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Title: Child Verse - Poems Grave & Gay
Author: Tabb, John B.
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.

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  Child Verse: Poems Grave and Gay


  CHILD
  VERSE


  Poems Grave & Gay
  by John. B. Tabb


  Small, Maynard & Company.
  Boston 1900


  _Copyright, 1899_
  _By Small, Maynard & Company_
  (_Incorporated._)

  _Entered at Stationers' Hall_

  _First Edition (1250 copies) November, 1899_
  _Second Edition (1000 copies) December, 1899_

  _The Rockwell and Churchill Press_
  _Boston, U.S.A._


  TO
  MY LITTLE FRIEND
  Henry Dinneen
  WITH MY
  LOVE AND BLESSING



NOTE


_Some of these verses have appeared in other places: one in St.
Nicholas, one in Harper's Young People; and the Sunday School Times, the
Youth's Companion, and the Independent have each published others. To
this class belong, I think, all I reprint from my Poems and Lyrics. Most
of the contents, however, is new._

                                                                J. B. T.



CONTENTS


                                     PAGE

Hare-bells                              3

At Cock-Crow                            4

A Duet                                  5

The Bobolink                            6

The Bluebird                            7

The Woodpecker                          8

Chimney Stacks                          9

Butterfly                              10

The Honey Bee                          11

The Bee and the Blossoms               12

The Tax-Gatherer                       13

Jack-o'-Lantern                        14

The Pleiads                            15

Jack Frost's Apology                   16

A Cavalcade                            17

Silk                                   18

Seed-Time                              19

A Legacy                               20

Amid the Roses                         21

Light and Shadow                       22

Sleep                                  23

The Fire-Fly                           24

The Dragon-Fly                         25

Archery                                26

A Spy                                  27

A Lament                               28

Fern Song                              29

The Brook                              30

An Interview                           31

Baby's Dimples                         32

A Bunch of Roses                       33

Foot-Soldiers                          34

The Baby's Star                        35

Slumber-Song                           36

An Idolater                            37

The New-Year Babe                      38

Bicycles! Tricycles!                   40

High and Low                           41

Doctor Tumble-Bug                      42

Close Quarters                         43

The Time-Brood                         44

Pains-Taking                           45

A Rub                                  46

Cats                                   47

An Insectarian                         48

The Squirrel                           49

Hospitality                            50

Frog Making                            51

The Tree-Frog Pedigree                 52

An Explanation                         53

The Parlour and the Fly                54

No Go                                  55

A Mouse, A Cat, and an Irish Bull      56

The Same with a Difference             57

An Inconvenience                       58

The Tryst                              59

Etiquette                              60

A Sunstroke                            61

A Shuffle                              62

Washington's Ruse                      63

Panic                                  64

The End of It                          65

A Little Child's Prayers               66

The Child: At Bethlehem                67

     To His Mother                     68

A Lily of the Field                    69

The Lamb-Child                         70

A Pair of Turtle-Doves                 71

Hide-and-Seek                          72

Out of Bounds                          73

The Child on Calvary                   74

The Child: At Nazareth                 75

St. Theresa and the Child              77

Tradition                              78



CHILD VERSE



HARE-BELLS


  Ring! The little Rabbits' eyes,
    In the morning clear,
  Moisten to the melodies
    They alone can hear.

  Ring! The little Rabbits' feet,
    Shod with racing rhyme,
  If the breezes they would beat,
    Must be beating time.

  Ring! When summer days are o'er,
    And the snowfalls come,
  Rabbits count the hours no more,
    For the bells are dumb.



AT COCK-CROW


  Crow! For the night has thrice denied
    The glory of the Sun,
  And now, repentant, turns aside
    To weep what he has done.



A DUET


  A little yellow Bird above,
  A little yellow Flower below;
  The little Bird can _sing_ the love
  That Bird and Blossom know;
  The Blossom has no song nor wing,
  But _breathes_ the love he cannot sing.



THE BOBOLINK


  Your notes are few,
    But sweet your song
      As honey-dew;
      And all day long,
  Dear Bobolink, a-listening,
  I never tire to hear you sing.



THE BLUEBIRD


  When God had made a host of them,
      One little flower still lacked a stem
      To hold its blossom blue;
  So into it He breathed a song,
  And suddenly, with petals strong
      As wings, away it flew.



THE WOODPECKER


  The wizard of the woods is he;
    For in his daily round,
  Where'er he finds a rotting tree,
    He makes the timber sound.



CHIMNEY STACKS


  In winter's cold and summer's heat
    The hospitable chimneys greet
    Their never-failing guests;
  For when the sparks are upward gone,
  The swallows downward come anon,
    To build their neighboring nests.



BUTTERFLY


  Butterfly, Butterfly, sipping the sand,
  Have you forgotten the flowers of the land?
  Or are you so sated with honey and dew
  That sand-filtered water tastes better to you?



THE HONEY-BEE


      O bee, good-by!
      Your weapon's gone,
      And you anon
      Are doomed to die;
  But Death to you can bring
      No second sting.



THE BEE AND THE BLOSSOMS


  "Why stand ye idle, blossoms bright,
    The livelong summer day?"
  "Alas! we labour all the night
    For what thou takest away."



THE TAX-GATHERER


  "And pray, who are you?"
  Said the violet blue
  To the Bee, with surprise
  At his wonderful size,
  In her eye-glass of dew.

  "I, madam," quoth he,
  "Am a publican Bee,
  Collecting the tax
  On honey and wax.
  Have you nothing for me?"



JACK-O'-LANTERN


  "Jack-o'-Lantern, Jack-o'-Lantern,
    Tell me where you hide by day?"
  "In the cradle where the vapours
    Dream the sunlit hours away."

  "Jack-o'-Lantern, Jack-o'-Lantern,
    Who rekindles you at night?"
  "Any firefly in the meadow
    Lends a Jack-o'-Lantern light."



THE PLEIADS


  "Who are ye with clustered light,
    Little Sisters seven?"
  "Crickets, chirping all the night
    On the hearth of heaven."



JACK FROST'S APOLOGY


  To strip you of your foliage
  My spirit sorely grieves;
  Nor will I in the work engage
  Unless you grant your leaves.



A CAVALCADE


  "Thistle-down, Thistle-down, whither away?
    Will you not longer abide?"
  "Nay, we have wedded the winds to-day,
    And home with the rovers we ride."



SILK


  'Twas the shroud of many a worm-like thing
  That rose from its tangled skein;
  'Twas the garb of many a god-like king
  Who went to the worms again.



SEED-TIME


  When Trumpet-flowers begin to blow
    The Thistle-downs take heed,
  For then they know 'tis time to go
    And plant the wingèd seed.



A LEGACY


  Do you remember, little cloud,
    This morning when you lay--
  A mist along the river--what
    The waters had to say?

  And how the many-coloured flowers
    That on the margin grew,
  All promised when the day was done
    To leave their tints to you?



AMID THE ROSES


  There was laughter 'mid the Roses,
    For it was their natal day;
  And the children in the garden were
    As light of heart as they.

  There were sighs amid the Roses,
    For the night was coming on;
  And the children--weary now of play--
    Were ready to be gone.

  There are tears amid the Roses,
    For the children are asleep;
  And the silence of the garden makes
    The lonely blossoms weep.



LIGHT AND SHADOW


  "I love you, little maid,"
      Said the Sunbeam to the Shade,
  As all day long she shrank away before him;
      But at twilight, ere he died,
      She was weeping at his side;
  And he felt her tresses softly trailing o'er him.



SLEEP


  When he is a little chap,
      We call him _Nap_.
  When he somewhat older grows,
      We call him _Doze_.
  When his age by hours we number,
      We call him _Slumber_.



THE FIRE-FLY


  "Are you flying through the night
    Looking where to find me?"
  "Nay; I travel with a light
    For the folks _behind_ me."



THE DRAGON-FLY


  "Is skimming o'er a stagnant pool
    Your only occupation?"
  "Ah, no: 'tis at this Summer School
    I get my education."



ARCHERY


  A bow across the sky
    Another in the river,
  Whence swallows upward fly,
    Like arrows from a quiver.



A SPY


  Sighed the languid Moon to the Morning Star:
  "O little maid, how late you are!"
  "I couldn't rise from my couch," quoth she,
  "While the Man-in-the-Moon was looking at me."



A LAMENT


  "O lady cloud, why are you weeping?" I said.
  "Because," she made answer, "my rain-beau is dead."



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!



THE BROOK


  It is the mountain to the sea
  That makes a messenger of me;
  And, lest I loiter on the way
  And lose what I am sent to say,
  He sets his reverie to song,
  And bids me sing it all day long.
  Farewell! for here the stream is slow,
  And I have many a mile to go.



AN INTERVIEW


  I sat with chill December
    Beside the evening fire.
  "And what do you remember,"
    I ventured to inquire,
  "Of seasons long forsaken?"
    He answered in amaze,
  "My age you have mistaken;
    I've lived but thirty _days_."



BABY'S DIMPLES


  Love goes playing hide-and-seek
  'Mid the roses on her cheek,
  With a little imp of Laughter,
  Who, the while he follows after,
  Leaves the footprints that we trace
  All about the Kissing-place.



A BUNCH OF ROSES


  The rosy mouth and rosy toe
    Of little baby brother
  Until about a month ago
    Had never met each other;
  But nowadays the neighbours sweet,
    In every sort of weather,
  Half way with rosy fingers meet,
    To kiss and play together.



FOOT-SOLDIERS


  'Tis all the way to Toe-town,
    Beyond the Knee-high hill,
  That Baby has to travel down
    To see the soldiers drill.

  One, two, three, four, five, a-row--
    A captain and his men--
  And on the other side, you know,
    Are six, seven, eight, nine, ten.



THE BABY'S STAR


  The Star that watched you in your sleep
    Has just put out his light.
  "Good-day, to you on earth," he said,
    "Is here in heaven Good-night.

  "But tell the Baby when he wakes
    To watch for my return;
  For I'll hang out my lamp again
    When his begins to burn."



SLUMBER-SONG


      Lo, in the west
      A cloud at rest--
  A babe upon its mother's breast--
      Is sleeping now.

      Above it beams
      A star that seems
  To shed the light of holy dreams
      Upon its brow.

      But cloud and star,
      Tho' nearer far
  They seem, my Babe, more distant are
      From heaven than thou.



AN IDOLATER


  The Baby has no skies
  But Mother's eyes,
      Nor any God above
      But Mother's Love.
  His angel sees the Father's face,
  But _he_ the Mother's, full of grace;
  And yet the heavenly kingdom is
      Of such as this.



THE NEW-YEAR BABE


  Two together, Babe and Year,
    At the midnight chime,
  Through the darkness drifted here
    To the coast of Time.

  Two together, Babe and Year,
    Over night and day,
  Crossed the desert Winter drear
    To the land of May.

  On together, Babe and Year
    Swift to Summer passed.
  "Rest a moment, Brother dear,"
    Said the Babe at last.

  "Nay, but onward," answered Year,
    "We must farther go,
  Through the Vale of Autumn sere
    To the Mount of Snow."

  Toiling upward, Babe and Year
    Climbed the frozen height.
  "We may rest together here,
    Brother Babe,--Good-night!"

  Then together Babe and Year
    Slept; but ere the dawn,
  Vanishing, I know not where,
    Brother Year was _gone_!



BICYCLES! TRICYCLES!


  Bicycles! Tricycles! Nay, to shun laughter,
  _Try_ cycles first, and _buy_ cycles after;
  For surely the buyer deserves but the worst
  Who would buy cycles, failing to try cycles first.



HIGH AND LOW


  A Boot and a Shoe and a Slipper
  Lived once in the Cobbler's row:
    But the Boot and the Shoe
    Would have nothing to do
  With the Slipper, because she was low.

  But the king and the queen and their daughter
  On the Cobbler chanced to call;
    And as neither the Boot
    Nor the Shoe would suit
  The Slipper went off to the ball.



DOCTOR TUMBLE-BUG


        With wondrous skill
        He works until,
  To suit himself, he makes it
        A patent Pill,
        To cure or kill
  The sufferer that takes it.



CLOSE QUARTERS


  Little toe, big toe, three toes between,
    All in a pointed shoe!
  Never was narrower forecastle seen
    Nor so little room for the crew.



THE TIME-BROOD


  I wonder how the mother-Hour
    Can feed each hungry Minute,
  And see that every one of them
    Gets sixty seconds in it;

  And whether, when she goes abroad,
    She knows which ones attend her;
  For all of them are just alike
    In age and size and gender.



PAINS-TAKING


  "Take pains," growled the Tooth to the Dentist;
  "The same," said the Dentist, "to you."
        Then he added, "No doubt,
        Before you are out
  You'll have taken most pains of the two."



A RUB


  'Twixt Handkerchief and Nose
  A difference arose;
  And a tradition goes
  That they settled it by blows.



CATS


  They fought like demons of the night
    Beneath a shrunken moon,
  And all the roof at dawn of light
    With _fiddle-strings_ was strewn.



AN INSECTARIAN


  "I cannot wash my dog," she said,
    "Nor touch him with a comb,
  For fear the Fleas upon him bred
    May find no other home."



THE SQUIRREL


  Who combs you, little Squirrel?
    And do you twist and twirl
  When some one puts the papers on
    To keep your tail in curl?

  And must you see the dentist
    For every tooth you break?
  And are you apt from eating nuts
    To get the stomach-ache?



HOSPITALITY


  Said a Snake to a Frog with a wrinkled skin,
  "As I notice, dear, that your dress is thin,
  And a _rain_ is coming, I'll take you in."



FROG-MAKING


  Said Frog papa to Frog mamma,
    "Where is our little daughter?"
  Said Frog mamma to Frog papa,
    "She's underneath the water."

  Then down the anxious father went,
    And there, indeed, he found her,
  A-tickling tadpoles, till they kicked
    Their tails off all around her.



THE TREE-FROG PEDIGREE


  Our great ancestor, Polly Wog,
  With her cousin, Thaddeus Pole,
  Eloped from her home in an Irish bog,
  And crossing the sea on the "Mayflower's" log,
      At the risk of body and soul,
    Married a Frog; and thus, you see,
    How we come by a place in the family-tree
  And the family name, Tree-frog.



AN EXPLANATION


  To the young lady Toad said her mother,
    "How had you the boldness, my dear,
  To propose to Miss Polliwog's brother?"
    "Why, mamma," she replied, "'tis leap year!"



THE PARLOUR AND THE FLY


  "Will you walk into the Spider?"
    Said the Parlour to the Fly;
  "He's the emptiest little spider
    That ever you did spy.

  "And he covers me with cobweb;
    So I want you to go in;
  For--his lower chamber furnished--
    He will have no room to spin."



NO GO


  Said a simpering Butterfly, sipping a rose,
  To a graceless Mosquito on grandpapa's nose,
        Whom she hoped to entrap,
  "Pray come, Sir, and taste of this delicate stuff."
  "Thanks, Madam, I'm just now taking my snuff,"
        Quoth the impudent chap.



A MOUSE, A CAT, AND AN IRISH BULL


  A little mouse nibbled a Limburger cheese,
    And back to his bedchamber stole,
  Whence never again was he destined to squeeze,
    For the smell was too large for the hole.

  And a Pussy Cat, passing, instinctively stood;
    For her appetite urged her to try it;
  But she answered her stomach that grumbled for food,
    "I should die if I lived on such diet."



THE SAME WITH A DIFFERENCE


  When first they wed he was a sing-er,
  And much delight his songs did bring her;
  But nowadays he proves a sin-ger,
  And makes it hot for her as ginger.



AN INCONVENIENCE


  To his cousin the Bat
  Squeaked the envious Rat,
  "How fine to be able to fly!"
  Tittered she, "Leather wings
  Are convenient things;
  But nothing _to sit on_ have I."



THE TRYST


  Potato was deep in the dark under ground,
    Tomato, above in the light.
  The little Tomato was ruddy and round,
    The little Potato was white.

  And redder and redder she rounded above,
    And paler and paler he grew,
  And neither suspected a mutual love
    Till they met in a Brunswick stew.



ETIQUETTE


  "I long," said the new-gathered Lettuce,
      "To meet our illustrious guest."
      Cried the Caster, "Such haste
      Is in very bad taste:
  See first that you're properly _dressed_."



A SUNSTROKE


      The Sun courted Water,
      Earth's loveliest daughter,
  And strove to abduct her in vain:
      For, when he had caught her,
      And to the clouds brought her,
  Home she came running in rain.



A SHUFFLE


  There was a rumpus in the Pack,
  Whereof the King and Queen and Jack
      Were playing knavish parts.
  On Club and Spade was put the blame;
  But these asserted 'twas a game
      Of Diamonds and Hearts.



WASHINGTON'S RUSE


  When Georgie would not go to bed,
      If some one asked him why,
  "What is the use?" he gravely said,
      "You know I cannot lie."



PANIC


  It struck the signs of the Zodiac,
    Around the immovable Man
  Who stands in front of the Almanack
    To show his interior plan.

  The Scorpion attacked the Bull,
  The Bull aroused the Lion;
  The Crab by their tails
  Flung the Fish in the Scales,
  Where they floundered as on a gridiron;
  The Billy Goat went for the Gemini twins;
  The Ram made a rush at Aquarius;
  And a n_arrow_ escape had the Virgo's shins
  From the shaft of her beau Sagittarius.



THE END OF IT


  A whole-tail dog, and a half-tail dog,
    And a dog without a tail,
  Went all three out on an autumn day
    To follow a red-fox trail.

  But the dogs that carried their tails along
    Fell out, it is said, by the way;
  And the loss of a tail and a half at the end
    Of the dogs put an end to the fray.

  When each, as a morsel sweet, gulped down
    What had late been a neighbor's pride,
  "You've kept your tails," laughed the no-tail dog,
    "But you wear them now _inside_."



A LITTLE CHILD'S PRAYERS


  I

  Make me, dear Lord, polite and kind
    To every one, I pray;
  And may I ask you how you find
    _Yourself_, dear Lord, to-day?


  II

  Lord, I have lost a toy
    With which I love to play;
  And as you were yourself a boy
    Of just my age to-day,
  O Son of Mary, would you mind
  To help me now my toy to find?



THE CHILD

  AT BETHLEHEM


  I

  Long, long before the Babe could speak,
  When he would kiss his mother's cheek
    And to her bosom press,
  The brightest angels, standing near,
  Would turn away to hide a tear,
    For they are motherless.


  II

  Where were ye, Birds, that bless His name,
  When wingless to the world He came,
  And _wordless_,--tho' Himself the Word
  That made the blossom and the bird?


  III

  TO HIS MOTHER

  He brought a Lily white,
  That bowed its fragrant head
  And blushed a rosy red
  Before her fairer light.

  He brought a Rose; and lo,
  The crimson blossom saw
  Her beauty; and in awe
  Became as white as snow.



A LILY OF THE FIELD


  In all his glory, Solomon
    Was never so arrayed;
  Yet far more beautiful is one--
    A MOTHER and a MAID--
  Whose loveliness and lowliness
  God stooped from highest heaven to bless.



THE LAMB-CHILD


  When Christ the Babe was born,
    Full many a little lamb,
  Upon the wintry hills forlorn,
    Was nestled near its dam;

  And, waking or asleep,
    Upon His mother's breast,
  For love of her, each mother-sheep
    And baby-lamb He blessed.



A PAIR OF TURTLE-DOVES

  THE PURIFICATION


  "Where, woman, is thine offering--
      The debt of law and love?"
    "My Babe a tender nestling is,
      And I the mother-dove."



HIDE-AND-SEEK


  You hid your little self, dear Lord,
    As other children do;
  But oh, how great was their reward
    Who sought three days for you!



OUT OF BOUNDS


  A little Boy, of heavenly birth,
    But far from home to-day,
  Comes down to find His ball, the Earth,
    That Sin has cast away.
  O comrades, let us one and all
  Join in to get Him back His ball.



THE CHILD ON CALVARY


      The Cross is tall,
      And I too small
      To reach His hand
      Or touch His feet;
      But on the sand
  His footprints I have found,
      And it is sweet
  To kiss the holy ground.



THE CHILD

  AT NAZARETH


  I

  Once, measuring His height, He stood
    Beneath a cypress-tree,
  And, leaning back against the wood,
    Stretched wide His arms for me;
  Whereat a brooding mother-dove
  Fled fluttering from her nest above.


  II

  At evening He loved to walk
  Among the shadowy hills, and talk
          Of Bethlehem;
    But if perchance there passed us by
  The paschal lambs, He'd look at them
    In silence, long and tenderly;
  And when again He'd try to speak,
  I've seen the tears upon His cheek.



ST. THERESA AND THE CHILD


  "Who art thou, son?" The little stranger smiled,
    "And who art _thou_?" Whereto she made reply,
  "Theresa I of Jesus am, my child."
    He--radiant--"Jesus of Theresa I."



TRADITION


  When home our blessed Lord was gone,
  His mother lived alone with John;
  For each had secrets to impart
  That Love had taught them both _by heart_.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:


  Text in italics is surrounded with underscores: _italics_.

  Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been retained from the original.





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