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Title: A Child's Garden of Verses
Author: Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Child's Garden of Verses" ***

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          A CHILD'S GARDEN
          OF VERSES

          FIFTH IMPRESSION



"Stories All Children Love"

A SET OF CHILDREN'S CLASSICS THAT SHOULD BE IN EVERY WINTER HOME AND
SUMMER COTTAGE

       *       *       *       *       *

          Vinzi
          BY JOHANNA SPYRI
          Translated by ELISABETH P. STORK


          Mäzli
          BY JOHANNA SPYRI
          Translated by ELISABETH P. STORK


          Cornelli
          BY JOHANNA SPYRI
          Translated by ELISABETH P. STORK


          A Child's Garden of Verses
          BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON


          The Little Lame Prince and Other Stories
          BY MISS MULOCK


          Gulliver's Travels
          BY JONATHAN SWIFT


          The Water Babies
          BY CHARLES KINGSLEY


          Pinocchio
          BY C. COLLODI


          Robinson Crusoe
          BY DANIEL DEFOE


          Heidi BY JOHANNA SPYRI
          Translated by ELISABETH P. STORK


          The Cuckoo Clock
          BY MRS. MOLESWORTH


          The Swiss Family Robinson
          EDITED BY G. E. MITTON


          The Princess and Curdie
          BY GEORGE MACDONALD


          The Princess and the Goblin
          BY GEORGE MACDONALD

          At the Back of the North Wind
          BY GEORGE MACDONALD


          A Dog of Flanders BY "OUIDA"


          Bimbi BY "OUIDA"


          Mopsa, the Fairy BY JEAN INGELOW


          Tales of Fairyland
          BY FERGUS HUME


          Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales

  _Each Volume Beautifully Illustrated in Color. Decorated Cloth.
          Other Books in This Set are in Preparation._

[Illustration: THE GARDENER

          O how much wiser you would be
          To play at Indian wars with me!]



A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES

BY

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

_ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOR BY_

MARIA L. KIRK

[Illustration]


          PHILADELPHIA AND LONDON
          J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY



ILLUSTRATIONS COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY


          PRINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
          AT THE WASHINGTON SQUARE PRESS
          PHILADELPHIA, U. S. A.



TO ALISON CUNNINGHAM

FROM HER BOY

         _For the long nights you lay awake
          And watched for my unworthy sake:
          For your most comfortable hand
          That led me through the uneven land:
          For all the story-books you read:
          For all the pains you comforted:
          For all you pitied, all you bore,
          In sad and happy days of yore:--
          My second Mother, my first Wife,
          The angel of my infant life--
          From the sick child, now well and old,
          Take, nurse, the little book you hold!_

         _And grant it, Heaven, that all who read
          May find as dear a nurse at need,
          And every child who lists my rhyme,
          In the bright, fireside, nursery clime,
          May hear it in as kind a voice
          As made my childish days rejoice!_

                                          R. L. S.



CONTENTS


                                             PAGE
                I. BED IN SUMMER               15

               II. A THOUGHT                   17

              III. AT THE SEASIDE              18

               IV. YOUNG NIGHT THOUGHT         19

                V. WHOLE DUTY OF CHILDREN      21

               VI. RAIN                        22

              VII. PIRATE STORY                23

             VIII. FOREIGN LANDS               25

               IX. WINDY NIGHTS                29

                X. TRAVEL                      30

               XI. SINGING                     34

              XII. LOOKING FORWARD             35

             XIII. A GOOD PLAY                 36

              XIV. WHERE GO THE BOATS?         38

               XV. AUNTIE'S SKIRTS             40

              XVI. THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE     41

             XVII. THE LAND OF NOD             43

            XVIII. MY SHADOW                   45

              XIX. SYSTEM                      49

               XX. A GOOD BOY                  50

              XXI. ESCAPE AT BEDTIME           53

             XXII. MARCHING SONG               55

            XXIII. THE COW                     57

             XXIV. HAPPY THOUGHT               59

              XXV. THE WIND                    60

             XXVI. KEEPSAKE MILL               62

            XXVII. GOOD AND BAD CHILDREN       65

           XXVIII. FOREIGN CHILDREN            69

             XXIX. THE SUN'S TRAVELS           73

              XXX. THE LAMPLIGHTER             75

             XXXI. MY BED IS A BOAT            77

            XXXII. THE MOON                    79

           XXXIII. THE SWING                   81

            XXXIV. TIME TO RISE                83

             XXXV. LOOKING-GLASS RIVER         84

            XXXVI. FAIRY BREAD                 87

           XXXVII. FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE     88

          XXXVIII. WINTER-TIME                 90

            XXXIX. THE HAYLOFT                 93

               XL. FAREWELL TO THE FARM        95

              XLI. NORTH-WEST PASSAGE:

                    _1. Good Night_            97
                    _2. Shadow March_          99
                    _3. In Port_              101


THE CHILD ALONE

                                             PAGE
             I. THE UNSEEN PLAYMATE           105

            II. MY SHIP AND I                 109

           III. MY KINGDOM                    111

            IV. PICTURE-BOOKS IN WINTER       115

             V. MY TREASURES                  119

            VI. BLOCK CITY                    121

           VII. THE LAND OF STORY BOOKS       125

          VIII. ARMIES IN THE FIRE            129

           IX. THE LITTLE LAND                133


GARDEN DAYS

                                             PAGE
             I. NIGHT AND DAY                 141

            II. NEST EGGS                     147

           III. THE FLOWERS                   151

            IV. SUMMER SUN                    153

             V. THE DUMB SOLDIER              157

            VI. AUTUMN FIRES                  163

           VII. THE GARDENER                  165

          VIII. HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS       169


ENVOYS

                                            PAGE
            I. TO WILLIE AND HENRIETTA       177

           II. TO MY MOTHER                  179

          II. TO AUNTIE                      180

           IV. TO MINNIE                     181

            V. TO MY NAME-CHILD              187

           VI. TO ANY READER                 190



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                           PAGE


          THE GARDENER                             _Frontispiece_
                O how much wiser you would be
                To play at Indian wars with me!


          PIRATE STORY                                       23
                Three of us aboard in the basket on the lea.


          THE LAND OF NOD                                    43
                And up the mountain-sides of dreams.


          THE WIND                                           60
                I felt you push, I heard you call,
                I could not see yourself at all--


          THE SWING                                          81
                Up in the air and down.


          THE HAYLOFT                                        93
                The mice that in these mountains dwell
                No happier are than I.


          MY SHIP AND I                                     109
                And my ship it keeps a-turning all around
                   and all about.


          THE LITTLE LAND                                   134
                In that forest to and fro
                I can wander, I can go.



A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES



I

BED IN SUMMER


          IN winter I get up at night
          And dress by yellow candle-light.
          In summer, quite the other way,
          I have to go to bed by day.

          I have to go to bed and see
          The birds still hopping on the tree,
          Or hear the grown-up people's feet
          Still going past me in the street.

          And does it not seem hard to you,
          When all the sky is clear and blue,
          And I should like so much to play,
          To have to go to bed by day?



II

A THOUGHT


          IT is very nice to think
          The world is full of meat and drink,
          With little children saying grace
          In every Christian kind of place.



III

AT THE SEASIDE


          WHEN I was down beside the sea
          A wooden spade they gave to me
            To dig the sandy shore.
          My holes were empty like a cup,
          In every hole the sea came up,
               Till it could come no more.



IV

YOUNG NIGHT THOUGHT


          ALL night long and every night,
          When my mamma puts out the light,
          I see the people marching by,
          As plain as day, before my eye.

          Armies and emperors and kings,
          All carrying different kinds of things,
          And marching in so grand a way,
          You never saw the like by day.

          So fine a show was never seen,
          At the great circus on the green;
          For every kind of beast and man
          Is marching in that caravan.

          At first they move a little slow,
          But still the faster on they go,
          And still beside them close I keep
          Until we reach the town of Sleep.



V

WHOLE DUTY OF CHILDREN


          A CHILD should always say what's true
          And speak when he is spoken to,
          And behave mannerly at table;
          At least as far as he is able.



VI

RAIN


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

[Illustration: PIRATE STORY

Three of us aboard in the basket on the lea]



VII

PIRATE STORY


  THREE of us afloat in the meadow by the swing,
   Three of us aboard in the basket on the lea.
  Winds are in the air, they are blowing in the spring,
   And waves are on the meadow like the waves there are at sea.

  Where shall we adventure, to-day that we're afloat,
   Wary of the weather and steering by a star?
  Shall it be to Africa, a-steering of the boat,
   To Providence, or Babylon, or off to Malabar?

  Hi! but here's a squadron a-rowing on the sea--
    Cattle on the meadow a-charging with a roar!
  Quick, and we'll escape them, they're as mad as they can be,
    The wicket is the harbour and the garden is the shore.



VIII

FOREIGN LANDS


          UP into the cherry tree
          Who should climb but little me?
          I held the trunk with both my hands
          And looked abroad on foreign lands.

          I saw the next door garden lie,
          Adorned with flowers, before my eye,
          And many pleasant places more
          That I had never seen before.

          I saw the dimpling river pass
          And be the sky's blue looking-glass;
          The dusty roads go up and down
          With people tramping in to town.

          If I could find a higher tree
          Farther and farther I should see,
          To where the grown-up river slips
          Into the sea among the ships,
          To where the roads on either hand
          Lead onward into fairy land,
          Where all the children dine at five,
          And all the playthings come alive.



IX

WINDY NIGHTS


          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 in the 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.



X

TRAVEL


          I SHOULD like to rise and go
          Where the golden apples grow;--
          Where below another sky
          Parrot islands anchored lie,
          And, watched by cockatoos and goats,
          Lonely Crusoes building boats;--
          Where in sunshine reaching out
          Eastern cities, miles about,
          Are with mosque and minaret
          Among sandy gardens set,
          And the rich goods from near and far
          Hang for sale in the bazaar;
          Where the Great Wall round China goes,
          And on one side the desert blows,
          And with bell and voice and drum,
          Cities on the other hum;--
          Where are forests, hot as fire,
          Wide as England, tall as a spire,
          Full of apes and cocoa-nuts
          And the negro hunters' huts;--
          Where the knotty crocodile
          Lies and blinks in the Nile,
          And the red flamingo flies
          Hunting fish before his eyes;--
          Where in jungles, near and far,
          Man-devouring tigers are,
          Lying close and giving ear
          Lest the hunt be drawing near,
          Or a comer-by be seen
          Swinging in a palanquin;--
          Where among the desert sands
          Some deserted city stands,
          All its children, sweep and prince,
          Grown to manhood ages since,
          Not a foot in street or house,
          Not a stir of child or mouse,
          And when kindly falls the night,
          In all the town no spark of light.
          There I'll come when I'm a man
          With a camel caravan;
          Light a fire in the gloom
          Of some dusty dining room;
          See the pictures on the walls,
          Heroes, fights and festivals;
          And in a corner find the toys
          Of the old Egyptian boys.



XI

SINGING


          OF speckled eggs the birdie sings
            And nests among the trees;
          The sailor sings of ropes and things
            In ships upon the seas.

          The children sing in far Japan,
            The children sing in Spain;
          The organ with the organ man
            Is singing in the rain.



XII

LOOKING FORWARD


          WHEN I am grown to man's estate
          I shall be very proud and great.
          And tell the other girls and boys
          Not to meddle with my toys.



XIII

A GOOD PLAY


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

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

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



XIV

WHERE GO THE BOATS?


          DARK brown is the river,
            Golden is the sand.
          It flows along for ever,
            With trees on either hand.

          Green leaves a-floating,
            Castles of the foam,
          Boats of mine a-boating--
            Where will all come home?

          On goes the river
            And out past the mill,
          Away down the valley,
            Away down the hill.

          Away down the river,
            A hundred miles or more,
          Other little children
            Shall bring my boats ashore.



XV

AUNTIE'S SKIRTS


          WHENEVER Auntie moves around,
          Her dresses make a curious sound;
          They trail behind her up the floor,
          And trundle after through the door.



XVI

THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE


          WHEN I was sick and lay a-bed,
          I had two pillows at my head,
          And all my toys beside me lay
          To keep me happy all the day.

          And sometimes for an hour or so
          I watched my leaden soldiers go,
          With different uniforms and drills,
          Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

          And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
          All up and down among the sheets;
          Or brought my trees and houses out,
          And planted cities all about.

          I was the giant great and still
          That sits upon the pillow-hill,
          And sees before him, dale and plain,
          The pleasant land of counterpane.

[Illustration: THE LAND OF NOD

And up the mountain-sides of dreams]



XVII

THE LAND OF NOD


          FROM breakfast on through all the day
          At home among my friends I stay;
          But every night I go abroad
          Afar into the land of Nod.

          All by myself I have to go,
          With none to tell me what to do--
          All alone beside the streams
          And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

          The strangest things are there for me,
          Both things to eat and things to see,
          And many frightening sights abroad
          Till morning in the land of Nod.

          Try as I like to find the way,
          I never can get back by day,
          Nor can remember plain and clear
          The curious music that I hear.



XVIII

MY SHADOW


  I HAVE a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
  And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
  He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
  And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

  The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--
  Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
  For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
  And sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

  He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
  And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
  He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
  I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

  One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
  I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
  But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
  Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.



XIX

SYSTEM


          EVERY night my prayers I say,
          And get my dinner every day;
          And every day that I've been good,
          I get an orange after food.

          The child that is not clean and neat,
          With lots of toys and things to eat,
          He is a naughty child, I'm sure--
          Or else his dear papa is poor.



XX

A GOOD BOY


  I WOKE before the morning, I was happy all the day,
  I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.

  And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
  And I am very happy, for I know that I've been good.

  My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
  And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.

  I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
  No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes,

  But slumber holds me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
  And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.



XXI

ESCAPE AT BEDTIME


          THE lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
            Through the blinds and the windows and bars;
          And high overhead and all moving about,
            There were thousands of millions of stars.
          There ne'er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,
            Nor of people in church or the Park,
          As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
            And that glittered and winked in the dark.
          The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all
            And the Star of the Sailor, and Mars,
          These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
            Would be half full of water and stars.
          They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
            And they soon had me packed into bed;
          But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
            And the stars going round in my head.



XXII

MARCHING SONG


          BRING the comb and play upon it!
            Marching, here we come!
          Willie cocks his highland bonnet,
            Johnnie beats the drum.

          Mary Jane commands the party,
            Peter leads the rear;
          Feet in time, alert and hearty,
            Each a Grenadier!

          All in the most martial manner
            Marching double-quick;
          While the napkin like a banner
            Waves upon the stick!

          Here's enough of fame and pillage,
            Great commander Jane!
          Now that we've been round the village,
            Let's go home again.



XXIII

THE COW


          THE friendly cow all red and white,
            I love with all my heart:
          She gives me cream with all her might,
            To eat with apple-tart.

          She wanders lowing here and there,
            And yet she cannot stray,
          All in the pleasant open air,
            The pleasant light of day;

          And blown by all the winds that pass
            And wet with all the showers,
          She walks among the meadow grass
            And eats the meadow flowers.



XXIV

HAPPY THOUGHT


          THE world is so full of a number of things,
          I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.



XXV

THE WIND


          I SAW you toss the kites on high
          And blow the birds about the sky;
          And all around I heard you pass,
          Like ladies' skirts across the grass--
            O wind, a-blowing all day long,
            O wind, that sings so loud a song!

          I saw the different things you did,
          But always you yourself you hid.
          I felt you push, I heard you call,
          I could not see yourself at all--
            O wind, a-blowing all day long,
            O wind, that sings so loud a song!

[Illustration: THE WIND

          I felt you push, I heard you call,
          I could not see yourself at all--]

          O you that are so strong and cold,
          O blower, are you young or old?
          Are you a beast of field and tree,
          Or just a stronger child than me?
            O wind, a-blowing all day long,
            O wind, that sings so loud a song!



XXVI

KEEPSAKE MILL


          OVER the borders, a sin without pardon,
            Breaking the branches and crawling below,
          Out through the breach in the wall of the garden,
            Down by the banks of the river, we go.

          Here is the mill with the humming of thunder,
            Here is the weir with the wonder of foam,
          Here is the sluice with the race running under--
            Marvellous places, though handy to home!

          Sounds of the village grow stiller and stiller,
            Stiller the note of the birds on the hill;
          Dusty and dim are the eyes of the miller,
            Deaf are his ears with the moil of the mill.

          Years may go by, and the wheel in the river
            Wheel as it wheels for us, children, to-day,
          Wheel and keep roaring and foaming for ever
            Long after all of the boys are away.

          Home from the Indies and home from the ocean,
            Heroes and soldiers we all shall come home;
          Still we shall find the old mill wheel in motion,
            Turning and churning that river to foam.

          You with the bean that I gave when we quarrelled,
            I with your marble of Saturday last,
          Honoured and old and all gaily apparelled,
            Here we shall meet and remember the past.



XXVII

GOOD AND BAD CHILDREN


          CHILDREN, you are very little,
          And your bones are very brittle;
          If you would grow great and stately,
          You must try to walk sedately.

          You must still be bright and quiet,
          And content with simple diet;
          And remain, through all bewild'ring,
          Innocent and honest children.

          Happy hearts and happy faces,
          Happy play in grassy places--
          That was how, in ancient ages,
          Children grew to kings and sages.

          But the unkind and the unruly,
          And the sort who eat unduly,
          They must never hope for glory--
          Theirs is quite a different story!

          Cruel children, crying babies,
          All grow up as geese and gabies,
          Hated, as their age increases,
          By their nephews and their nieces.



XXVIII

FOREIGN CHILDREN


          LITTLE Indian, Sioux or Crow,
          Little frosty Eskimo,
          Little Turk or Japanee,
          O! don't you wish that you were me?

          You have seen the scarlet trees
          And the lions over seas;
          You have eaten ostrich eggs,
          And turned the turtles off their legs.

          Such a life is very fine,
          But it's not so nice as mine:
          You must often, as you trod,
          Have wearied _not_ to be abroad.

          You have curious things to eat,
          I am fed on proper meat;
          You must dwell beyond the foam,
          But I am safe and live at home.

          Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
          Little frosty Eskimo,
          Little Turk or Japanee,
          O! don't you wish that you were me?



XXIX

THE SUN'S TRAVELS


          THE sun is not a-bed, when I
          At night upon my pillow lie;
          Still round the earth his way he takes,
          And morning after morning makes.

          While here at home, in shining day,
          We round the sunny garden play,
          Each little Indian sleepy-head
          Is being kissed and put to bed.

          And when at eve I rise from tea,
          Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea,
          And all the children in the West
          Are getting up and being dressed.



XXX

THE LAMPLIGHTER


  MY tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
  It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
  For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
  With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

  Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
  And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be;
  But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do,
  O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

  For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
  And Leery stops to light it as he lights so many more;
  And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light,
  O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!



XXXI

MY BED IS A BOAT


          MY bed is a little boat;
            Nurse helps me in when I embark
          She girds me in my sailor's coat
            And starts me in the dark.

          At night, I go on board and say
            Good night to all my friends on shore;
          I shut my eyes and sail away
            And see and hear no more.

          And sometimes things to bed I take,
            As prudent sailors have to do:
          Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake,
            Perhaps a toy or two.

          All night across the dark we steer:
            But when the day returns at last,
          Safe in my room, beside the pier,
            I find my vessel fast.



XXXII

THE MOON


          THE moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
          She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
          On streets and fields and harbour quays,
          And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

          The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
          The howling dog by the door of the house,
          The bat that lies in bed at noon,
          All love to be out by the light of the moon.

          But all of the things that belong to the day
          Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
          And flowers and children close their eyes
          Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

[Illustration: THE SWING

          Up in the air and down]



XXXIII

THE SWING


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

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

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



XXXIV

TIME TO RISE


          A BIRDIE with a yellow bill
          Hopped upon the window sill,
          Cocked his shining eye and said:
          'Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head?'



XXXV

LOOKING-GLASS RIVER


          SMOOTH it slides upon its travel,
            Here a wimple, there a gleam--
              O the clean gravel!
              O the smooth stream!

          Sailing blossoms, silver fishes,
            Paven pools as clear as air--
              How a child wishes
              To live down there!

          We can see our coloured faces
            Floating on the shaken pool
              Down in cool places,
              Dim and very cool;

          Till a wind or water wrinkle,
            Dipping marten, plumping trout,
              Spreads in a twinkle
              And blots all out.

          See the rings pursue each other;
            All below grows black as night,
              Just as if mother
              Had blown out the light!

          Patience, children, just a minute--
            See the spreading circles die;
              The stream and all in it
              Will clear by-and-by.



XXXVI

FAIRY BREAD


          COME up here, O dusty feet!
             Here is fairy bread to eat.
          Here in my retiring room,
             Children, you may dine
          On the golden smell of broom
             And the shade of pine;
          And when you have eaten well,
          Fairy stories hear and tell.



XXXVII

FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE


          FASTER than fairies, faster than witches,
          Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
          And charging along like troops in a battle,
          All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
          All the sights of the hill and the plain
          Fly as thick as driving rain;
          And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
          Painted stations whistle by.
          Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
          All by himself and gathering brambles;
          Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
          And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
          Here is a cart run away in the road
          Lumping along with man and load;
          And here is a mill and there is a river:
          Each a glimpse and gone forever!



XXXVIII

WINTER-TIME


          LATE lies the wintry sun a-bed,
          A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
          Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
          A blood-red orange, sets again.

          Before the stars have left the skies,
          At morning in the dark I rise;
          And shivering in my nakedness,
          By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

          Close by the jolly fire I sit
          To warm my frozen bones a bit;
          Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
          The colder countries round the door.

          When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
          Me in my comforter and cap:
          The cold wind burns my face, and blows
          Its frosty pepper up my nose.

          Black are my steps on silver sod;
          Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
          And tree and house, and hill and lake,
          Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

[Illustration: THE HAYLOFT

          The mice that in these mountains dwell
          No happier are than I]



XXXIX

THE HAYLOFT


          THROUGH all the pleasant meadow-side
            The grass grew shoulder-high,
          Till the shining scythes went far and wide
            And cut it down to dry.

          These green and sweetly smelling crops
            They led in waggons home;
          And they piled them here in mountain tops
            For mountaineers to roam.

          Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail,
            Mount Eagle and Mount High;--
          The mice that in these mountains dwell,
            No happier are than I!

          O what a joy to clamber there,
            O what a place for play,
          With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
            The happy hills of hay.



XL

FAREWELL TO THE FARM


          THE coach is at the door at last;
          The eager children, mounting fast
          And kissing hands, in chorus sing:
          Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

          To house and garden, field and lawn,
          The meadow-gates we swang upon,
          To pump and stable, tree and swing,
          Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

          And fare you well for evermore,
          O ladder at the hayloft door,
          O hayloft where the cobwebs cling,
          Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

          Crack goes the whip, and off we go;
          The trees and houses smaller grow;
          Last, round the woody turn we swing:
          Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!



XLI

NORTH-WEST PASSAGE


1. GOOD NIGHT

          When the bright lamp is carried in,
          The sunless hours again begin;
          O'er all without, in field and lane,
          The haunted night returns again.

          Now we behold the embers flee
          About the firelit hearth; and see
          Our faces painted as we pass,
          Like pictures, on the window-glass.

          Must we to bed indeed? Well then,
          Let us arise and go like men,
          And face with an undaunted tread
          The long black passage up to bed.

          Farewell, O brother, sister, sire!
          O pleasant party round the fire!
          The songs you sing, the tales you tell,
          Till far to-morrow, fare ye well!


2. SHADOW MARCH

          All round the house is the jet-black night;
            It stares through the window-pane;
          It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light,
            And it moves with the moving flame.

          Now my little heart goes a-beating like a drum,
            With the breath of the Bogie in my hair;
          And all round the candle the crooked shadows come
            And go marching along up the stair.

          The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp,
            The shadow of the child that goes to bed--
          All the wicked shadows coming, tramp, tramp, tramp,
            With the black night overhead.


3. IN PORT

          Last, to the chamber where I lie
          My fearful footsteps patter nigh,
          And come from out the cold and gloom
          Into my warm and cheerful room.

          There, safe arrived, we turn about
          To keep the coming shadows out,
          And close the happy door at last
          On all the perils that we past.

          Then, when mamma goes by to bed,
          She shall come in with tip-toe tread,
          And see me lying warm and fast
          And in the Land of Nod at last.



THE CHILD ALONE



I

THE UNSEEN PLAYMATE


          WHEN children are playing alone on the green,
          In comes the playmate that never was seen.
          When children are happy and lonely and good,
          The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.

          Nobody heard him and nobody saw,
          His is a picture you never could draw,
          But he's sure to be present, abroad or at home,
          When children are happy and playing alone.

          He lies in the laurels, he runs on the grass,
          He sings when you tinkle the musical glass;
          Whene'er you are happy and cannot tell why,
          The Friend of the Children is sure to be by!

          He loves to be little, he hates to be big,
          'Tis he that inhabits the caves that you dig;
          'Tis he when you play with your soldiers of tin
          That sides with the Frenchmen and never can win.

          'Tis he, when at night you go off to your bed,
          Bids you go to your sleep and not trouble your head;
          For wherever they're lying, in cupboard or shelf,
          'Tis he will take care of your playthings himself!

[Illustration: MY SHIP AND I

     And my ship it keeps a-turning all around and all about]



II

MY SHIP AND I


  O IT'S I that am the captain of a tidy little ship,
    Of a ship that goes a-sailing on the pond;
  And my ship it keeps a-turning all around and all about;
  But when I'm a little older, I shall find the secret out
    How to send my vessel sailing on beyond.

  For I mean to grow as little as the dolly at the helm,
    And the dolly I intend to come alive;
  And with him beside to help me, it's a-sailing I shall go,
  It's a-sailing on the water, when the jolly breezes blow
    And the vessel goes a divie-divie dive.

  O it's then you'll see me sailing through the rushes and the reeds,
    And you'll hear the water singing at the prow;
  For beside the dolly sailor, I'm to voyage and explore,
  To land upon the island where no dolly was before,
    And to fire the penny cannon in the bow.



III

MY KINGDOM


          DOWN by a shining water well
          I found a very little dell,
            No higher than my head.
          The heather and the gorse about
          In summer bloom were coming out,
            Some yellow and some red.

          I called the little pool a sea;
          The little hills were big to me;
            For I am very small.
          I made a boat, I made a town,
          I searched the caverns up and down,
            And named them one and all.

          And all about was mine, I said,
          The little sparrows overhead,
            The little minnows too.
          This was the world and I was king;
          For me the bees came by to sing,
            For me the swallows flew.

          I played there were no deeper seas,
          Nor any wider plains than these,
            Nor other kings than me.
          At last I heard my mother call
          Out from the house at evenfall,
            To call me home to tea.

          And I must rise and leave my dell,
          And leave my dimpled water well,
            And leave my heather blooms.
          Alas! and as my home I neared,
          How very big my nurse appeared,
            How great and cool the rooms!



IV

PICTURE-BOOKS IN WINTER


          SUMMER fading, winter comes--
          Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
          Window robins, winter rooks,
          And the picture story-books.

          Water now is turned to stone
          Nurse and I can walk upon;
          Still we find the flowing brooks
          In the picture story-books.

          All the pretty things put by,
          Wait upon the children's eye,
          Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
          In the picture story-books.

          We may see how all things are,
          Seas and cities, near and far,
          And the flying fairies' looks,
          In the picture story-books.

          How am I to sing your praise,
          Happy chimney-corner days,
          Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
          Reading picture story-books?



V

MY TREASURES


          THESE nuts, that I keep in the back of the nest
          Where all my lead soldiers are lying at rest,
          Were gathered in autumn by nursie and me
          In a wood with a well by the side of the sea.

          This whistle we made (and how clearly it sounds!)
          By the side of a field at the end of the grounds.
          Of a branch of a plane, with a knife of my own,
          It was nursie who made it, and nursie alone!

          The stone, with the white and the yellow and grey,
          We discovered I cannot tell _how_ far away;
          And I carried it back although weary and cold,
          For though father denies it, I'm sure it is gold.

          But of all of my treasures the last is the king,
          For there's very few children possess such a thing;
          And that is a chisel, both handle and blade,
          Which a man who was really a carpenter made.



VI

BLOCK CITY


          WHAT are you able to build with your blocks?
          Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
          Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
          But I can be happy and building at home.

          Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
          There I'll establish a city for me:
          A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
          And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride.

          Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
          A sort of a tower on the top of it all,
          And steps coming down in an orderly way
          To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.

          This one is sailing and that one is moored:
          Hark to the song of the sailors on board!
          And see on the steps of my palace, the kings
          Coming and going with presents and things!

          Now I have done with it, down let it go!
          All in a moment the town is laid low.
          Block upon block lying scattered and free,
          What is there left of my town by the sea?

          Yet as I saw it, I see it again,
          The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,
          And as long as I live and where'er I may be,
          I'll always remember my town by the sea.



          VII

          THE LAND OF STORY-BOOKS


          AT evening when the lamp is lit,
          Around the fire my parents sit;
          They sit at home and talk and sing,
          And do not play at anything.

          Now, with my little gun, I crawl
          All in the dark along the wall,
          And follow round the forest track
          Away behind the sofa back.

          There, in the night, where none can spy,
          All in my hunter's camp I lie,
          And play at books that I have read
          Till it is time to go to bed.

          These are the hills, these are the woods,
          These are my starry solitudes;
          And there the river by whose brink
          The roaring lions come to drink.

          I see the others far away
          As if in firelit camp they lay,
          And I, like to an Indian scout,
          Around their party prowled about.

          So, when my nurse comes in for me,
          Home I return across the sea,
          And go to bed with backward looks
          At my dear land of Story-books.



VIII

ARMIES IN THE FIRE


          THE lamps now glitter down the street;
          Faintly sound the falling feet;
          And the blue even slowly falls
          About the garden trees and walls.

          Now in the falling of the gloom
          The red fire paints the empty room:
          And warmly on the roof it looks,
          And flickers on the backs of books.

          Armies march by tower and spire
          Of cities blazing, in the fire;--
          Till as I gaze with staring eyes,
          The armies fade, the lustre dies.

          Then once again the glow returns;
          Again the phantom city burns;
          And down the red-hot valley, lo!
          The phantom armies marching go!

          Blinking embers, tell me true
          Where are those armies marching to,
          And what the burning city is
          That crumbles in your furnaces!



IX

THE LITTLE LAND


          WHEN at home alone I sit
          And am very tired of it,
          I have just to shut my eyes
          To go sailing through the skies--
          To go sailing far away
          To the pleasant Land of Play;
          To the fairy land afar
          Where the Little People are;
          Where the clover-tops are trees,
          And the rain-pools are the seas,
          And the leaves like little ships
          Sail about on tiny trips;
          And above the daisy tree
            Through the grasses,
          High o'erhead the Bumble Bee
            Hums and passes.

          In that forest to and fro
          I can wander, I can go;
          See the spider and the fly,
          And the ants go marching by
          Carrying parcels with their feet
          Down the green and grassy street.
          I can in the sorrel sit
          Where the ladybird alit.

[Illustration: THE LITTLE LAND

          In that forest to and fro
          I can wander, I can go]

          I can climb the jointed grass;
            And on high
          See the greater swallows pass
            In the sky,
          And the round sun rolling by
          Heeding no such things as I.

          Through that forest I can pass
          Till, as in a looking-glass,
          Humming fly and daisy tree
          And my tiny self I see,
          Painted very clear and neat
          On the rain-pool at my feet.

          Should a leaflet come to land
          Drifting near to where I stand,
          Straight I'll board that tiny boat
          Round the rain-pool sea to float.

          Little thoughtful creatures sit
          On the grassy coasts of it;
          Little things with lovely eyes
          See me sailing with surprise.
          Some are clad in armour green--
          (These have sure to battle been!)--

          Some are pied with ev'ry hue,
          Black and crimson, gold and blue;
          Some have wings and swift are gone;--
          But they all look kindly on.

          When my eyes I once again
          Open, and see all things plain:
          High bare walls, great bare floor;
          Great big knobs on drawer and door;
          Great big people perched on chairs,
          Stitching tucks and mending tears,
          Each a hill that I could climb,
          And talking nonsense all the time--

            O dear me,
            That I could be
          A sailor on the rain-pool sea,
          A climber in the clover tree,
          And just come back, a sleepy-head,
          Late at night to go to bed.



GARDEN DAYS



I

NIGHT AND DAY


          WHEN the golden day is done,
            Through the closing portal,
          Child and garden, flower and sun,
            Vanish all things mortal.

          As the blinding shadows fall,
            As the rays diminish,
          Under evening's cloak, they all
            Roll away and vanish.

          Garden darkened, daisy shut,
            Child in bed, they slumber--
          Glow-worm in the highway rut,
            Mice among the lumber.

          In the darkness houses shine,
            Parents move with candles;
          Till on all, the night divine
            Turns the bedroom handles.

          Till at last the day begins
            In the east a-breaking,
          In the hedges and the whins
            Sleeping birds a-waking.

          In the darkness shapes of things,
            Houses, trees, and hedges,
          Clearer grow; and sparrow's wings
            Beat on window ledges.

          These shall wake the yawning maid;
            She the door shall open--
          Finding dew on garden glade
            And the morning broken.

          There my garden grows again
            Green and rosy painted,
          As at eve behind the pane
            From my eyes it fainted.

          Just as it was shut away,
            Toy-like, in the even,
          Here I see it glow with day
            Under glowing heaven.

          Every path and every plot,
            Every bush of roses,
          Every blue forget-me-not
            Where the dew reposes,

          "Up!" they cry, "the day is come
            On the smiling valleys;
          We have beat the morning drum;
            Playmate, join your allies!"



II

NEST EGGS


          BIRDS all the sunny day
            Flutter and quarrel
          Here in the arbour-like
            Tent of the laurel.

          Here in the fork
            The brown nest is seated;
          Four little blue eggs
            The mother keeps heated.

          While we stand watching her,
            Staring like gabies,
          Safe in each egg are the
            Bird's little babies.

          Soon the frail eggs they shall
            Chip, and upspringing
          Make all the April woods
            Merry with singing.

          Younger than we are,
            O children, and frailer,
          Soon in blue air they'll be,
            Singer and sailor.

          We, so much older,
            Taller and stronger,
          We shall look down on the
            Birdies no longer.

          They shall go flying
            With musical speeches
          High overhead in the
            Tops of the beeches.

          In spite of our wisdom
            And sensible talking,
          We on our feet must go
            Plodding and walking.



III

THE FLOWERS


          ALL the names I know from nurse:
          Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
          Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
          And the lady Hollyhock.

          Fairy places, fairy things,
          Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
          Tiny trees for tiny dames--
          These must all be fairy names!

          Tiny woods below whose boughs
          Shady fairies weave a house;
          Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
          Where the braver fairies climb!

          Fair are grown-up people's trees,
          But the fairest woods are these;
          Where, if I were not so tall,
          I should live for good and all.



IV

SUMMER SUN


          GREAT is the sun, and wide he goes
          Through empty heaven without repose;
          And in the blue and glowing days
          More thick than rain he showers his rays

          Though closer still the blinds we pull
          To keep the shady parlour cool,
          Yet he will find a chink or two
          To slip his golden fingers through.

          The dusty attic spider-clad
          He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
          And through the broken edge of tiles,
          Into the laddered hayloft smiles.

          Meantime his golden face around
          He bares to all the garden ground,
          And sheds a warm and glittering look
          Among the ivy's inmost nook.

          Above the hills, along the blue,
          Round the bright air with footing true,
          To please the child, to paint the rose,
          The gardener of the World, he goes.



V

THE DUMB SOLDIER


          WHEN the grass was closely mown,
          Walking on the lawn alone,
          In the turf a hole I found
          And hid a soldier underground.

          Spring and daisies came apace;
          Grasses hide my hiding place;
          Grasses run like a green sea
          O'er the lawn up to my knee.

          Under grass alone he lies,
          Looking up with leaden eyes,
          Scarlet coat and pointed gun,
          To the stars and to the sun.

          When the grass is ripe like grain
          When the scythe is stoned again,
          When the lawn is shaven clear,
          Then my hole shall reappear.

          I shall find him, never fear,
          I shall find my grenadier;
          But for all that's gone and come,
          I shall find my soldier dumb.

          He has lived, a little thing,
          In the grassy woods of spring;
          Done, if he could tell me true,
          Just as I should like to do.

          He has seen the starry hours
          And the springing of the flowers;
          And the fairy things that pass
          In the forests of the grass.

          In the silence he has heard
          Talking bee and ladybird,
          And the butterfly has flown
          O'er him as he lay alone.

          Not a word will he disclose,
          Not a word of all he knows.
          I must lay him on the shelf,
          And make up the tale myself.



VI

AUTUMN FIRES


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

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

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



VII

THE GARDENER


          THE gardener does not love to talk,
          He makes me keep the gravel walk;
          And when he puts his tools away,
          He locks the door and takes the key.

          Away behind the currant row
          Where no one else but cook may go,
          Far in the plots, I see him dig,
          Old and serious, brown and big.

          He digs the flowers, green, red, and blue,
          Nor wishes to be spoken to.
          He digs the flowers and cuts the hay,
          And never seems to want to play.

          Silly gardener! summer goes,
          And winter comes with pinching toes,
          When in the garden bare and brown
          You must lay your barrow down.

          Well now, and while the summer stays,
          To profit by these garden days,
          O how much wiser you would be
          To play at Indian wars with me!



VIII

HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS


          DEAR Uncle Jim, this garden ground
          That now you smoke your pipe around,
          Has seen immortal actions done
          And valiant battles lost and won.

          Here we had best on tip-toe tread,
          While I for safety march ahead,
          For this is that enchanted ground
          Where all who loiter slumber sound.

          Here is the sea, here is the sand,
          Here is simple Shepherd's Land,
          Here are the fairy hollyhocks,
          And there are Ali Baba's rocks.

          But yonder, see! apart and high,
          Frozen Siberia lies; where I,
          With Robert Bruce and William Tell,
          Was bound by an enchanter's spell.

          There, then, awhile in chains we lay,
          In wintry dungeons, far from day;
          But ris'n at length, with might and main,
          Our iron fetters burst in twain.

          Then all the horns were blown in town;
          And to the ramparts clanging down,
          All the giants leaped to horse
          And charged behind us through the gorse.

          On we rode, the others and I,
          Over the mountains blue, and by
          The Silver River, the sounding sea,
          And the robber woods of Tartary.

          A thousand miles we galloped fast,
          And down the witches' lane we passed,
          And rode amain, with brandished sword,
          Up to the middle, through the ford.

          Last we drew rein--a weary three--
          Upon the lawn, in time for tea,
          And from our steeds alighted down
          Before the gates of Babylon.



ENVOYS



I

TO WILLIE AND HENRIETTA

            If two may read aright
            These rhymes of old delight
            And house and garden play,
          You two, my cousins, and you only, may.

            You in a garden green
            With me were king and queen,
            Were hunter, soldier, tar,
          And all the thousand things that children are.

            Now in the elders' seat
            We rest with quiet feet,
            And from the window-bay
          We watch the children, our successors, play.

            "Time was," the golden head
            Irrevocably said;
            But time which none can bind,
          While flowing fast away, leaves love behind.



II

TO MY MOTHER


          YOU too, my mother, read my rhymes
          For love of unforgotten times,
          And you may chance to hear once more
          The little feet along the floor.



III

TO AUNTIE


         _CHIEF of our aunts_--not only I,
          But all your dozen of nurslings cry--
         _What did the other children do?_
         _And what were childhood, wanting you?_



IV

TO MINNIE


          THE red room with the giant bed
          Where none but elders laid their head;
          The little room where you and I
          Did for awhile together lie
          And, simple suitor, I your hand
          In decent marriage did demand;
          The great day nursery, best of all,
          With pictures pasted on the wall
          And leaves upon the blind--
          A pleasant room wherein to wake
          And hear the leafy garden shake
          And rustle in the wind--
          And pleasant there to lie in bed
          And see the pictures overhead--
          The wars about Sebastopol,
          The grinning guns along the wall,
          The daring escalade,
          The plunging ships, the bleating sheep,
          The happy children ankle-deep
          And laughing as they wade:
          All these are vanished clean away,
          And the old manse is changed today;
          It wears an altered face
          And shields a stranger race.
          The river, on from mill to mill,
          Flows past our childhood's garden still;
          But ah! we children never more
          Shall watch it from the water-door!
          Below the yew--it still is there--
          Our phantom voices haunt the air
          As we were still at play,
          And I can hear them call and say:
          "_How far is it to Babylon?_"

          Ah, far enough, my dear,
          Far, far enough from here--
          Yet you have farther gone!
          "_Can I get there by candlelight?_"
          So goes the old refrain.
          I do not know--perchance you might--
          But only, children, hear it right,
          Ah, never to return again!
          The eternal dawn, beyond a doubt,
          Shall break on hill and plain,
          And put all stars and candles out,
          Ere we be young again.

          To you in distant India, these
          I send across the seas,
          Nor count it far across.
          For which of us forgets
          The Indian cabinets,
          The bones of antelope, the wings of albatross,
          The pied and painted birds and beans,
          The junks and bangles, beads and screens,
          The gods and sacred bells,
          And the loud-humming, twisted shells?
          The level of the parlour floor
          Was honest, homely, Scottish shore;
          But when we climbed upon a chair,
          Behold the gorgeous East was there!
          Be this a fable; and behold
          Me in the parlour as of old,
          And Minnie just above me set
          In the quaint Indian cabinet!
          Smiling and kind, you grace a shelf
          Too high for me to reach myself.
          Reach down a hand, my dear, and take
          These rhymes for old acquaintance' sake.



V

TO MY NAME-CHILD


1

  Some day soon this rhyming volume, if you learn with proper speed,
  Little Louis Sanchez, will be given you to read.
  Then shall you discover, that your name was printed down
  By the English printers, long before, in London town.

  In the great and busy city where the East and West are met,
  All the little letters did the English printer set;
  While you thought of nothing, and were still too young to play,
  Foreign people thought of you in places far away.

  Ay, and while you slept, a baby, over all the English lands
  Other little children took the volume in their hands;
  Other children questioned, in their homes across the seas:
  Who was little Louis, won't you tell us, mother, please?


2

  Now that you have spelt your lesson, lay it down and go and play,
  Seeking shells and seaweed on the sands of Monterey,
  Watching all the mighty whalebones, lying buried by the breeze,
  Tiny sandy-pipers, and the huge Pacific seas.

  And remember in your playing, as the sea-fog rolls to you,
  Long ere you could read it, how I told you what to do;
  And that while you thought of no one, nearly half the world away
  Some one thought of Louis on the beach of Monterey!



VI

TO ANY READER


          AS from the house your mother sees
          You playing round the garden trees,
          So you may see, if you will look
          Through the windows of this book,
          Another child, far, far away,
          And in another garden, play.
          But do not think you can at all,
          By knocking on the window, call
          That child to hear you. He intent
          Is all on his play-business bent.
          He does not hear; he will not look,
          Nor yet be lured out of this book.
          For, long ago, the truth to say,
          He has grown up and gone away,
          And it is but a child of air
          That lingers in the garden there.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note:

Punctuation was left exactly as it appears in the original text. Thus,
for example, the first stanza of "Summer Sun" has no closing
punctuation.

List of Books, the first "By" was changed to match the font-style of the
remaining titles.

Page 10, "II." changed to "III." (III. TO AUNTIE)





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