corn-patch Whistling negro songs; Pussy by the hearth-side Romping with the tongs; Chestnuts in the ashes Bursting through the rind; Red leaf and gold leaf Rustling down the wind; Mother "doin' peaches" All the afternoon,— Don't you think that autumn's Pleasanter than June?

Little fairy snow-flakes Dancing in the flue; Old Mr. Santa Claus, What is keeping you? Twilight and firelight Shadows come and go; Merry chime of sleigh-bells Tinkling through the snow; Mother knitting stockings (Pussy's got the ball),— Don't you think that winter's Pleasanter than all?

Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

In February

The birds have been singing to-day, And saying: "The spring is near! The sun is as warm as in May, And the deep blue heavens are clear."

The little bird on the boughs Of the sombre snow-laden pine Thinks: "Where shall I build me my house, And how shall I make it fine?

"For the season of snow is past; The mild south wind is on high; And the scent of the spring is cast From his wing as he hurries by."

The little birds twitter and cheep To their loves on the leafless larch; But seven feet deep the snow-wreaths sleep, And the year hath not worn to March.

John Addington Symonds.


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 on the mountains; There's life in the fountains; Small clouds are sailing, Blue sky prevailing; The rain is over and gone.

William Wordsworth.

Nearly Ready[A]

In the snowing and the blowing, In the cruel sleet, Little flowers begin their growing Far beneath our feet. Softly taps the Spring, and cheerly, "Darlings, are you here?" Till they answer, "We are nearly, Nearly ready, dear."

"Where is Winter, with his snowing? Tell us, Spring," they say. Then she answers, "He is going, Going on his way. Poor old Winter does not love you; But his time is past; Soon my birds shall sing above you,— Set you free at last."

Mary Mapes Dodge.

Spring Song

Spring comes hither, Buds the rose; Roses wither, Sweet spring goes.

Summer soars,— Wide-winged day; White light pours, Flies away.

Soft winds blow, Westward born; Onward go, Toward the morn.

George Eliot


[A] From "Rhymes and Jingles," by Mary Mapes Dodge. By permission of Charles Scribner's Sons.

In April

The poplar drops beside the way Its tasselled plumes of silver-gray; The chestnut pouts its great brown buds Impatient for the laggard May.

The honeysuckles lace the wall, The hyacinths grow fair and tall; And mellow sun and pleasant wind And odorous bees are over all.

Elizabeth Akers.


The alder by the river Shakes out her powdery curls; The willow buds in silver For little boys and girls.

The little birds fly over, And oh, how sweet they sing! To tell the happy children That once again 'tis spring.

The gay green grass comes creeping So soft beneath their feet; The frogs begin to ripple A music clear and sweet.

And buttercups are coming, And scarlet columbine; And in the sunny meadows The dandelions shine.

And just as many daisies As their soft hands can hold The little ones may gather, All fair in white and gold.

Here blows the warm red clover, There peeps the violet blue; O happy little children, God made them all for you!

Celia Thaxter.

The Voice of Spring

I am coming, I am coming! Hark! the little bee is humming; See, the lark is soaring high In the blue and sunny sky; And the gnats are on the wing, Wheeling round in airy ring.

See, the yellow catkins cover All the slender willows over! And on the banks of mossy green Star-like primroses are seen; And, their clustering leaves below, White and purple violets blow.

Hark! the new-born lambs are bleating, And the cawing rooks are meeting In the elms,—a noisy crowd; All the birds are singing loud; And the first white butterfly In the sunshine dances by.

Look around thee, look around! Flowers in all the fields abound; Every running stream is bright; All the orchard trees are white; And each small and waving shoot Promises sweet flowers and fruit.

Turn thine eyes to earth and heaven: God for thee the spring has given, Taught the birds their melodies, Clothed the earth, and cleared the skies, For thy pleasure or thy food: Pour thy soul in gratitude.

Mary Howitt.

The Coming of Spring

There's something in the air That's new and sweet and rare— A scent of summer things, A whir as if of wings.

There's something, too, that's new In the color of the blue That's in the morning sky, Before the sun is high.

And though on plain and hill 'Tis winter, winter still, There's something seems to say That winter's had its day.

And all this changing tint, This whispering stir and hint Of bud and bloom and wing, Is the coming of the spring.

And to-morrow or to-day The brooks will break away From their icy, frozen sleep, And run, and laugh, and leap.

And the next thing, in the woods, The catkins in their hoods Of fur and silk will stand, A sturdy little band.

And the tassels soft and fine Of the hazel will entwine, And the elder branches show Their buds against the snow.

So, silently but swift, Above the wintry drift, The long days gain and gain, Until on hill and plain,—

Once more, and yet once more, Returning as before, We see the bloom of birth Make young again the earth.

Nora Perry.


May shall make the world anew; Golden sun and silver dew, Money minted in the sky, Shall the earth's new garments buy. May shall make the orchards bloom; And the blossoms' fine perfume Shall set all the honey-bees Murmuring among the trees. May shall make the bud appear Like a jewel, crystal clear, 'Mid the leaves upon the limb Where the robin lilts his hymn. May shall make the wild flowers tell Where the shining snowflakes fell; Just as though each snow-flake's heart, By some secret, magic art, Were transmuted to a flower In the sunlight and the shower. Is there such another, pray, Wonder-making month as May?

Frank Dempster Sherman.

Spring and Summer

Spring is growing up, Is not it a pity? She was such a little thing, And so very pretty! Summer is extremely grand, We must pay her duty, (But it is to little Spring That she owes her beauty!)

All the buds are blown, Trees are dark and shady, (It was Spring who dress'd them, though, Such a little lady!) And the birds sing loud and sweet Their enchanting hist'ries, (It was Spring who taught them, though, Such a singing mistress!)

From the glowing sky Summer shines above us; Spring was such a little dear, But will Summer love us? She is very beautiful, With her grown-up blisses, Summer we must bow before; Spring we coaxed with kisses!

Spring is growing up, Leaving us so lonely, In the place of little Spring We have Summer only! Summer with her lofty airs, And her stately faces, In the place of little Spring, With her childish graces!


Summer Days

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.

Christina G. Rossetti.


The goldenrod 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 brookside 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.

H. H.

How the Leaves Came Down

I'll tell you how the leaves came down. The great Tree to his children said, "You're getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown, Yes, very sleepy, little Red; It is quite time you went to bed."

"Ah!" begged each silly, pouting leaf, "Let us a little longer stay; Dear Father Tree, behold our grief, 'Tis such a very pleasant day We do not want to go away."

So, just for one more merry day To the great Tree the leaflets clung, Frolicked and danced and had their way, Upon the autumn breezes swung, Whispering all their sports among,

"Perhaps the great Tree will forget And let us stay until the spring, If we all beg and coax and fret." But the great Tree did no such thing; He smiled to hear their whispering.

"Come, children all, to bed," he cried; And ere the leaves could urge their prayer He shook his head, and far and wide, Fluttering and rustling everywhere, Down sped the leaflets through the air.

I saw them; on the ground they lay, Golden and red, a huddled swarm, Waiting till one from far away, White bed-clothes heaped upon her arm, Should come to wrap them safe and warm.

The great bare Tree looked down and smiled. "Good-night, dear little leaves," he said; And from below each sleepy child Replied "Good-night," and murmured, "It is so nice to go to bed."

Susan Coolidge.

Winter Night

Blow, wind, blow! Drift the flying snow! Send it twirling, whirling overhead! There's a bedroom in a tree Where, snug as snug can be, The squirrel nests in his cosey bed.

Shriek, wind, shriek! Make the branches creak! Battle with the boughs till break o' day! In a snow-cave warm and tight, Through the icy winter night The rabbit sleeps the peaceful hours away.

Call, wind, call, In entry and in hall, Straight from off the mountain white and wild! Soft purrs the pussy-cat On her little fluffy mat, And beside her nestles close her furry child.

Scold, wind, scold, So bitter and so bold! Shake the windows with your tap, tap, tap! With half-shut, dreamy eyes The drowsy baby lies Cuddled closely in his mother's lap.

Mary F. Butts.

A Year's Windfalls

On the wind of January Down flits the snow, Travelling from the frozen North As cold as it can blow. Poor robin redbreast, Look where he comes; Let him in to feel your fire, And toss him of your crumbs.

On the wind in February Snowflakes float still, Half inclined to turn to rain, Nipping, dripping, chill. Then the thaws swell the streams, And swollen rivers swell the sea:— If the winter ever ends How pleasant it will be.

In the wind of windy March The catkins drop down, Curly, caterpillar-like, Curious green and brown. With concourse of nest-building birds And leaf-buds by the way, We begin to think of flowers And life and nuts some day.

With the gusts of April Rich fruit-tree blossoms fall, On the hedged-in orchard-green, From the southern wall. Apple-trees and pear-trees Shed petals white or pink, Plum-trees and peach-trees; While sharp showers sink and sink.

Little brings the May breeze Beside pure scent of flowers, While all things wax and nothing wanes In lengthening daylight hours. Across the hyacinth beds The wind lags warm and sweet, Across the hawthorn tops, Across the blades of wheat.

In the wind of sunny June Thrives the red rose crop, Every day fresh blossoms blow While the first leaves drop; White rose and yellow rose And moss rose choice to find, And the cottage cabbage-rose Not one whit behind.

On the blast of scorched July Drives the pelting hail, From thunderous lightning-clouds, that blot Blue heaven grown lurid-pale. Weedy waves are tossed ashore, Sea-things strange to sight Gasp upon the barren shore And fade away in light.

In the parching August wind Corn-fields bow the head, Sheltered in round valley depths, On low hills outspread. Early leaves drop loitering down Weightless on the breeze, First fruits of the year's decay From the withering trees.

In brisk wind of September The heavy-headed fruits Shake upon their bending boughs And drop from the shoots; Some glow golden in the sun, Some show green and streaked, Some set forth a purple bloom, Some blush rosy-cheeked.

In strong blast of October At the equinox, Stirred up in his hollow bed Broad ocean rocks; Plunge the ships on his bosom, Leaps and plunges the foam, It's oh! for mothers' sons at sea, That they were safe at home.

In slack wind of November The fog forms and shifts; All the world comes out again When the fog lifts. Loosened from their sapless twigs Leaves drop with every gust; Drifting, rustling, out of sight In the damp or dust.

Last of all, December, The year's sands nearly run, Speeds on the shortest day, Curtails the sun; With its bleak raw wind Lays the last leaves low, Brings back the nightly frosts, Brings back the snow.

Christina G. Rossetti.



Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful World, With the wonderful water round you curled, And the wonderful grass upon your breast, World, you are beautifully drest.

William Brighty Rands.


The Wonderful World

Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful World, With the wonderful water round you curled, And the wonderful grass upon your breast, World, you are beautifully drest.

The wonderful air is over me, And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree— It walks on the water, and whirls the mills, And talks to itself on the top of the hills.

You friendly Earth, how far do you go, With the wheat-fields that nod and the rivers that flow, With cities and gardens, and cliffs and isles, And people upon you for thousands of miles?

Ah! you are so great, and I am so small, I hardly can think of you, World, at all; And yet, when I said my prayers to-day, My mother kissed me, and said, quite gay,

"If the wonderful World is great to you, And great to father and mother, too, You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot! You can love and think, and the Earth cannot!"

William Brighty Rands.

A Day

I'll tell you how the sun rose, A ribbon at a time. The steeples swam in amethyst, The news like squirrels ran.

The hills untied their bonnets, The bobolinks begun. Then I said softly to myself, "That must have been the sun!"

* * * * *

But how he set, I know not. There seemed a purple stile Which little yellow boys and girls Were climbing all the while

Till when they reached the other side, A dominie in gray Put gently up the evening bars, And led the flock away.

Emily Dickinson.


The year's at the Spring, And day's at the morn; Morning's at seven; The hill-side's dew-pearled; The lark's on the wing; The snail's on the thorn; God's in his heaven— All's right with the world.

Robert Browning.

What the Winds Bring

Which is the Wind that brings the cold? The North-Wind, Freddy, and all the snow; And the sheep will scamper into the fold When the North begins to blow.

Which is the Wind that brings the heat? The South-Wind, Katy; and corn will grow, And peaches redden for you to eat, When the South begins to blow.

Which is the Wind that brings the rain? The East-Wind, Arty; and farmers know The cows come shivering up the lane, When the East begins to blow.

Which is the Wind that brings the flowers? The West-Wind, Bessy; and soft and low The birdies sing in the summer hours, When the West begins to blow.

Edmund Clarence Stedman.

Lady Moon

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 forever 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."

Lord Houghton.

O Lady Moon[A]

O Lady Moon, your horns point toward the east: Shine, be increased; O Lady Moon, your horns point toward the west: Wane, be at rest.

Christina G. Rossetti.

Windy Nights[B]

Whenever the moon and stars are set, Whenever the wind is high, All night long in the dark and wet, A man goes riding by, Late at night when the fires are out, Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud, And ships are tossed at sea, By, on the highway, low and loud, By at the gallop goes he. By at the gallop he goes, and then By he comes back at the gallop again.

Robert Louis Stevenson.


[A] From "Sing-Song," by Christina G. Rossetti. By permission of the Macmillan Company.

[B] From "A Child's Garden of Verses," by Robert Louis Stevenson. By permission of Charles Scribner's Sons.

Wild Winds

Oh, oh, how the wild winds blow! Blow high, Blow low, And whirlwinds go, To chase the little leaves that fly— Fly low and high, To hollow and to steep hill-side; They shiver in the dreary weather, And creep in little heaps together, And nestle close and try to hide.

Oh, oh, how the wild winds blow! Blow low, Blow high, And whirlwinds try To find a crevice—to find a crack, They whirl to the front; they whirl to the back. But Tommy and Will and the baby together Are snug and safe from the wintry weather. All the winds that blow Cannot touch a toe— Cannot twist or twirl One silken curl. They may rattle the doors in a noisy pack, But the blazing fires will drive them back.

Mary F. Butts.

Now the Noisy Winds Are Still[A]

Now the noisy winds are still; April's coming up the hill! All the spring is in her train, Led by shining ranks of rain; Pit, pat, patter, clatter, Sudden sun, and clatter, patter!— First the blue, and then the shower; Bursting bud, and smiling flower; Brooks set free with tinkling ring; Birds too full of song to sing; Crisp old leaves astir with pride, Where the timid violets hide,— All things ready with a will,— April's coming up the hill!

Mary Mapes Dodge.

The Wind

The wind has a language, I would I could learn; Sometimes 'tis soothing, and sometimes 'tis stern; Sometimes it comes like a low, sweet song, And all things grow calm, as the sound floats along; And the forest is lulled by the dreamy strain; And slumber sinks down on the wandering main; And its crystal arms are folded in rest, And the tall ship sleeps on its heaving breast.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon.


[A] From "Along the Way," by Mary Mapes Dodge. By permission of Charles Scribner's Sons.

The Fountain

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!

James Russell Lowell.

The Waterfall

Tinkle, tinkle! Listen well! Like a fairy silver bell In the distance ringing, Lightly swinging In the air; 'Tis the water in the dell Where the elfin minstrels dwell, Falling in a rainbow sprinkle, Dropping stars that brightly twinkle, Bright and fair, On the darkling pool below, Making music so; 'Tis the water elves who play On their lutes of spray. Tinkle, tinkle! Like a fairy silver bell; Like a pebble in a shell; Tinkle, tinkle! Listen well!

Frank Dempster Sherman.

The Voice of the Grass

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere; By the dusty roadside, On the sunny hill-side, Close by the noisy brook, In every shady nook, I come creeping, creeping everywhere.

Here I come creeping, smiling everywhere; All around the open door, Where sit the aged poor; Here where the children play, In the bright and merry May, I come creeping, creeping everywhere.

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere; In the noisy city street My pleasant face you'll meet, Cheering the sick at heart Toiling his busy part,— Silently creeping, creeping everywhere.

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere; You cannot see me coming, Nor hear my low sweet humming; For in the starry night, And the glad morning light, I come quietly creeping everywhere.

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere; More welcome than the flowers In summer's pleasant hours; The gentle cow is glad, And the merry bird not sad, To see me creeping, creeping everywhere.

* * * * *

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere; My humble song of praise Most joyfully I raise To him at whose command I beautify the land, Creeping, silently creeping everywhere.

Sarah Roberts Boyle.

The Wind in a Frolic

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, Creaking the signs, and scattering down Shutters, and whisking, with merciless squalls, Old women's bonnets and gingerbread stalls. There never was heard a much lustier shout, As the apples and oranges tumbled about; And the urchins that stand with their thievish eyes Forever on watch, ran off with each prize.

Then away to the field it went blustering and humming, And the cattle all wondered whatever was coming. It plucked by their tails the grave matronly cows, And tossed the colts' manes all about their brows, Till offended at such a familiar salute, They all turned their backs and stood silently mute. So on it went capering and playing its pranks; Whistling with reeds on the broad river-banks; Puffing the birds as they sat on the spray, Or the traveller grave on the king's highway. It was not too nice to bustle 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 and the gentleman's cloak. Through the forest it roared, and cried gayly, "Now, You sturdy old oaks, I'll make you bow!" And it made them bow without more ado, Or it cracked their branches through and through.

Then it rushed like a monster o'er cottage and farm, Striking their inmates 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 passed 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 shoe in the mud.

William Howitt.


The sky is full of clouds to-day, And idly to and fro, Like sheep across the pasture, they Across the heavens go. I hear the wind with merry noise— Around the housetops sweep, And dream it is the shepherd boys, They're driving home their sheep.

The clouds move faster now; and see! The west is red and gold. Each sheep seems hastening to be The first within the fold. I watch them hurry on until The blue is clear and deep, And dream that far beyond the hill The shepherds fold their sheep.

Then in the sky the trembling stars Like little flowers shine out, While Night puts up the shadow bars, And darkness falls about. I hear the shepherd wind's good-night— "Good-night and happy sleep!" And dream that in the east, all white, Slumber the clouds, the sheep.

Frank Dempster Sherman.

Signs of Rain

The hollow winds begin to blow, The clouds look black, the glass is low, The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep, The spiders from their cobwebs peep: Last night the sun went pale to bed, The moon in halos hid her head; The boding shepherd heaves a sigh, For, see, a rainbow spans the sky: The walls are damp, the ditches smell, Closed is the pink-eyed pimpernel. Hark how the chairs and tables crack! Old Betty's joints are on the rack; Loud quack the ducks, the peacocks cry, The distant hills are seeming nigh. How restless are the snorting swine; The busy flies disturb the kine; Low o'er the grass the swallow wings, The cricket too, how sharp he sings; Puss on the hearth, with velvet paws, Sits wiping o'er her whiskered jaws. Through the clear stream the fishes rise, And nimbly catch the incautious flies. The glow-worms, numerous and bright, Illumed the dewy dell last night. At dusk the squalid toad was seen, Hopping and crawling o'er the green; The whirling wind the dust obeys, And in the rapid eddy plays; The frog has changed his yellow vest, And in a russet coat is dressed. Though June, the air is cold and still, The mellow blackbird's voice is shrill. My dog, so altered in his taste, Quits mutton-bones on grass to feast; And see yon rooks, how odd their flight, They imitate the gliding kite, And seem precipitate to fall, As if they felt the piercing ball. 'Twill surely rain, I see with sorrow, Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow.

Edward Jenner.

A Sudden Shower

Barefooted boys scud up the street, Or scurry under sheltering sheds; And school-girl faces, pale and sweet, Gleam from the shawls about their heads.

Doors bang; and mother-voices call From alien homes; and rusty gates Are slammed; and high above it all The thunder grim reverberates.

And then abrupt,—the rain, the rain! The earth lies gasping; and the eyes Behind the streaming window-panes Smile at the trouble of the skies.

The highway smokes, sharp echoes ring; The cattle bawl and cow-bells clank; And into town comes galloping The farmer's horse, with steaming flank.

The swallow dips beneath the eaves, And flirts his plumes and folds his wings; And under the catawba leaves The caterpillar curls and clings.

The bumble-bee is pelted down The wet stem of the hollyhock; And sullenly in spattered brown The cricket leaps the garden walk.

Within, the baby claps his hands And crows with rapture strange and vague; Without, beneath the rosebush stands A dripping rooster on one leg.

James Whitcomb Riley.

Strange Lands

Where do you come from, Mr. Jay? "From the land of Play, from the land of Play." And where can that be, Mr. Jay? "Far away—far away."

Where do you come from, Mrs. Dove? "From the land of Love, from the land of Love." And how do you get there, Mrs. Dove? "Look above—look above."

Where do you come from, Baby Miss? "From the land of Bliss, from the land of Bliss." And what is the way there, Baby Miss? "Mother's kiss—mother's kiss."

Laurence Alma Tadema.

Guessing Song

Oh ho! oh ho! Pray, who can I be? I sweep o'er the land, I scour o'er the sea; I cuff the tall trees till they bow down their heads, And I rock the wee birdies asleep in their beds. Oh ho! oh ho! And who can I be, That sweep o'er the land and scour o'er the sea?

I rumple the breast of the gray-headed daw, I tip the rook's tail up and make him cry "caw"; But though I love fun, I'm so big and so strong, At a puff of my breath the great ships sail along. Oh ho! oh ho! And who can I be, That sweep o'er the land and sail o'er the sea?

I swing all the weather-cocks this way and that, I play hare-and-hounds with a runaway hat; But however I wander, I never can stray, For go where I will, I've a free right of way! Oh ho! oh ho! And who can I be, That sweep o'er the land and scour o'er the sea?

I skim o'er the heather, I dance up the street, I've foes that I laugh at, and friends that I greet; I'm known in the country, I'm named in the town, For all the world over extends my renown. Oh ho! oh ho! And who can I be, That sweep o'er the land and scour o'er the sea?

Henry Johnstone.

The Rivulet

Run, little rivulet, run! Summer is fairly begun. Bear to the meadow the hymn of the pines, And the echo that rings where the waterfall shines; Run, little rivulet, run!

Run, little rivulet, run! Sing to the fields of the sun That wavers in emerald, shimmers in gold, Where you glide from your rocky ravine, crystal-cold; Run, little rivulet, run!

Run, little rivulet, run! Sing of the flowers, every one,— Of the delicate harebell and violet blue; Of the red mountain rose-bud, all dripping with dew; Run, little rivulet, run!

Run, little rivulet, run! Carry the perfume you won From the lily, that woke when the morning was gray, To the white waiting moonbeam adrift on the bay; Run, little rivulet, run!

Run, little rivulet, run! Stay not till summer is done! Carry the city the mountain-birds' glee; Carry the joy of the hills to the sea; Run, little rivulet, run!

Lucy Larcom.

Jack Frost

The Frost looked forth on a still, clear night, And whispered, "Now, I shall be out of sight; So, through the valley, and over the height, In silence I'll take my way. I will not go on like that blustering train, The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain, That make such a bustle and noise in vain; But I'll be as busy as they!"

So he flew to the mountain, and powdered its crest. He lit on the trees, and their boughs he dressed With diamonds and pearls; and over the breast Of the quivering lake, he spread A coat of mail, that it need not fear The glittering point of many a spear Which he hung on its margin, far and near, Where a rock could rear its head.

He went to the window of those who slept, And over each pane like a fairy crept: Wherever he breathed, wherever he stepped, By the light of the morn were seen Most beautiful things!—there were flowers and trees, There were bevies of birds, and swarms of bees; There were cities and temples and towers; and these All pictured in silvery sheen!

But he did one thing that was hardly fair— He peeped in the cupboard: and finding there That all had forgotten for him to prepare. "Now, just to set them a-thinking, I'll bite this basket of fruit," said he, "This costly pitcher I'll burst in three! And the glass of water they've left for me, Shall 'tchick' to tell them I'm drinking."

Hannah F. Gould.


Whenever a snowflake leaves the sky, It turns and turns to say "Good-by! Good-by, dear clouds, so cool and gray!" Then lightly travels on its way.

And when a snowflake finds a tree, "Good-day!" it says—"Good-day to thee! Thou art so bare and lonely, dear, I'll rest and call my comrades here."

But when a snowflake, brave and meek, Lights on a rosy maiden's cheek, It starts—"How warm and soft the day! 'Tis summer!"—and it melts away.

Mary Mapes Dodge.

The Water! the Water!

The Water! the Water! The joyous brook for me, That tuneth through the quiet night Its ever-living glee. The Water! the Water! That sleepless, merry heart, Which gurgles on unstintedly, And loveth to impart, To all around it, some small measure Of its own most perfect pleasure.

The Water! the Water! The gentle stream for me, That gushes from the old gray stone Beside the alder-tree. The Water! the Water! That ever-bubbling spring I loved and look'd on while a child, In deepest wondering,— And ask'd it whence it came and went, And when its treasures would be spent.

The Water! the Water! The merry, wanton brook That bent itself to pleasure me, Like mine old shepherd crook. The Water! the Water! That sang so sweet at noon, And sweeter still all night, to win Smiles from the pale proud moon, And from the little fairy faces That gleam in heaven's remotest places.

* * * * *

William Motherwell.


[A] From "Along the Way," by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons.



Then the little Hiawatha Learned of every bird its language, Learned their names and all their secrets, How they built their nests in Summer, Where they hid themselves in Winter, Talked with them whene'er he met them, Called them "Hiawatha's Chickens."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


The Swallows

Gallant and gay in their doublets gray, All at a flash like the darting of flame, Chattering Arabic, African, Indian— Certain of springtime, the swallows came!

Doublets of gray silk and surcoats of purple, And ruffs of russet round each little throat, Wearing such garb they had crossed the waters, Mariners sailing with never a boat.

Edwin Arnold.

The Swallow's Nest

Day after day her nest she moulded, Building with magic, love and mud, A gray cup made by a thousand journeys, And the tiny beak was trowel and hod.

Edwin Arnold.

The Birds in Spring

Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king; Then blooms each thing, then Maids dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing— Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The Palm and May make country houses gay, Lambs frisk and play, the Shepherds pipe all day, And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay— Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The Fields breathe sweet, the Daisies kiss our feet, Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit, In every Street these Tunes our ears do greet— Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo! Spring, the sweet Spring!

Thomas Nashe.

Robin Redbreast

(A Child's Song)

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.

William Allingham.

The Lark and the Rook

"Good-night, Sir Rook!" said a little lark. "The daylight fades; it will soon be dark; I've bathed my wings in the sun's last ray; I've sung my hymn to the parting day; So now I haste to my quiet nook In yon dewy meadow—good-night, Sir Rook!"

"Good-night, poor Lark," said his titled friend With a haughty toss and a distant bend; "I also go to my rest profound, But not to sleep on the cold, damp ground. The fittest place for a bird like me Is the topmost bough of yon tall pine-tree.

"I opened my eyes at peep of day And saw you taking your upward way, Dreaming your fond romantic dreams, An ugly speck in the sun's bright beams; Soaring too high to be seen or heard; And I said to myself: 'What a foolish bird!'

"I trod the park with a princely air, I filled my crop with the richest fare; I cawed all day 'mid a lordly crew, And I made more noise in the world than you! The sun shone forth on my ebon wing; I looked and wondered—good-night, poor thing!"

"Good-night, once more," said the lark's sweet voice. "I see no cause to repent my choice; You build your nest in the lofty pine, But is your slumber more sweet than mine? You make more noise in the world than I, But whose is the sweeter minstrelsy?"


The Snowbird

In the rosy light trills the gay swallow, The thrush, in the roses below; The meadow-lark sings in the meadow, But the snowbird sings in the snow. Ah me! Chickadee! The snowbird sings in the snow!

The blue martin trills in the gable, The wren, in the gourd below; In the elm flutes the golden robin, But the snowbird sings in the snow. Ah me! Chickadee! The snowbird sings in the snow!

High wheels the gray wing of the osprey, The wing of the sparrow drops low; In the mist dips the wing of the robin, And the snowbird's wing in the snow. Ah me! Chickadee! The snowbird sings in the snow.

I love the high heart of the osprey, The meek heart of the thrush below, The heart of the lark in the meadow, And the snowbird's heart in the snow. But dearest to me, Chickadee! Chickadee! Is that true little heart in the snow.

Hezekiah Butterworth.

Who Stole the Bird's Nest?

"To-whit! to-whit! to-whee! Will you listen to me? Who stole four eggs I laid, And the nice nest I made?"

"Not I," said the cow, "Moo-oo! Such a thing I'd never do. I gave you a wisp of hay, But didn't take your nest away. Not I," said the cow, "Moo-oo! Such a thing I'd never do."

"To-whit! to-whit! to-whee! Will you listen to me? Who stole four eggs I laid, And the nice nest I made?"

"Bob-o'-link! Bob-o'-link! Now what do you think? Who stole a nest away From the plum-tree, to-day?"

"Not I," said the dog, "Bow-wow! I wouldn't be so mean, anyhow! I gave hairs the nest to make, But the nest I did not take. Not I," said the dog, "Bow-wow! I'm not so mean, anyhow."

"To-whit! to-whit! to-whee! Will you listen to me? Who stole four eggs I laid, And the nice nest I made?"

"Bob-o'-link! Bob-o'-link! Now what do you think? Who stole a nest away From the plum-tree, to-day?"

"Coo-coo! Coo-coo! Coo-coo! Let me speak a word, too! Who stole that pretty nest From little yellow-breast?"

"Not I," said the sheep; "Oh, no! I wouldn't treat a poor bird so. I gave wool the nest to line, But the nest was none of mine. Baa! Baa!" said the sheep, "Oh, no I wouldn't treat a poor bird so."

"To-whit! to-whit! to-whee! Will you listen to me? Who stole four eggs I laid, And the nice nest I made?"

"Bob-o'-link! Bob-o'-link! Now what do you think? Who stole a nest away From the plum-tree, to-day?"

"Coo-coo! Coo-coo! Coo-coo! Let me speak a word, too! Who stole that pretty nest From little yellow-breast?"

"Caw! Caw!" cried the crow; "I should like to know What thief took away A bird's nest, to-day?"

"Cluck! Cluck!" said the hen; "Don't ask me again, Why I haven't a chick Would do such a trick. We all gave her a feather, And she wove them together. I'd scorn to intrude On her and her brood. Cluck! Cluck!" said the hen, "Don't ask me again."

"Chirr-a-whirr! Chirr-a-whirr! All the birds make a stir! Let us find out his name, And all cry 'For shame!'"

"I would not rob a bird," Said little Mary Green; "I think I never heard Of anything so mean."

"It is very cruel, too," Said little Alice Neal; "I wonder if he knew How sad the bird would feel?"

A little boy hung down his head, And went and hid behind the bed, For he stole that pretty nest From poor little yellow-breast; And he felt so full of shame, He didn't like to tell his name.

Lydia Maria Child.

Answer to a Child's Question

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; Then 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."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The Burial of the Linnet

Found in the garden dead in his beauty— Oh that a linnet should die in the spring! Bury him, comrades, in pitiful duty, Muffle the dinner-bell, solemnly ring.

Bury him kindly, up in the corner; Bird, beast, and goldfish are sepulchred there Bid the black kitten march as chief mourner, Waving her tail like a plume in the air.

Bury him nobly—next to the donkey; Fetch the old banner, and wave it about; Bury him deeply—think of the monkey, Shallow his grave, and the dogs got him out.

Bury him softly—white wool around him, Kiss his poor feathers—the first kiss and last; Tell his poor widow kind friends have found him: Plant his poor grave with whatever grows fast.

Farewell, sweet singer! dead in thy beauty, Silent through summer, though other birds sing, Bury him, comrades, in pitiful duty, Muffle the dinner-bell, mournfully ring.

Juliana Horatia Ewing.

The Titmouse

. . . . Piped a tiny voice hard by, Gay and polite, a cheerful cry, Chic-chicadeedee! 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."

This poet, though he live apart, Moved by his hospitable heart, Sped, when I passed his sylvan fort, To do the honors of his court, As fits a feathered lord of land; Flew near, with soft wing grazed my hand; Hopped on the bough, then, darting low, Prints his small impress on the snow, Shows feats of his gymnastic play, Head downward, clinging to the spray,

* * * * *

Here was this atom in full breath, Hurling defiance at vast death. This scrap of valor, just for play, Fronts the north wind in waistcoat gray.

* * * * *

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Birds in Summer

How pleasant the life of a bird must be, Flitting about in each leafy tree; In the leafy trees so broad and tall, Like a green and beautiful palace hall, With its airy chambers, light and boon, That open to sun, and stars, and moon; That open unto the bright blue sky, And the frolicsome winds as they wander by!

They have left their nests in the forest bough; Those homes of delight they need not now; And the young and old they wander out, And traverse the green world round about; And hark at the top of this leafy hall, How, one to another, they lovingly call! "Come up, come up!" they seem to say, "Where the topmost twigs in the breezes play!"

"Come up, come up, for the world is fair, Where the merry leaves dance in the summer air!" And the birds below give back the cry, "We come, we come to the branches high!" How pleasant the life of the birds must be, Living above in a leafy tree! And away through the air what joy to go, And to look on the green, bright earth below!

How pleasant the life of a bird must be, Skimming about on the breezy sea, Cresting the billows like silvery foam, Then wheeling away to its cliff-built home! What joy it must be to sail, upborne, By a strong free wing, through the rosy morn, To meet the young sun, face to face, And pierce, like a shaft, the boundless space!

To pass through the bowers of the silver cloud; To sing in the thunder halls aloud: To spread out the wings for a wild, free flight With the upper cloud-winds,—oh, what delight! Oh, what would I give, like a bird, to go, Right on through the arch of the sun-lit bow, And see how the water-drops are kissed Into green and yellow and amethyst.

How pleasant the life of a bird must be, Wherever it listeth, there to flee; To go, when a joyful fancy calls, Dashing down 'mong the waterfalls; Then wheeling about, with its mate at play, Above and below, and among the spray, Hither and thither, with screams as wild As the laughing mirth of a rosy child.

What joy it must be, like a living breeze, To flutter about 'mid the flowering trees; Lightly to soar and to see beneath, The wastes of the blossoming purple heath, And the yellow furze, like fields of gold, That gladden some fairy region old! On mountain-tops, on the billowy sea, On the leafy stems of the forest-tree, How pleasant the life of a bird must be!

Mary Howitt.

An Epitaph on a Robin Redbreast

Tread lightly here; for here, 'tis said, When piping winds are hush'd around, A small note wakes from underground, Where now his tiny bones are laid.

No more in lone or leafless groves, With ruffled wing and faded breast, His friendless, homeless spirit roves; Gone to the world where birds are blest!

Where never cat glides o'er the green, Or school-boy's giant form is seen; But love, and joy, and smiling Spring Inspire their little souls to sing!

Samuel Rogers.

The Bluebird

I know the song that the bluebird is singing, Out in the apple-tree where he is swinging. Brave little fellow! the skies may be dreary, Nothing cares he while his heart is so cheery.

Hark! how the music leaps out from his throat! Hark! was there ever so merry a note? Listen awhile, and you'll hear what he's saying, Up in the apple-tree, swinging and swaying:

"Dear little blossoms, down under the snow, You must be weary of winter, I know; Hark! while I sing you a message of cheer, Summer is coming and spring-time is here!

"Little white snowdrop, I pray you arise; Bright yellow crocus, come, open your eyes; Sweet little violets hid from the cold, Put on your mantles of purple and gold; Daffodils, daffodils! say, do you hear? Summer is coming, and spring-time is here!"

Mrs. Emily Huntington Miller.


I had a dove and the sweet dove died; And I have thought it died of grieving: O, what could it grieve for? Its feet were tied With a silken thread of my own hand's weaving; Sweet little red feet! why should you die— Why should you leave me, sweet bird! why? You lived alone in the forest-tree, Why, pretty thing! would you not live with me? I kiss'd you oft and gave you white peas; Why not live sweetly, as in the green trees?

John Keats.

What Does Little Birdie Say?

What does little birdie say, In her nest at peep of day? "Let me fly," says little birdie, "Mother, let me fly away."

Birdie, rest a little longer, Till the little wings are stronger So she rests a little longer, Then she flies away.

What does little baby say, In her bed at peep of day? Baby says, like little birdie, "Let me rise and fly away."

Baby, sleep a little longer, Till the little limbs are stronger. If she sleeps a little longer, Baby, too, shall fly away.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The Owl

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.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Wild Geese

The wild wind blows, the sun shines, the birds sing loud, The blue, blue sky is flecked with fleecy dappled cloud, Over earth's rejoicing fields the children dance and sing, And the frogs pipe in chorus, "It is spring! It is spring!"

The grass comes, the flower laughs where lately lay the snow, O'er the breezy hill-top hoarsely calls the crow, By the flowing river the alder catkins swing, And the sweet song-sparrow cries, "Spring! It is spring!"

Hark, what a clamor goes winging through the sky! Look, children! Listen to the sound so wild and high! Like a peal of broken bells,—kling, klang, kling,— Far and high the wild geese cry, "Spring! It is spring!"

Bear the winter off with you, O wild geese dear! Carry all the cold away, far away from here; Chase the snow into the north, O strong of heart and wing, While we share the robin's rapture, crying "Spring! It is spring!"

Celia Thaxter.


I wake! I feel the day is near; I hear the red cock crowing! He cries "'Tis dawn!" How sweet and clear His cheerful call comes to my ear, While light is slowly growing.

The white snow gathers flake on flake; I hear the red cock crowing! Is anybody else awake To see the winter morning break, While thick and fast 'tis snowing?

I think the world is all asleep; I hear the red cock crowing! Out of the frosty pane I peep; The drifts are piled so wide and deep, And wild the wind is blowing!

Nothing I see has shape or form; I hear the red cock crowing! But that dear voice comes through the storm To greet me in my nest so warm, As if the sky were glowing!

A happy little child, I lie And hear the red cock crowing. The day is dark. I wonder why His voice rings out so brave and high, With gladness overflowing.

Celia Thaxter.

The Singer

O Lark! sweet lark! Where learn you all your minstrelsy? What realms are those to which you fly? While robins feed their young from dawn till dark, You soar on high— Forever in the sky.

O child! dear child! Above the clouds I lift my wing To hear the bells of Heaven ring; Some of their music, though my flights be wild, To Earth I bring; Then let me soar and sing!

Edmund Clarence Stedman.

The Blue Jay

O Blue Jay up in the maple-tree, Shaking your throat with such bursts of glee, How did you happen to be so blue? Did you steal a bit of the lake for your crest, And fasten blue violets into your vest? Tell me, I pray you,—tell me true!

Did you dip your wings in azure dye, When April began to paint the sky, That was pale with the winter's stay? Or were you hatched from a bluebell bright, 'Neath the warm, gold breast of a sunbeam light, By the river one blue spring day?

O Blue Jay up in the maple-tree, A-tossing your saucy head at me, With ne'er a word for my questioning, Pray, cease for a moment your "ting-a-link," And hear when I tell you what I think,— You bonniest bit of the spring.

I think when the fairies made the flowers, To grow in these mossy fields of ours, Periwinkles and violets rare, There was left of the spring's own color, blue, Plenty to fashion a flower whose hue Would be richer than all and as fair.

So, putting their wits together, they Made one great blossom so bright and gay, The lily beside it seemed blurred; And then they said, "We will toss it in air; So many blue blossoms grow everywhere, Let this pretty one be a bird!"

Susan Hartley Swett.

Robert of Lincoln[A]

Merrily swinging on brier and weed, Near to the nest of his little dame, Over the mountain-side or mead, Robert of Lincoln is telling his name: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink, Snug and safe is this nest of ours, Hidden among the summer flowers, Chee, chee, chee.

Robert of Lincoln is gayly drest, Wearing a bright, black wedding-coat; White are his shoulders and white his crest, Hear him call, in his merry note, Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink, Look what a nice new coat is mine, Sure there was never a bird so fine! Chee, chee, chee.

Robert of Lincoln's Quaker wife, Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings, Passing at home a patient life, Broods in the grass while her husband sings Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink, Brood, kind creature; you need not fear Thieves and robbers while I am here, Chee, chee, chee.

Modest and shy as a nun is she; One weak chirp is her only note. Braggart, and prince of braggarts is he, Pouring boasts from his little throat: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink, Never was I afraid of man; Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can, Chee, chee, chee.

Six white eggs on a bed of hay, Flecked with purple, a pretty sight: There as the mother sits all day, Robert is singing with all his might, Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink, Nice good wife, that never goes out, Keeping house while I frolic about, Chee, chee, chee.

Soon as the little ones chip the shell, Six wide mouths are open for food; Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well, Gathering seeds for the hungry brood. Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink, This new life is likely to be Hard for a gay young fellow like me, Chee, chee, chee.

Robert of Lincoln at length is made Sober with work, and silent with care; Off is his holiday garment laid, Half forgotten that merry air: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink, Nobody knows but my mate and I Where our nest and our nestlings lie, Chee, chee, chee.

Summer wanes; the children are grown; Fun and frolic no more he knows, Robert of Lincoln's a humdrum crone; Off he flies, and we sing as he goes: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink, When you can pipe that merry old strain, Robert of Lincoln, come back again, Chee, chee, chee.

William Cullen Bryant.


[A] Courtesy of D. Appleton & Co., Publishers of Bryant's Complete Poetical Works.

White Butterflies

Fly, white butterflies, out to sea, Frail, pale wings for the wind to try, Small white wings that we scarce can see, Fly!

Some fly light as a laugh of glee, Some fly soft as a long, low sigh; All to the haven where each would be, Fly!

Algernon Charles Swinburne.

The Ant and the Cricket

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 a 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: 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 sir, did you lay nothing by When the weather was warm?" Said 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," said the ant, "and dance winter away." Thus ending, he hastily lifted the wicket And out of the door turned the poor little cricket. Though this is a fable, the moral is good: If you live without work, you must live without food.




Hope is like a harebell, trembling from its birth, Love is like a rose, the joy of all the earth; Faith is like a lily, lifted high and white, Love is like a lovely rose, the world's delight; Harebells and sweet lilies show a thornless growth, But the rose with all its thorns excels them both.

Christina G. Rossetti.


Little White Lily

Little white Lily Sat by a stone, Drooping and waiting Till the sun shone. Little white Lily Sunshine has fed; Little white Lily Is lifting her head.

Little white Lily Said, "It is good— Little white Lily's Clothing and food." Little white Lily Drest like a bride! Shining with whiteness, And crowned beside!

Little white Lily Droopeth with pain, Waiting and waiting For the wet rain. Little white Lily Holdeth her cup; Rain is fast falling And filling it up.

Little white Lily Said, "Good again— When I am thirsty To have fresh rain! Now I am stronger; Now I am cool; Heat cannot burn me, My veins are so full."

Little white Lily Smells very sweet: On her head sunshine, Rain at her feet. "Thanks to the sunshine, Thanks to the rain! Little white Lily Is happy again!"

George Macdonald.


Violets, violets, sweet March violets, Sure as March comes, they'll come too, First the white and then the blue— Pretty violets!

White, with just a pinky dye, Blue as little baby's eye,— So like violets.

Though the rough wind shakes the house, Knocks about the budding boughs, There are violets.

Though the passing snow-storms come, And the frozen birds sit dumb, Up spring violets.

One by one among the grass, Saying "Pluck me!" as we pass,— Scented violets.

By and by there'll be so many, We'll pluck dozens nor miss any: Sweet, sweet violets!

Children, when you go to play, Look beneath the hedge to-day:— Mamma likes violets.

Dinah Maria Mulock.

Young Dandelion

Young Dandelion On a hedge-side, Said young Dandelion, "Who'll be my bride?

"I'm a bold fellow As ever was seen, With my shield of yellow, In the grass green.

"You may uproot me From field and from lane, Trample me, cut me,— I spring up again.

"I never flinch, Sir, Wherever I dwell; Give me an inch, Sir, I'll soon take an ell.

"Drive me from garden In anger and pride, I'll thrive and harden By the road-side.

"Not a bit fearful, Showing my face, Always so cheerful In every place."

Said young Dandelion, With a sweet air, "I have my eye on Miss Daisy fair.

"Though we may tarry Till past the cold, Her I will marry Ere I grow old.

"I will protect her From all kinds of harm, Feed her with nectar, Shelter her warm.

"Whate'er the weather, Let it go by; We'll hold together, Daisy and I.

"I'll ne'er give in,—no! Nothing I fear: All that I win, oh! I'll keep for my dear."

Said young Dandelion On his hedge-side, "Who'll me rely on? Who'll be my bride?"

Dinah Maria Mulock.

Baby Seed Song

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 flower will you be? I'll be a poppy—all white, like my mother; Do be a poppy like me. What! you're a sun-flower? 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.

E. Nesbit.

A Violet Bank

I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows: Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine, With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.

William Shakespeare.

There's Nothing Like the Rose

The lily has an air, And the snowdrop a grace, And the sweet-pea a way, And the hearts-ease a face,— Yet there's nothing like the rose When she blows.

Christina G. Rossetti.


Little ladies, white and green, With your spears about you, Will you tell us where you've been Since we lived without you?

You are sweet, and fresh, and clean, With your pearly faces; In the dark earth where you've been, There are wondrous places:

Yet you come again, serene, When the leaves are hidden; Bringing joy from where you've been, You return unbidden—

Little ladies, white and green, Are you glad to cheer us? Hunger not for where you've been, Stay till Spring be near us!

Laurence Alma Tadema.

Fern Song

Dance to the beat of the rain, little Fern, And spread out your palms again, And say, "Tho' the sun Hath my vesture spun, He had laboured, alas, in vain, But for the shade That the Cloud hath made, And the gift of the Dew and the Rain," Then laugh and upturn All your fronds, little Fern, And rejoice in the beat of the rain!

John B. Tabb.

The Violet

Down in a green and shady bed A modest violet grew; Its stalk was bent, it hung its head, As if to hide from view.

And yet it was a lovely flower, Its color bright and fair; It might have graced a rosy bower Instead of hiding there.

Yet there it was content to bloom, In modest tints arrayed; And there diffused its sweet Perfume Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go, This pretty flower to see, That I may also learn to grow In sweet humility.

Jane Taylor.


Daffy-down-dilly Came up in the cold, Through the brown mould, Although the March breezes Blew keen on her face, Although the white snow Lay on many a place.

Daffy-down-dilly Had heard under ground, The sweet rushing sound Of the streams, as they broke From their white winter chains, Of the whistling spring winds And the pattering rains.

"Now then," thought Daffy, Deep down in her heart, "It's time I should start." So she pushed her soft leaves Through the hard frozen ground, Quite up to the surface, And then she looked round.

There was snow all about her, Gray clouds overhead; The trees all looked dead: Then how do you think Poor Daffy-down felt, When the sun would not shine, And the ice would not melt?

"Cold weather!" thought Daffy, Still working away; "The earth's hard to-day! There's but a half inch Of my leaves to be seen, And two thirds of that Is more yellow than green.

"I can't do much yet; But I'll do what I can: It's well I began! For, unless I can manage To lift up my head, The people will think That the Spring herself's dead."

So, little by little, She brought her leaves out, All clustered about; And then her bright flowers Began to unfold, Till Daffy stood robed In her spring green and gold.

O Daffy-down-dilly, So brave and so true! I wish all were like you!— So ready for duty In all sorts of weather, And loyal to courage And duty together.

Anna B. Warner.

Baby Corn

A happy mother stalk of corn Held close a baby ear, And whispered: "Cuddle up to me, I'll keep you warm, my dear. I'll give you petticoats of green, With many a tuck and fold To let out daily as you grow; For you will soon be old."

A funny little baby that, For though it had no eye, It had a hundred mouths; 'twas well It did not want to cry. The mother put in each small mouth A hollow thread of silk, Through which the sun and rain and air Provided baby's milk.

The petticoats were gathered close Where all the threadlets hung. And still as summer days went on To mother-stalk it clung; And all the time it grew and grew— Each kernel drank the milk By day, by night, in shade, in sun, From its own thread of silk.

And each grew strong and full and round, And each was shining white; The gores and seams were all let out, The green skirts fitted tight. The ear stood straight and large and tall, And when it saw the sun, Held up its emerald satin gown To say: "Your work is done."

"You're large enough," said Mother Stalk, "And now there's no more room For you to grow." She tied the threads Into a soft brown plume— It floated out upon the breeze To greet the dewy morn, And then the baby said: "Now I'm A full-grown ear of corn!"


A Child's Fancy

O little flowers, you love me so, You could not do without me; O little birds that come and go, You sing sweet songs about me; O little moss, observed by few, That round the tree is creeping, You like my head to rest on you, When I am idly sleeping.

O rushes by the river side, You bow when I come near you; O fish, you leap about with pride, Because you think I hear you; O river, you shine clear and bright, To tempt me to look in you; O water-lilies, pure and white, You hope that I shall win you.

O pretty things, you love me so, I see I must not leave you; You'd find it very dull, I know, I should not like to grieve you. Don't wrinkle up, you silly moss; My flowers, you need not shiver; My little buds, don't look so cross; Don't talk so loud, my river.

And I will make a promise, dears, That will content you, maybe; I'll love you through the happy years, Till I'm a nice old lady! True love (like yours and mine) they say Can never think of ceasing, But year by year, and day by day, Keeps steadily increasing.


Little Dandelion

Gay little Dandelion Lights up the meads, Swings on her slender foot, Telleth her beads, Lists to the robin's note Poured from above: Wise little Dandelion Asks not for love.

Cold lie the daisy banks Clothed but in green, Where, in the days agone, Bright hues were seen. Wild pinks are slumbering; Violets delay: True little Dandelion Greeteth the May.

Brave little Dandelion! Fast falls the snow, Bending the daffodil's Haughty head low. Under that fleecy tent, Careless of cold, Blithe little Dandelion Counteth her gold.

Meek little Dandelion Groweth more fair, Till dies the amber dew Out from her hair. High rides the thirsty sun, Fiercely and high; Faint little Dandelion Closeth her eye.

Pale little Dandelion, In her white shroud, Heareth the angel breeze Call from the cloud! Tiny plumes fluttering Make no delay! Little winged Dandelion Soareth away.

Helen B. Bostwick.


Upon a showery night and still, Without a sound of warning, A trooper band surprised the hill, And held it in the morning. We were not waked by bugle notes, No cheer our dreams invaded, And yet, at dawn their yellow coats On the green slopes paraded.

We careless folk the deed forgot; 'Till one day, idly walking, We marked upon the self-same spot A crowd of vet'rans talking. They shook their trembling heads and gray With pride and noiseless laughter; When, well-a-day! they blew away, And ne'er were heard of after!

Helen Gray Cone.

The Flax Flower

Oh, the little flax flower! It groweth on the hill, And, be the breeze awake or 'sleep It never standeth still. It groweth, and it groweth fast; One day it is a seed And then a little grassy blade Scarce better than a weed. But then out comes the flax flower As blue as is the sky; And "'Tis a dainty little thing," We say as we go by.

Ah! 'tis a goodly little thing, It groweth for the poor, And many a peasant blesseth it Beside his cottage door. He thinketh how those slender stems That shimmer in the sun Are rich for him in web and woof And shortly shall be spun. He thinketh how those tender flowers Of seed will yield him store, And sees in thought his next year's crop Blue shining round his door.

Oh, the little flax flower! The mother then says she, "Go, pull the thyme, the heath, the fern, But let the flax flower be! It groweth for the children's sake, It groweth for our own; There are flowers enough upon the hill, But leave the flax alone! The farmer hath his fields of wheat, Much cometh to his share; We have this little plot of flax That we have tilled with care."

Oh, the goodly flax flower! It groweth on the hill, And, be the breeze awake or 'sleep, It never standeth still. It seemeth all astir with life As if it loved to thrive, As if it had a merry heart Within its stem alive. Then fair befall the flax-field, And may the kindly showers Give strength unto its shining stem, Give seed unto its flowers!

Mary Howitt.

Dear Little Violets

Under the green hedges after the snow, There do the dear little violets grow, Hiding their modest and beautiful heads Under the hawthorn in soft mossy beds.

Sweet as the roses, and blue as the sky, Down there do the dear little violets lie; Hiding their heads where they scarce may be seen, By the leaves you may know where the violet hath been.

John Moultrie.

Bird's Song in Spring

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!

E. Nesbit.

The Tree

The Tree's early leaf-buds were bursting their brown; "Shall I take them away?" said the Frost, sweeping down. "No, leave them alone Till the blossoms have grown," Prayed the Tree, while he trembled from rootlet to crown.

The Tree bore his blossoms, and all the birds sung: "Shall I take them away?" said the Wind, as he swung. "No, leave them alone Till the berries have grown," Said the Tree, while his leaflets quivering hung.

The Tree bore his fruit in the mid-summer glow: Said the girl, "May I gather thy berries now?" "Yes, all thou canst see: Take them; all are for thee," Said the Tree, while he bent down his laden boughs low.

Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson.

The Daisy's Song

(A Fragment)

The sun, with his great eye, Sees not so much as I; And the moon, all silver-proud Might as well be in a cloud. And O the spring—the spring! I lead the life of a king! Couch'd in the teeming grass, I spy each pretty lass.

I look where no one dares, And I stare where no one stares, And when the night is nigh Lambs bleat my lullaby.

John Keats.


For the tender beech and the sapling oak, That grow by the shadowy rill, You may cut down both at a single stroke, You may cut down which you will.

But this you must know, that as long as they grow, Whatever change may be, You can never teach either oak or beech To be aught but a greenwood tree.

Thomas Love Peacock.

For Good Luck

Little Kings and Queens of the May If you want to be, Every one of you, very good, In this beautiful, beautiful, beautiful wood, Where the little birds' heads get so turned with delight That some of them sing all night: Whatever you pluck, Leave some for good luck!

Picked from the stalk or pulled by the root, From overhead or under foot, Water-wonders of pond or brook— Wherever you look, And whatever you find, Leave something behind: Some for the Naiads, Some for the Dryads, And a bit for the Nixies and Pixies!

Juliana Horatia Ewing.



Of all beasts he learned the language, Learned their names and all their secrets, How the beavers built their lodges, Where the squirrels hid their acorns, How the reindeer ran so swiftly, Why the rabbit was so timid, Talked with them whene'er he met them, Called them "Hiawatha's Brothers."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


My Pony

My pony toss'd his sprightly head, And would have smiled, if smile he could, To thank me for the slice of bread He thinks so delicate and good; His eye is very bright and wild, He looks as if he loved me so, Although I only am a child And he's a real horse, you know.

How charming it would be to rear, And have hind legs to balance on; Of hay and oats within the year To leisurely devour a ton; To stoop my head and quench my drouth With water in a lovely pail; To wear a snaffle in my mouth, Fling back my ears, and slash my tail!

To gallop madly round a field,— Who tries to catch me is a goose, And then with dignity to yield My stately back for rider's use; To feel as only horses can, When matters take their proper course, And no one notices the man, While loud applauses greet the horse!

He canters fast or ambles slow, And either is a pretty game; His duties are but pleasures—oh, I wish that mine were just the same! Lessons would be another thing If I might turn from book and scroll, And learn to gallop round a ring, As he did when a little foal.

It must be charming to be shod, And beautiful beyond my praise, When tired of rolling on the sod, To stand upon all-fours and graze! Alas! my dreams are weak and wild, I must not ape my betters so; Alas! I only am a child, And he's a real horse, you know.


On a Spaniel, called Beau, Killing a Young Bird

(July 15, 1793)

A Spaniel, Beau, that fares like you, Well fed, and at his ease, Should wiser be than to pursue Each trifle that he sees.

But you have kill'd a tiny bird, Which flew not till to-day, Against my orders, whom you heard Forbidding you the prey.

Nor did you kill that you might eat, And ease a doggish pain, For him, though chas'd with furious heat You left where he was slain.

Nor was he of the thievish sort, Or one whom blood allures, But innocent was all his sport Whom you have torn for yours.

My dog! What remedy remains, Since, teach you all I can, I see you, after all my pains, So much resemble Man?

William Cowper.

Beau's Reply

Sir, when I flew to seize the bird In spite of your command, A louder voice than yours I heard, And harder to withstand.

You cried—forbear!—but in my breast A mightier cried—proceed— 'Twas Nature, Sir, whose strong behest Impell'd me to the deed.

Yet much as Nature I respect, I ventur'd once to break, (As you, perhaps, may recollect) Her precept for your sake;

And when your linnet on a day, Passing his prison door, Had flutter'd all his strength away, And panting press'd the floor,

Well knowing him a sacred thing, Not destin'd to my tooth, I only kiss'd his ruffled wing, And lick'd the feathers smooth.

Let my obedience then excuse My disobedience now, Nor some reproof yourself refuse From your aggriev'd Bow-wow; If killing birds be such a crime, (Which I can hardly see,) What think you, Sir, of killing Time With verse address'd to me?

William Cowper.

Seal Lullaby

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.

Rudyard Kipling.

Milking Time

When the cows come home the milk is coming; Honey's made while the bees are humming; Duck and drake on the rushy lake, And the deer live safe in the breezy brake; And timid, funny, pert little bunny Winks his nose, and sits all sunny.

Christina G. Rossetti.

Thank You, Pretty Cow

Thank you, pretty cow, that made Pleasant milk to soak my bread, Every day and every night, Warm, and fresh, and sweet, and white.

Do not chew the hemlock rank, Growing on the weedy bank; But the yellow cowslip eat, That will make it very sweet.

Where the purple violet grows, Where the bubbling water flows, Where the grass is fresh and fine, Pretty cow, go there and dine.

Jane Taylor.

The Boy and the Sheep

"Lazy sheep, pray tell me why In the pleasant field you lie, Eating grass and daisies white, From the morning till the night: Everything can something do; But what kind of use are you?"

"Nay, my little master, nay, Do not serve me so, I pray! Don't you see the wool that grows On my back to make your clothes? Cold, ah, very cold you'd be, If you had not wool from me.

"True, it seems a pleasant thing Nipping daisies in the spring; But what chilly nights I pass On the cold and dewy grass, Or pick my scanty dinner where All the ground is brown and bare!

"Then the farmer comes at last, When the merry spring is past, Cuts my woolly fleece away, For your coat in wintry day. Little master, this is why In the pleasant fields I lie."

Ann Taylor.

Lambs in the Meadow

O little lambs! the month is cold, The sky is very gray; You shiver in the misty grass And bleat at all the winds that pass; Wait! when I'm big—some day— I'll build a roof to every fold.

But now that I am small I'll pray At mother's knee for you; Perhaps the angels with their wings; Will come and warm you, little things; I'm sure that, if God knew, He'd let the lambs be born in May.

Laurence Alma Tadema.

The Pet Lamb

The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink; I heard a voice; it said, "Drink, pretty creature, drink!" And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied A snow-white mountain-lamb, with a maiden at its side.

Nor sheep nor kine were near; the lamb was all alone, And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone. With one knee on the grass did the little maiden kneel, While to that mountain-lamb she gave its evening meal.

The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper took, Seemed to feast, with head and ears, and his tail with pleasure shook. "Drink, pretty creature, drink!" she said, in such a tone That I almost received her heart into my own.

'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare! I watched them with delight; they were a lovely pair. Now with her empty can the maiden turned away, But ere ten yards were gone her footsteps did she stay.

Right toward the lamb she looked; and from a shady place, I, unobserved, could see the workings of her face. If nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring, Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might sing:—

"What ails thee, young one? what? Why pull so at thy cord? Is it not well with thee? well both for bed and board? Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be; Rest, little young one, rest; what is't that aileth thee?

"What is it thou would'st seek? What is wanting to thy heart? Thy limbs, are they not strong? and beautiful thou art. This grass is tender grass, these flowers they have no peers, And that green corn all day is rustling in thy ears.

"If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen chain,— This beech is standing by,—its covert thou canst gain. For rain and mountain storms, the like thou need'st not fear; The rain and storm are things that scarcely can come here.

"Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the day When my father found thee first, in places far away. Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned by none, And thy mother from thy side forevermore was gone.

"He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee home,— A blessed day for thee!—Then whither would'st thou roam? A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee yean Upon the mountain-tops no kinder could have been.

"Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in this can Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran; And twice in the day, when the ground was wet with dew, I bring thee draughts of milk,—warm milk it is, and new.

"Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are now; Then I'll yoke thee to my cart, like a pony to the plough, My playmate thou shalt be, and when the wind is cold, Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.

"It will not, will not rest! Poor creature, can it be That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in thee? Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear, And dreams of things which thou canst neither see nor hear.

"Alas, the mountain-tops that look so green and fair! I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come there. The little brooks, that seem all pastime and all play, When they are angry roar like lions for their prey.

"Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the sky; Night and day thou art safe—our cottage is hard by. Why bleat so after me? why pull so at thy chain? Sleep,—and at break of day I will come to thee again!"

As homeward through the lane I went with lazy feet, This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat; And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line, That but half of it was hers and one half of it was mine.

Again and once again did I repeat the song: "Nay," said I, "more than half to the damsel must belong; For she looked with such a look, and she spake with such a tone, That I almost received her heart into my own."

William Wordsworth.

The Kitten, and Falling Leaves

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, Eddying round and round they sink Softly, slowly: one might think From the motions that are made, Every little leaf conveyed Sylph or fairy hither tending, To this lower world descending, Each invisible and mute, In his wavering parachute. 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.

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