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Title: Mother Goose for Grown Folks
Author: Whitney, Mrs. A. D. T.
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 "Mother Goose for Grown Folks" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Illustrated By Augustus Hoppin


Houghton, Mifflin And Company


[Illustration: 0001]

[Illustration: 0006]

[Illustration: 0007]

[Illustration: 0009]


|Somewhere in that uncertain "long ago,"

Whose dim and vague chronology is all

That elfin tales or nursery fables know,

Rose a rare spirit,--keen, and quick, and quaint,--

          Whom by the title, whether fact or feint,

               Mythic or real, Mother Goose we call.

          Of Momus and Minerva sprang the birth

          That gave the laughing oracle to earth:

          A brimming bowl she bears, that, frothing


          With sparkling nonsense, seemeth non-

                    sense all;

          Till, the bright, floating syllabub blown by,

          Lo, in its ruby splendor doth upshine

          The crimson radiance of Olympian wine

               By Pallas poured, in Jove's own banquet-


          The world was but a baby when she came;

          So to her songs it listened, and her name

          Grew to a word of power, her voice a spell

          With charm to soothe its infant wearying


          But, in a later and maturer age,

          Developed to a dignity more sage,

          Having its Shakspeares and its Words-

                    worths now,

          Its Southeys and its Tennysons, to wear

          A halo on the high and lordly brow,

          Or poet-laurels in the waving hair;

          Its Lowells, Whittiers, Longfellows, to sing

          Ballads of beauty, like the notes of spring,

          The wise and prudent ones to nursery use

          Leave the dear lyrics of old Mother Goose.

          Wisdom of babes,--the nursery Shak-

                    speare stilly--

          Cackles she ever with the same good-will:

          Uttering deep counsels in a foolish guise,

          That come as warnings, even to the wise;

          As when, of old, the martial city slept,

          Unconscious of the wily foe that crept

          Under the midnight, till the alarm was heard

          Out from the mouth of Rome's plebeian


          Full many a rare and subtile thing hath


          Undreamed of in the world's philosophy:

          Toss-balls for children hath she humbly


          That shining jewels secretly enfold;

          Sibylline leaves she casteth on the air,

          Twisted in fool's-caps, blown unheeded by,

          That, in their lines grotesque, albeit, bear

          Words of grave truth, and signal prophecy;

          And lurking satire, whose sharp lashes hit

          A world of follies with their homely writ;

          With here and there a roughly uttered hint,

          That makes you wonder at the beauty


          As if, along the wayside's dusty edge,

          A hot-house flower had blossomed in a


          So, like brave Layard in old Nineveh,

          Among the memories of ancient song,

          As curious relics, I would fain bestir;

          And gather, if it might be, into strong

               And shapely show, some wealth of its

                    lost lore;

          Fragments of Truth's own architecture,


          In forms disjointed, whimsical, and rude,

          That yet, to simpler vision, grandly stood

          Complete, beneath the golden light of


|If a great poet think he sings,

               Or if the poem think it's sung,

          They do but sport the scattered plumes

               That Mother Goose aside hath flung.

          Far or forgot to me is near:

               Shakspeare and Punch are all the same;

          The vanished thoughts do reappear,

               And shape themselves to fun or fame.

          They use my _quills_, and leave me out,

               Oblivious that I wear the _wings_;

          Or that a Goose has been about,

               When every little gosling sings.

          Strong men may strive for grander thought,

               But, six times out of every seven,

          My old philosophy hath taught

               All they can master this side heaven.


               "Little boy blue! come blow your horn!

               The sheep in the meadow, the cows in the corn!

               Where's little boy blue, that looks after the sheep?

               He's under the hay-mow, fast asleep!"

|Of morals in novels, we've had not a few;

          With now and then novel moralities too;

          And we 've weekly exhortings from pulpit

               to pew;

          But it strikes me,--and so it may chance

               to strike you,--

          Scarce any are better than 66 Little Boy


          For the veteran dame knows her business:

               right well,

          And her quaint admonitions unerringly


          She strings a few odd, careless words in a


          And the sharp, latent truth fairly makes

               your ears tingle.

          "Azure-robed Youth!" she cries, "up to

               thy post!

          And watch, lest thy wealth be all scattered

               and lost:

          Silly thoughts are astray, beyond call of

               the horn,

          And passion breaks loose, and gets into the


          Is this the way Conscience looks after her


          In the world's soothing shadow, gone sound-

               ly asleep?"

          Is n't _that_, now, a sermon? No lengthened


          Of heads, and divisions, and argumenta-


          But a straightforward leap to the sure ap-


          And, though many a longer harangue is


          Of which careful reporters take notes on

               the spot,

          I think,--as the "Deacon" declared of his


          Put together for lasting for ever and aye,--

          A like immortality holding in view,

          The old lady's discourse will undoubtedly



                    "Hiccory, diccory, dock!

                    The mouse ran up the clock.

               The clock struck one, and down she run:

                    Hiccory, diccory, dock!"

|She had her simple nest in a safe and cun-

               ning place,

          Away down in the quiet of the deep, old-

               fashioned case.

          A little crevice nibbled out led forth into

               the world,

          And overhead, on busy wheels, the hours

               and minutes whirled.

          High up in mystic glooms of space was

               awful scenery

          Of wires, and weights, and springs, and all

               great Time's machinery;

          But she had nought to do with these; a

               blessed little mouse,

          Whose only care beneath the sun was just

               to keep her house.

          For this was all she knew, or could; with-

               out her, just the same

          The earth's great centre drew the weight;

               the pendulum went and came;

          And days were born, and grew, and died;

               and stroke by stroke were told

          The hours by which the world and men

               are ever growing old.

          It suddenly occurred to her,--it struck her

               all at once,--

          That living among things of power, her-

               self had been a dunce.

          "Somebody winds the clock!" she cried

               "Somebody comes and brings

          An iron finger that feels through and fum-

               bles at the springs;

          "And then it happens; then the buzz is

               stirred afar and near,

          And the hour sounds, and everywhere the

               great world stops to hear.

          I don't think, after all, it seems so hard a

               thing to do.

          I know the way--I might run up and

               make folks listen too."

          She sprang upon the leaden weight; but

               not the merest whit

          Did all her added gravity avail to hurry it.

          She clambered up the steady cord; it wav-

               ered not a hair.

          She got among the earnest wheels; they

               knew not she was there.

          She sat beside the silent bell; the patient

               hammer lay

          Waiting an unseen bidding for the word

               that it should say.

          Only a solemn whisper thrilled the cham-

               bers of the clock,

          And the mouse listened: "Hiccory! hie--

               diccory! die--dock!"

          Something was coming. She had hit the

               ripeness of the time;

          No tiny second was outreached by that ex-

               ultant climb;

          In no wise did the planet turn the faster to

               the sun;

          She only met the instant, but the great

               clock sounded--"One!"

          What then? Did she stand gloriously

               among those central things,

          Her eye upon the vibrant bell, her heel

               upon the springs?

          Was her soul grand in unison with that

               resounding chime,

          And her pulse-beat identical with the high

               pulse of Time?

          Ah, she was little! When the air first

               shattered with that shock,

          Down ran the mouse into her hole. "Hic,

               diccory! die--dock!"

          Too plain to be translated is the truth the

               tale would show,

          Small souls, in solemn upshot, had better

               wait below.


          "Little Bo-Peep

               Has lost her sheep,

          And does n't know where to find 'em;

               Let 'em alone,

               And they 'll come home,

          And bring their tails behind 'em."

|Hope beckoned Youth, and bade him keep,

          On Life's broad plain, his shining sheep,

          And while along the sward they came,

          He called them over, each by name;

          This one was Friendship,--that was Health;

          Another Love,--another Wealth;

          One, fat, full-fleeced, was Social Station;

          Another, stainless, Reputation;

          In truth, a goodly flock of sheep,--

          A goodly flock, but hard to keep.

          Youth laid him down beside a fountain;

          Hope spread his wings to scale a mountain;

          And, somehow, Youth fell fast asleep,

          And left his crook to tend the sheep:

          No wonder, as the legend says,

          They took to very crooked ways.

          He woke--to hear a distant bleating,--

          The faithless quadrupeds were fleeting!

          Wealth vanished first, with stealthy tread,

          Then Friendship followed--to be fed,--

          And foolish Love was after led;

          Fair Fame,--alas! some thievish scamp

          Had marked him with his own black stamp!

          And he, with Honor at his heels,

          Was out of sight across the fields.

          Health just hangs doubtful,--distant Hope

          Looks backward from the mountain slope,--

          And Youth himself--no longer Youth--

          Stands face to face with bitter Truth.

          Yet let them go! 'T were all in vain

               To linger here in faith to find 'em;

          Forward!--nor pause to think of pain,--

          Till somewhere, on a nobler plain,

          A surer Hope shall lead the train

          Of joys withheld to come again

               With golden fleeces trailed behind 'em!


               "Solomon Grundy

               Born on Monday,

               Christened on Tuesday,

               Married on Wednesday,

               Sick on Thursday,

               Worse on Friday,

               Dead on Saturday,

               Buried on Sunday:

               This was the end

               Of Solomon Grundy."

          So sings the unpretentious Muse

          That guides the quill of Mother Goose,

          And in one week of mortal strife

          Presents the epitome of Life:

          But down sits Billy Shakspeare next,

          And, coolly taking up the text,

          His thought pursues the trail of mine,

          And, lo! the "Seven Ages" shine!

          O world! O critics! _can't_ you see

          How Shakspeare plagiarizes me?

          And other bards will after come,

               To echo in a later age,

          "He lived,--he died: behold the sum,

               The abstract of the historian's page"

          Yet once for all the thing was done,

               Complete in Grundy's pilgrimage.

          For not a child upon the knee

          But hath the moral learned of me;

          And measured, in a seven days' span,

          The whole experience of man.


               "Three wise men of Gotham

                    Went to sea in a bowl:

               If the bowl had been stronger,

               My song had been longer."

|Mysteriously suggestive! A vague hint,

               Yet a rare touch of most effective art,

          That of the bowl, and all the voyagers in't,

               Tells nothing, save the fact that they did


          There ending suddenly, with subtle craft,

          The story stands--as 'twere a broken


          More eloquent in mute signification,

          Than lengthened detail, or precise relation.

          So perfect in its very non-achieving,

          That, of a truth, I cannot help believing

          A rash attempt at paraphrasing it

          May prove a blunder, rather than a hit.

          Still, I must wish the venerable soul

          Had been explicit as regards the bowl

          Was it, perhaps, a railroad speculation?

          Or a big ship to carry all creation,

          That, by some kink of its machinery,

          Failed, in the end, to carry even three?

          Or other fond, erroneous calculation

          Of splendid schemes that died disastrously?

          It must have been of Gotham manufacture;

          Though strangely weak, and liable to frac-


          Yet--pause a moment--strangely, did I


          Scarcely, since, after all, it was but clay;--

          The stuff Hope takes to build her brittle


          And therein sets the wisest men afloat.

          Truly, a bark would need be somewhat


          To make the halting history much longer.

          Doubtless, the good Dame did but gener-


          Took a broad glance at human enterprise,

               And earthly expectation, and so drew,

          In pithy lines, a parable most true,--

          Kindly to warn us ere we sail away,

          With life's great venture, in an ark of


Where shivered fragments all around be-


How even the "golden bowl" at last lies


[Illustration: 0044]


               "Rockaby, baby,

                    Your cradle is green;

               Father's a nobleman,

                    Mother's a queen;

               And Betty's a lady,

                    And wears a gold ring,

               And Johnny's a drummer,

                    And drums for the king!"

          O golden gift of childhood!

               That, with its kingly touch,

          Transforms to more than royalty

               The thing it loveth much!

          O second sight, bestowed alone

               Upon the baby seer,

          That the glory held in Heaven's reserve

               Discerneth even here!

          Though he be the humblest craftsman,

               No silk nor ermine piled

          Could make the father seem a whit

               More noble to the child;

          And the mother,--ah, what queenlier crown

               Could rest upon her brow,

          Than the fair and gentle dignity

               It weareth to him now?

          E'en the gilded ring that Michael

               For a penny fairing bought,

          Is the seal of Betty's ladyhood

               To his untutored thought;

          And the darling drum about his neck,--

               His very newest toy,--

          A bandsman unto Majesty

               Hath straightway made the boy!

          O golden gift of childhood!

               If the talisman might last,

          How the dull Present still should gleam

               With the glory of the Past!

          But the things of earth about us

               Fade and dwindle as we go,

          And the long perspective of our life

               Is truth, and not a show!


               "There was a man in our town,

                    And he was wondrous wise:

               He jumped into a bramble-bush,

                    And scratched out both his eyes.

               But when he saw his eyes were out,

                    With all his might and main

               He jumped into another bush,

                    And scratched them in again!"

|Old Dr. Hahnemann read the tale,

               (And he was wondrous wise,)

          Of the man who, in the bramble-bush,

               Had scratched out both his eyes.

          And the fancy tickled mightily

               His misty German brain,

          That, by jumping in another bush,

               He got them back again.

          So he called it "homo-hop-athy".

               And soon it came about,

          That a curious crowd among the thorns

               Was hopping in and out.

          Yet, disguise it by the longest name

               They may, it is no use;

          For the world knows the discovery

               Was made by Mother Goose!

          And not alone in medicine

               Doth the theory hold good;

          In Life and in Philosophy,

               The maxim still hath stood:

          A morsel more of anything,

               When one has got enough,

          And Nature's energy disowns

               The whole unkindly stuff.

           A second negative affirms;

               And two magnetic poles

          Of charge identical, repel,--

               A     s sameness sunders souls.

          Touched with a first, fresh suffering,

               All solace is despised;

          But gathered sorrows grow serene,

               And grief is neutralized.

          And he who, in the world's _mêlée_,

               Hath chanced the worse to catch,

          May mend the matter, if he come

               Back, boldly, to the scratch;

          Minding the lesson he received

               In boyhood, from his mother.

          Whose cheery word, for many a bump,

               Was, Up and take another!


               "I had a little pony,

                    His name was Dapple Gray:

               I lent him to a lady

                    To ride a mile away.

               She whipped him,

                    She lashed him,

               She rode him through the mire;

               I would n't lend my pony now,

               For all the lady's hire."

|Our hobbies, of whatever sort

               They be, mine honest friend,

          Of fancy, enterprise, or thought,

               'T is hardly wise to lend.

          Some fair imagination, shrined

               In form poetic, maybe,

          You fondly trusted to the World,--

               That most capricious Lady.

          Or a high, romantic theory,

               Magnificently planned,

          In flush of eager confidence

               You bade her take in hand.

          But she whipped it, and she lashed it,

               And bespattered it with mire,

          Till your very soul felt stained within,

               And scourged with stripes of fire.

          Yet take this thought, and hold it fast,

               Ye Martyrs of To-day!

          That same great World, with all its scorn,

               _You 've lifted_ on its way!


               "Hogs in the garden,--

                    Catch 'em, Towser!

               Cows in the cornfield,--

                    Run, boys, run!

               Fire on the mountains,--

               Run, boys, run boys!

                    Cats in the cream-pot,--

                    Run, girls, run!"

          I don't stand up for Woman's Right

               Not I,--no, no!

          The real lionesses fight,--

               I let it go.

          Yet, somehow, as I catch the call

               Of the world's voice,

          That speaks a summons unto all

               Its girls and boys;

          In such strange contrast still it rings

               As church-bells' bome

          To the pert sound of tinkling things

               One hears at home;

          And wakes an impulse, not germane

               Perhaps, to woman,

          Yet with a thrill that makes it plain

               'T is truly human;--

          A sudden tingle at the springs

               Of noble feeling,

          The spirit-power for valiant things

               Clearly revealing.

          But Eden's curse doth daily deal

               Its certain dole,--

          And the old grasp upon the heel

               Holds back the soul!

          So, when some rousing deed's to do,

               To save a nation,

          Or, on the mountains, to subdue

               A conflagration,

          Woman! the work is not for you;

               Mind your vocation!

          Out from the cream-pot comes a mew

               Of tribulation!

          Meekly the world's great exploits leave

               Unto your betters;

          So bear the punishment of Eve,

               Spirit in fetters!

          Only, the hidden fires will glow,

               And, now and then,

          A beacon blazeth out below

               That startles men!

          Some Joan, through battle-field to stake,

               Danger embracing;

          Some Florence, for sweet mercy's sake

               Pestilence facing;

          Whose holy valor vindicates

               The royal birth

          That, for its crowning, only waits

               The end of earth;

          And, haply, when we all stand freed,

               In strength immortal,

          Such virgin-lamps the host shall lead

               Through heaven's portal!


               "There was an old man of Tobago,

               Who lived on rice, gruel, and sago,

                    Till, much to his bliss,

                    His physician said this:

               To a leg, sir, of mutton, you may go.

               He set a monkey to baste the mutton,

               And ten pounds of butter he put on."

|Chain up a child, and away he will go";

          I have heard of the proverb interpreted so;

          The spendthrift is son to the miser,--and


          When the Devil would work his most piti-

                    less will,

          He sends forth the seven, for such embas-

                    sies kept,

          To the house that is empty and garnished

                    and swept:

          For poor human nature a pendulum seems.,

          That must constantly vibrate between two


          The closer the arrow is drawn to the


          Once slipped from the string, all the further

                    't will go:

          Let a panic arise in the world of finance,

          And the mad flight of Fashion be checked

                    by the chance,

          It certainly seems a most wonderful thing,

          When the ropes are let go again, how it

                    will swing!

          And even the decent observance of Lent,

          Stirs sometimes a doubt how the time has

                    been spent,

          When Easter brings out the new bonnets

                    and gowns,

          And a flood of gay colors o'erflows in the


          So in all things the feast doth still follow

                    the fast,

          And the force of the contrast gives zest to

                    the last;

          And until he is tried, no frail mortal can


          The inch being offered, he won't take the


          We are righteously shocked at the follies

                    of fashion;

          Nay, standing outside, may get quite in a


               At the prodigal flourishes other folks put


          But many good people this side of Tobago,

          If respited once from their diet of sago,

               Would outdo the monkey in basting the



               "Leg over leg

                    As the dog went to Dover;

               When he came to a stile,

                    Jump he went over."

|Perhaps you would n't see it here,

          But, to my fancy, 't is quite clear

          That Mother Goose just meant to show

          How the dog Patience on doth go:

          With steadfast nozzle, pointing low,--

          Leg over leg, however slow,--

          And labored breath, but naught complaining,

          Still, at each footstep, somewhat gaining,--

          Quietly plodding, mile on mile,

               And gathering for a nervous bound

          At every interposing stile,--

               So traversing the tedious ground,

          Till all at length, he measures over,

               And walks, a victor, into Dover.

          And, verily, no other way

          Doth human progress win the day;

          Step after step,--and o'er and o'er,--

          Each seeming like the one before,

          So that't is only once a while,--

          When sudden Genius springs the stile

          That marks a section of the plain,

          Beyond whose bound fresh fields again

          Their widening stretch untrodden sweep,--

          The world looks round to see the leap.

          Pale Science, in her laboratory,

               Works on with crucible and wire

          Unnoticed, till an instant glory

               Crowns some high issue, as with fire,

          And men, with wondering eyes awide,

          Gauge great Invention's giant stride.

          No age, no race, no single soul,

          By lofty tumbling gains the goal.

          The steady pace it keeps between,--

          The little points it makes unseen,--

          By these, achieved in gathering might,

          It moveth on, and out of sight,

          And wins, through all that's overpast,

          The city of its hopes at last.


               "Hark, hark!

                    The dogs do bark;

               Beggars are coming to town:

                    Some in rags,

                    Some in tags,"

               And some in velvet gowns!"

               Coming, coming always!

                    Crowding into earth;

               Seizing on this human life,

                    Beggars from the birth.

               Some in patent penury;

                    Some, alas! in shame;

               And some in fading velvet

                    Of hereditary fame;

               But all in deep, appeaseless want,

                    As mendicants to live;

               And go beseeching through the world,

                    For what the world may give.

               Beggars, beggars, all of us!

                    Expectants from "our youth:

               With hands outstretched, and asking alms

                    Of Hope and Love and Truth.

               Nor, verily, doth he escape

                    Who, wrapt in cold contempt,

               Denies alike to give or take,

                    And dreams himself exempt;

               Who never, in appeal to man,

                    Nor in a prayer to Heaven,

               Will own that aught he doth desire,

                    Or ask that aught be given.

               Whose human heart a stoic pride

                    Folds as a velvet pall;

               Yet hides an eagreness within,

                    Worse beggary than all!

               Coming, coming always!

                    And the bluff Apostle waits

               As the throng pours upward from the earth

                    To Heaven's eternal gates.

               In shreds of torn affection,

                    In passion-rended rags;

               While scarcely at the portal

                    The great procession flags;

               For the pillared doors of glory

                    On their hinges hang awide;

               Where each asking soul may enter,

                    And at last be satisfied!

               But a cold, calm shade arriveth,

                    In self-complacent trim,--

               And Peter riseth up to see

                    Especially to him.

               "Good morrow, saint! I'm going in

                    To take a stroll, you know;

               Not that I _want_ for anything,--

                    But just to see the show!"

               "Hold!" thunders out the warden,

                    "Be pleased to pause a bit!

               For seats celestial, let me say,

                    You 're not apparelled fit:

               _Yonder 's_ the brazen door that leads

                    Spectators to the pit!

               Whatever may be thought on earth,

                    We've other rules in heaven;

               And only poverty confessed

                    Finds free admittance given!"


          "Sing a song o' sixpence, a pocket full of rye;

          Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie:

          When the pie was opened, they all began to sing,

          And was n't this a dainty dish to set before the king?

          The king was in his counting-house, counting out his


          The queen was in the parlor, eating bread and honey;

          The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes,

          And along came a blackbird, and nipt off her nose!"

          It doesn't take a conjurer to see

          The sort of curious pasty this might be;

          A flock of flying rumors, caught alive,

          And housed, like swarming bees within a


          Instead of what were far more wisely


          Having their worthless necks wrung, every


          And so a dish of dainty gossip making,

               Smooth covered with a show of secrecy,

          That one but takes the pleasant pains of


          And out the wide-mouthed knaves pop,


          Blackbirds, indeed! Each chattering on-


          Comes forth, full feathered, black as black

                    can be;

          With quivering throats, all tremulous to


          And please, forsooth, some little social


          Whose reign may last as long as he is able

          To call his court around a dinner-table.

          But, mark the sequel! When the laugh is


          Think not to get the varlets under cover:

          The crust once broken, you may seek in vain

          To catch the birds, or coax them in again;

          Mrs. Pandora's famous box, I wis,

          Was nothing worse than such a pie as this:

          And so, some pleasant morning,--when,

                    down town,

               The king is busy with his bags of money,

          Leaving at home the queenly Mrs. Brown

               Safe at her breakfast of fair bread and


          Some quiet, harmless soul, who never


               Of any matters, save the plain pursuing

          Her daily round,--the hanging out of


               Or other lawful work she may be doing,--

          Finds, by the sudden nipping of her nose,

               What sort of mischief is about her brew-


          Not that, indeed, there's anything to hinder

          The thieves from flying though the parlor


          For never yet could sentinel or warden

          Keep scandals wholly to the kitchen gar-


          When, therefore, as not seldom it may be,

          Even in the soberest community,

          Strange revelations somehow get about,--

          Like a mysterious cholera breaking out

          Sudden, as Egypt's blains 'neath Aaron's rod,

          Contagious by a whisper or a nod,--

          When daily papers teem with many a hint

          That daubs them darker even than their


          When it would seem, in short, the very D----,

          Had let his little imps out on a spree;

          Conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt,

          Although, perhaps, you fail to trace it out,

          Such plagues spring not unbidden from the


          And, if the thing were sifted, 't would be


          _Somebody 's_ sown a pocket full of rye,

          Or been regaling on a blackbird pie!


[Illustration: 0076]

               "Ride a fine horse

                    To Banbury Cross,

               To see a young woman

                    Jump on a white horse.

               Rings on her fingers,

                    And bells on her toes,

               And she shall have music

                    Wherever she goes."

          Prophetic Dame! What hadst thou in


          A modern wedding in Fifth Avenue?

          Where,--like the goddess of a heathen


               With offerings heaped in such a glittering


          As must have emptied a Peruvian mine,

               And would suggest, but that we better


          Marriage must be a bitter thing indeed,

               And, like the Prophet of the Eastern tale,

          Must wear a very ugly face, to need

               Such careful shrouding in the silver


          Her bridal pomp, as a white palfrey, mount-


          Caparisoned at cost beyond all counting,

          With diamond-jewelled fingers, and the


          Ditto, for all that anybody knows,

          The smiling damsel goeth to the Banns?

               (Why add the "bury," or suggest the


          As if such brilliant ringing of the hands

               Preluded aught of trial or of loss?)

          Shall not Life's golden bells still tinkle


          And merry music make about her feet?

          Shall not the silver sheen around her spread,

          A lasting light along her pathway shed?

          No mocking satire, surely, hides a sting,

               Nor bitter irony a truth foreshows,

          In the gay chant the cheery dame doth


          "She shall have music wheresoe'er she


          _She_ shall have music! Shall she sit apart,

               And let the folly-chimes outvoice the


          That comes up wailing to the listening


               From the great world, where misery

                    maketh moan?

          Ah, Mother Goose! if such the tale it tells,

          Sing us no more your rhyme of rings and


          But may not--'twere a rare device in-


          The wondrous oracle in both ways read?

          And call up, as a fair beatitude,

          The gracious vision of true womanhood,

          That with pure purpose, and a gentle might,

          Upheld and borne, as by the steed of white,

          Pledged with her golden ring, goes nobly


          To trace her path of joy along the earth,--

          And, as she moves, makes music, silver-shod

          "With preparation of the peace" of God,

          That holds the key-note of celestial cheer,

          And hangs heaven's echoes round her foot-

                    steps here?


               "Two little blackbirds sat upon a hill,

               One named Jack, the other named Jill

               Fly away, Jack! fly away, Jill!

               Come again, Jack! come again, Jill!"

|I half suspect that, after all,

                    There's just the smallest bit

               Of inequality between

                    The witling and the wit.

               'Tis only mental nimbleness:

                    No language ever brought

               A living word to soul of man

                    But had the latent thought.

          You may meet, among the million,

               Good people every day,--

          Unconscious martyrs to their fate,--

               Who seem, in half they say,

          On the brink of something brilliant

               They were almost sure to clinch,

          Yet, by some queer freak of fortune,

               Just escape it by an inch!

          I often think the selfsame shade,--

               This difference of a hair,--

          Divides between the men of nought

               And those who do and dare.

          An instant cometh on the wing,

               Bearing a kingly crown:

          This man is dazzled and lets it by--

               _That_ seizes and brings it down.

          Winged things may stoop to any door

               Alighting close and low;

          And up and down, 'twixt earth and sky,

               Do always come and go.

          Swift, fluttering glimpses touch us all,

               Yet, prithee, what avails?

          'Tis only Genius that can put

               The salt upon their tails!


               "There was an old woman

                    Who lived in a shoe;

               She had so many children

                    She did n't know what to do:

               To some she gave broth,

                    And to some she gave bread,

               And some she whipped soundly,

                    And sent them to bed."

|Do you find out the likeness?

                    A portly old Dame,--

               The mother of millions,--

                    Britannia by name:

               And--howe'er it may strike you

                    In reading the song--

               Not stinted in space

                    For bestowing the throng;

               Since the Sun can himself

                    Hardly manage to go,

               In a day and a night,

                    From the heel to the toe.

               On the arch of the instep

                    She builds up her throne,

               And, with seas rolling under,

                    She sits there alone;

               With her heel at the foot

                    Of the Himmalehs planted,

               And her toe in the icebergs,

                    Unchilled and undaunted.

               Yet though justly of all

                    Her fine family proud,

               'Tis no light undertaking

                    To rule such a crowd;

               Not to mention the trouble

                    Of seeing them fed,

               And dispensing with justice

                    The broth and the bread.

               Some will seize upon one,--

                    Some are left with the other,

               And so the whole household

                    Gets into a pother.

               But the rigid old Dame

                    Has a summary way

               Of her own, when she finds

                    There is mischief to pay.

               She just takes up the rod,

                    As she lays down the spoon,

               And makes their rebellious backs

                    Tingle right soon:

               Then she bids them, while yet

                    The sore smarting they feel,

               To lie down, and go to sleep,

                    Under her heel!

               Only once was she posed,--

                    When the little boy Sam,

               Who had always before

                    Been as meek as a lamb,

               Refused to take tea,

                    As his mother had bid,

               And returned saucy answers

                    Because he was chid.

               Not content even then,

                    He cut loose from the throne,

               And set about making

                    A shoe of his own;

               Which succeeded so well,

                    And was filled up so fast,

               That the world, in amazement,

                    Confessed, at the last,--

               Looking on at the work

                    With a gasp and a stare,--

               That't was hard to tell which

                    Would be best of the pair.

               Side by side they are standing

                    Together to-day;

               Side by side may they keep

                    Their strong foothold for aye:

               And beneath the broad sea,

                    Whose blue depths intervene,

               May the finishing string

                    Lie unbroken between!


               "There once was a woman,

                    And what do you think?

               She lived upon nothing

                    But victuals and drink.

               Victuals and drink

                    "Were the chief of her diet,

               And yet this poor woman

                    Scarce ever was quiet."

               And were you so foolish

                    As really to think

               That all she could want

                    Was her victuals and drink?

               And that while she was furnished

                    With that sort of diet,

               Her feeling and fancy

                    Would starve, and be quiet?

               Mother Goose knew far better;

                    But thought it sufficient

               To give a mere hint

                    That the fare was deficient;

               For I do not believe

                    She could ever have meant

               To imply there was reason

                    For being content.

               Yet the mass of mankind

                    Is uncommonly slow

               To acknowledge the fact

                    It behooves them to know;

               Or to learn that a woman

                    Is not like a mouse,

               Needing nothing but cheese,

                    And the walls of a house.

               But just take a man,--

                    Shut him up for a day;

               Get his hat and his cane,--

                    Put them snugly away;

               Give him stockings to mend,

                    And three sumptuous meals;--

               And then ask him, at night,

               If you dare, how he feels!

               Do you think he will quietly

                    Stick to the stocking,

               While you read the news,

               And "don't care about talking?"

               O, many a woman

                    Goes starving, I ween,

               Who lives in a palace,

                    And fares like a queen;

               Till the famishing heart,

                    And the feverish brain,

               Have spelled to life's end

                    The long lesson of pain.

               Yet, stay! To my mind

                    An uneasy suggestion

               Comes up, that there may be

                    Two sides to the question.

               That, while here and there proving

                    Inflicted privation,

               The verdict must often be

                    "Wilful starvation."

               Since there _are_ men and women

                    Would force one to think

               They _choose_ to live only

                    On victuals and drink.

               O restless, and craving,

                    Unsatisfied hearts,

               Whence never the vulture

                    Of hunger departs!

               How long on the husks

                    Of your life will ye feed,

               Ignoring the soul,

                    And her famishing need?

               Bethink you, when lulled

                    In your shallow content,

               'Twas to Lazarus only

                    The angels were sent;

               And 't is he to whose lips

                    But earth's ashes are given,

               For whom the full banquet

                    Is gathered in heaven!

               "There was an old woman

               Tossed up in a blanket,

          Seventeen times as high as the moon;

               What she did there

               I cannot tell you,

          But in her hand she carried a broom.

               Old woman, old woman,

               Old woman, said I,

          O whither, O whither, O whither so high?

               To sweep the cobwebs

               Off the sky,

          And I 'll be back again, by and by."

|Mind you, she wore no _wings_,

     That she might truly _soar_; no time was lost

     In growing such unnecessary things;

          But blindly, in a blanket, she was _tost!_

               Spasmodically, too!

          'T was not enough that she should reach

               the moon;

     But seventeen times the distance she must


          Lest, peradventure, she get back too


               That emblematic broom!

          Besom of mad Reform, uplifted high,

     That, to reach cobwebs, would precipitate


          And sweep down thunderbolts from out

               the sky!

               Doubtless, no rubbish lay

          About her door,--no work was there to


     That through the astonished aisles of Night

                    and Day,

          She took her valorous flight in quest of


               Lo! at her little broom

          The great stars laugh, as on their wheels

                    of fire

     They go, dispersing the eternal gloom,

          And shake Time's dust from off each

                    blazing tire!

               "Little Miss Muffet

                    Sat on a tuffet,

               Eating curds and whey:

                    There came a black spider,

                    And sat down beside her,

               And frightened Miss Muffet away,"

|To all mortal blisses,

               From comfits to kisses,

     There's sure to be something by way of


               Each new expectation

               Brings fresh aggravation,

     And a doubtful amalgam's the best of our

               You may sit on your tuffet;

               Yes,--cushion and stuff it;

     And provide what you please, if you don't

                    fancy whey;

               But before you can eat it,

               There 'll be--I repeat it--

     Some sort of black spider to come in the




                    Is new come to town,

               With a petticoat green,

                    And a bright yellow gown,

               And her little white blossoms

                    Are peeping around."

|Now don't you call this

               A most exquisite thing?

          Don't it give you a thrill

               With the thought of the spring,

          Such as once, in your childhood,

               You felt, when you found

          The first yellow buttercups

               Spangling the ground?

          When the lilac was fresh

               With its glory of leaves,

          And the swallows came fluttering

               Under the eaves?

          When the bluebird flashed by

               Like a magical thing,

          And you looked for a fairy

               Astride of his wing?

          When the clear, running water,

               Like tinkling of bells,

          Bore along the bare roadside

               A song of the dells,--

          And the mornings were fresh

               With unfailing delight,

          While the sweet summer hush

               Always came with the night?

          O' daffy-down-dilly,

               With robings of gold Î

          As our hearts every year

               To your coming unfold,

          And sweet memories stir

               Through the hardening mould,

          We feel how earth's blossomings

               Surely are given

          To keep the soul fresh

               For the spring-time of heaven!


               "Baa, baa, black sheep!

                    Have you any wool?

               Yes, sir,--no, sir,--

                    Three bags full.

               One for my master,

                    One for my dame,

               And one for the little boy

                    That lives in the lane."

|T is the same question as of old;

               And still the doubter saith,

          "Can any good be made to come

          From out of Nazareth?"

          No sheep so black in all the flock,--

               No human heart so bare,--

          But hath some warm and generous stock

               Of kindliness to share.

          It may be treasured secretly

               For dear ones at the hearth;

          Or be bestowed by stealth along

               The by-ways of the earth;--

          And though no searching eye may see,

               Nor busy tongue may tell,

          Perchance, where largest love is laid,

               The Master knoweth well!


          A twister, in twisting, would twist him a twist,

          And, twisting his twists, seven twists he doth twist:

          If one twist, in twisting, untwist from the twist,

          The twist, untwisting, untwists the twist."

|A ravelled rainbow overhead

          Lets down to life its varying thread:

          Love's blue,--Joy's gold,--and, fair be-


          Hope's shifting light of emerald green;

          With, either side, in deep relief,

          A crimson Pain,--a violet Grief.

          Wouldst thou, amid their gleaming hues,

          Clutch after those, and these refuse?

          Believe,--as thy beseeching eyes

          Follow their lines, and sound the skies,--

          There, where the fadeless glories shine,

          An unseen angel twists the twine.

          And be thou sure, what tint so e'er

          The broken rays beneath may wear,

          It needs them all, that, broad and white,

          God's love may weave the perfect light!


               "I have a little sister,

                    They call her peep, peep;

               She wades through the water,

                    Deep, deep, deep;

               She climbs up the mountains,

                    High, high, high; '

               My poor little sister,

               She has but one eye!"

|Rough Common Sense doth here confess

               Her kinship to Imagination;

          Betraying also, I should guess,

               Some little pride in the relation.

[Illustration: 0109]

          For even while vexed, and puzzled too,

               By the vagaries of the latter,--

          Fearful what next the child may do,--

               She looks with loving wonder at her.

          Plain Sense keeps ever to the road

          That's beaten down and daily trod;

          While Fancy fords the rivers wide,

          And scrambles up the mountain-side:

          By which exploits she's always getting

          Either a tumble or a wetting.

          While simple Sense looks straight before,

          Fancy "peeps" further, and sees more;

          And yet, if left to walk alone,

               May chance, like most long-sighted people,

          To trip her foot against a stone

               While gazing at a distant steeple.

          Nay, worse! with all her grace erratic,

          And feats aerial and aquatic,

          Her flights sublime, and moods ecstatic,

          She of the vision wild and high

          Hath but a solitary eye!

          And,--not to quote the Scripture, which

          Forebodes the falling in the ditch,--

          Doubtless by following such a guide

          Blindly, in all her wanderings wide,

          The world, at best, would get o' one side.

          What then? To rid us of our doubt

               Is there no other thing to do

          But we must turn poor Fancy out,

               And only downright Fact pursue?

          Ah, see you not, bewildered man!

          The heavenly beauty of the plan?

          'T was so ordained, in counsels high,

               To give to sweet Imagination

          A single deep and glorious eye;

               But then't was meant, in compensation,

          That Common Sense, with optics keen,--

          As maid of honor to a queen,--

          On her blind side should always stay,

          And keep her in the middle way.


               "Little Jack Jingle

          Used to live single.

               But when he got tired

                    Of that kind of life,

               He left off being single,

                    And lived with his wife."

|Your period's pointed, most excellent Moth-


          Pray what did he do when he tired of the


          For a man so deplorably prone to ennui

          But a queer sort of husband is likely to be.

          The fatigue might recur,--and, in case it

                    should be so,

          Why not take a wife on a limited lease, O?

          Grant the privilege, pray, to his idiosyn-


          Some natures won't bear to be too closely

                    pinned, you see,--

          And, at worst, the poor Benedict might


          When weary, at length, of the light of his


          Or failing to find her, it may be, in salt,--

          "Disposed of, indeed, for no manner of


          (To borrow a figure of speech from the


          "But because the late owner has taken a


          I believe once before you have cautiously


          Something quite as concise on this delicate


          When distantly hinting at "needles and


          And that "when a man marries, his trouble


          But I don't recollect that you ever pretend

                    To prophesy anything as to the _end_.

          Unless we may learn it of Peter,--the


          Renowned for naught else but his eating

                    of pumpkin;

          Whose wife--I don't see how he happened

                    to get her--

          Had a taste, very likely, for things that

                    were better:

          Since, fearing to lose her, at last it be-


          He bethought him of shutting her up in a


          By which brilliant contrivance she _kept_ very


          What he did with her next, the old rhyme

                    does n't say,

          But she seems to be somehow got out of

                    the way,

          For the ill-fated Peter was wedded once


          To find his bewilderment worse than be-


          "If the first for her spouse had but small


          Now 't was his turn, alas! to fall short in


          And how do you think that he conquered

                    the evil?

          Why, simply by _lifting himself to her level_;

          By leaving his pumpkins, and learning to


          He came, saith the story, to love her right


          And the mythical memoir its moral con-


          For the lasting instruction of husband*

                    and wives.


          "There was an old woman in Surrey,

          Who was morn, noon, and night in a hurry;

               Called her husband a fool,

               Drove the children to school,

          The worrying old woman of Surrey."

|T was an ancient earldom over the sea,

          And it must be now as it used to be;

          Yet the sketch is of one I have known


          The very old woman that lives next door.

          One thing is unquestionable,--she 's


          As they say of an apple that's rather tart;

          For her nearest friends, I think, would

                    allow her

          To be, at her best, but a "pleasant sour."

          There's a certain electrical atmosphere

          That you feel beforehand, when she's near:

          And--unless you 'ye a wonderful deal of


          A shrinking fear that you might be


          She moves with such a bustle and rush,--

          Such an elemental stir and crush,

          As makes the branches bend and fall

          In the breeze that blows up a thunder-squall.

          And yet, it is only her endless "hurry";

          She's not so bad if she would n't "worry."

          And, for all the worlds that she has to make.

          If the six days' time she 'd only take.

          You may talk about Surrey, or Devon, or


          But I doubt if a special location was meant;

          It may sound severe,--but it seems to me

          That a "representative" woman was she;

          And that here and there you may chance

                    to trace

          Some specimens extant of the race:

          For a slip of the stock, as I've a notion,

          Somehow "in the Mayflower" crossed the



          "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickle peppers;

               And a peck of pickle peppers Peter Piper picked;

          If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickle peppers

               Where's the peck of pickle peppers Peter Piper


|Poor Peter toiled his life away,

          That afterward the world might say

          "Where is the peck of peppers he

          Did gather so industriously?"

          The peppers are embalmed in metre,--

          But who, alas! inquires for Peter?

          In sun or storm, by night and day,

          Scant time for sleep, and none for play,

          Still the poor fool did nothing reck,

          If only he might pick his peck:

          And what result from all hath sprung,

          But just to bite somebody's tongue?

          Or,--Lady Fortune playing fickle,--

          Get some one in a precious pickle?


          "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;

          Humpty Dumpty had a great fall:

          Not all the king's horses nor all the king's men

          Could set Humpty Dumpty up again."

|Full many a project that never was hatched

          Falls down, and gets shattered beyond be-

                    ing patched;

          And luckily, too! for if all came to chick-


          Then things without feathers might go to

                    the dickens.

          If each restless unit that moves among men

          Might climb to a place with the privileged


          Pray tell us where all the commotion would


          Must the whole pan of milk, forsooth, rise

                    to the top?

          If always the statesman attained to his hopes,

          And grasped the great helm, who would

                    stand by the ropes?

          Or if all dainty fingers their duties might


          Who would wash up the dishes, and polish

                    the shoes?

          Suppose every aspirant writing a book

          Contrived to get published, by hook or by


          Geologists then of a later creation

          Would be startled, I fancy, to find a forma-


          Proving how the poor world did most wo-

                    fully sink

          Beneath mountains of paper, and oceans of


          Or even suppose all the women were mar-


          By whom would superfluous babies be car-


          Where would be the good aunts that should

                    knit all the stockings?

          Or nurses, to do up the singings and rock-


          Wise spinsters, to lay down their wonderful


          And with theories rare to enlighten the


          Or to look after orphans, and primary


          No! Failure's a part of the infinite plan;

          Who finds that he can't, must give way to

                    who can;

          And as one and another drops out of the


          Each stumbles at last to his suitable place.

          So the great scheme works on,--though,

                    like eggs from the wall,

          Little single designs to such ruin may fall,

          That not all the world's might, of its horses

                    or men,

          Could set their crushed hopes at the sum-

                    mit again.


               "As Tommy Snooks and Bessy Brooks

                    Were walking out one Sunday,

               Says Tommy Snooks to Bessy Brooks,

                    To-morrow will be Monday."

|No doubt you are smiling at such a remark.

          And thinking poor Snooks but a pitiful


          But the words have a meaning, worth look-

                    ing for, too,

               As I'll presently try and demonstrate for you.

          'Twas a pity, indeed, in that moment of


          To dampen poor Bessy's hebdomadal pleas-


          Suggesting that close on the beautiful Sun-


          Must come all the common-place horrors

                    of Monday;

          That he to his toiling, and she to her


          Must turn, and take up with another week's


          Yet a truth for us all, since the shade of

                    the real

          Follows fast on the track of each sunny


          Now and then we may pause on Life's

                    pleasant oases;

          But between lie the desert's grim, desolate


          And our feet, with all patience, must trav-

                    erse them still,

          Reaching forward to blessing, through

                    bearing of ill.

          Yet for Snooks and his Bessy,--for me

                    and for you,--

          Comes a Saturday night when the wage

                    will be due;

          And we'll say to each other, in ecstasy,

                    one day,

          "To-morrow--the endless to-morrow--is



               "There was a mad man,

                    And he had a mad wife,

               And the children were mad beside;

                    So on a mad horse

                    They all of them got,

               And madly away did ride."

|Sagacious Goose! Fresh wonders yet!

          "What spell had power to help you get

          Those seven-leagued spectacles, that see

          Down to the nineteenth century?

          "The mad world, and his madder wife!"

          That, in your earlier time of life,--

          Though quite demented now,?t is plain,--

          Were sober, grave, and almost sane!

          And all the tribes, a motley brood

          Sprung into being since the flood,

          With their hereditary bent

          To cerebral bewilderment!

          If some old ghost, precise and slow,

          Who died a hundred years ago,--

          Always supposing he himself

          Has lain, meanwhile, upon the shelf,--

          Things as they are might only see,

          Surely his inference would be

          A simultaneous bursting out

          Of lunacy the earth about.

          The world is mad; his wife is mad;

               The rising generation's madder;"

          And when a charter can be had,

               Up to the moon they 'll build a ladder!

          They caught a horse awhile ago,--

          They called him Steam,--but he was


          After the lightning then they ran,

          Caught him,--and now they drive the


P. S.--1870.

          The great Pacific railroad's done;

          They've poured two oceans into one:

          Two shores with whispering cable tied,

          And cut a path for ships to ride,

          Where camel-tracks had used to be,

          Through desert sands, from sea to sea.

          _Moon_, quoth I? Faith, they 've _made_ a


          Leastwise, they 've _thought_ one; * and so


     * E. E. Hale's _Brick Moon_: likewise Jules
       Verne's _Projectile_.

          Upon man's whim his stroke succeeds,

          And turns his dreams into his deeds,

          Look sharply! for with word and blow,

          They 'll swing one up before you know!


          Why put a double P. S. in?

          'T would need a daily bulletin

          To tell how fast the craze goes on,

          With Keeley and with Edison;

          With things to eat, and things to travel,--

          Bicycles spinning o'er the gravel,--

          Great guns to simplify the fights,--

          Suns outshone with electric lights,--

          The whisper in the closet stirred

          In sooth across the housetops heard,

          And when the airy tangle tires

          Earth to be veined with throbbing wires.

          Women to physic and to preach,

          And help the national bird to screech;

          One man on Wall-Street curb to stand,

          With twenty railroads in his hand;

          Schools for the mass, effecting this,

          That all may know what most must miss

          Ah, who so sage that can pretend

          To pre-sage of such tale the end?

          I press the limit of my page;

          So, haply, may this frantic age!


               "Little girl, little girl, where have you been?

               Gathering roses to give to the queen.

               Little girl, little girl, what gave she you?

               She gave me a diamond as big as my shoe."

|If the old could share with the young


               If worn could borrow of new,--

          If faces could wear their roses again.

               And hearts be sweetened with dew,--

          If a child might bring the joy of a child,

               And give it to us to-day,--

          What glory of gem, or what weight of gold

               Would we think too precious to pay?


               "Little Jack Horner

                    Sat in a corner

               Eating a Christmas Pie:

                    He put in his thumb,

                    And pulled out a plum,

               And said, "What a great boy am I!"

|Ah, the world hath many a Horner,

               Who, seated in his corner,

          Finds a Christmas Pie provided for his


               And cries out with exultation,

               "When successful exploration

          Doth discover the predestinated plum!

               Little Jack outgrows his tier,

               And becometh John, Esquire;

          And he finds a monstrous pasty ready made,

               Stuffed with stocks and bonds and bales,

               Gold, currencies and sales,

          And all the mixed ingredients of Trade.

          And again it is his luck

          To be just in time to pluck,

          By a clever "operation," from the pie

               An unexpected." plum";

               So he glorifies his thumb,

          And says, proudly, "What a mighty man

                    am I!"

               Or perchance, to Science turning,

               And with weary labor learning

          All the formulas and phrases that oppress


               For the fruit of others' baking

               So a fresh diploma taking,

          Comes he forth, a full accredited Profes-


               Or he's not too nice to mix

               In the dish of politics;

          And the dignity of office he puts on;

               And he feels as big again

               As a dozen nobler men,

          While he writes himself the Honorable


               Ah, me, for the poor nation!

               In her hour of desperation

          Her worst foe is that unsparing Horner-


          To which War, and Death, and Hate,

          Right, Policy, and State,

     Are but pies wherefrom his greed may

                    grasp a plum!

               Oh, the work was fair and true,

               But't is riddled through and through.

          And plundered of its glories everywhere;

               And before men's cheated eyes

               Doth the robber triumph rise

          And magnify itself in all the air.

               "Why, if even a good man dies,

               And is welcomed to the skies

          In the glorious resurrection of the just,

               They must ruffle it below

               "With some vain and wretched show,

          To make each his little mud-pie of the dust!

               Shall we hint at Lady-Horners,

               Who in their exclusive corners

          Think the world is only made of upper-


               Who in the queer mince-pie

               That we call Society,

          Do their dainty fingers delicately thrust;

               Till, if it come to pass,

               In the spiced and sugared mass,

          One should compass,--do n't they call it

                    so?--a _catch_,

               By the gratulation given

               It would seem the very heaven

          Had outdone itself in making such a


               Or the "Woman-Horner, now,

               Who is raising such a row

          To prove that Jack's no bigger boy than


               And that she wo n't sit by

               With her little saucer pie,

          While he from the Great Pasty picks his


          Jealous-wild to be a sharer

          In the fruit she thinks the fairer,

          Flings by all for the swift gaining of her


               Not discerning in her blindness,

               How a tender Loving-Kindness

          Hid the best things in her own rejected


               O, the world keeps Christmas Day

               In a queer, perpetual way;

          Shouting always, w What a great big boy

                    am I!"

               Yet how many of the crowd

               Thus vociferating loud,

          And their honors or pretensions lifting


               Have really, more than Jack,

               With their boldness or their knack,

          Had a finger in the _making_ of the Pie?


               "Inty, minty,

                    Cutey, corn!



          Wire, brier,

                    Limber lock;

               Seven geese

                    In a flock,

               Sit and sing, by the spring;

                    O-u-t, out, and in again."

|Inklings and meanings,

                    "Whispers and hints;

               Sprinklings and gleanings,

                    Shimmers and glints.

               That's how the light comes

                    Down from the sides;

               That's how the beauty

                    Is born to our eyes.

               The seed is within,

                    And the thorn is without:

               Nature's sweet secret

                    Is guarded about.

               Yet briers are slender,

                    Locks are but slight,

               To touch of a genius

                    That searches with light.

               White by the fountain

                    Sit the calm seven;

               Unto their joyance

                    Its music is given.

               The world looketh on,

                    And still wonders in vain,

               As they go out and in,

                    And find pasture again.


               "Hey, rub-a-dub!

                    Three maids in a tub!

               And who do you think was there?

                    The butcher, the baker,

               The candlestick-maker,

                    And all of them gone to the fair."

|Strong hands are in the washing-tubs;

                    Gay heads, the labor scorning,

               Make holiday between the rubs,

                    And sport of Monday morning.

               Three maids? That's _your_ arithmetic.

                    The child that met the poet

               Would still to her own counting stick:

                    "We 're seven; I surely know it!"

               The boatman ferried over three

                    Across the haunted river;

               And only guessed it by his fee,

                    And wondered at the giver.

               And Betsey, Jane, and Mary Ann,--

                    If more your sense discovers?

               Well, rub your insight if you can,

                    And reckon up the lovers!

               Count Jane with her stout cleaver knight,

                    And Betsey with the baker;

               And Mary Ann in dreamy light

                    Beside the candle-maker.

               Yet of the six no soul is there,

                    For all your wakened vision!

               In the charmed circle of the Fair

                    They walk their Fields Elysian!

               The work goes on by board and bench,--

                    Hard tax of human sinning,--

               But hearts thro' labor-chinks still wrench

                    Some joy of their beginning.

               In the close limit that confines

                    Our getting and our giving,

               Unless we read between the lines,

                    What should we do with living?


               "Ding, dong, bell,

               The cat's in the well!

               Who put her in? Little John Green.

               Who pulled her out? Great John Stout!"-

|There was never a drama of sorrow

               But good folks might be found, I'm afraid,

          Who a queer satisfaction could borrow

               From the parts of importance they played.

          There is war for four years in the nation:

               There are havoc and panic abroad:

          Comes a tempest; a wild conflagration:

               Great souls go up home to their God.

          How the tall I's spring thick in the spell-


               I knew, or I saw, or I said!--

          How the small ones turn out to the swelling

               Each splendor of final parade!

          How many are left, we may wonder,

               Heart-mournful for that which befell?

          How many would wish back the blunder

               "When the Cat has got into the Well!

          Nay, more; if with infinite bother

               And peril, poor Puss is got out,

          Somehow, one boy seems famous as t' other,

               John Green is as big as John Stout!

          See, now! let me tell you a story

               Of something which happened in sooth;

          That shows with how fearless a glory

               The children and simple speak truth.

          Biddy came to her mistress refulgent;

               A whole sunrise of smiles on her face;

          'With w M'am, could ye be so indulgent

               Jist to shpare me the day, if ye plase?

          "It 's me cousin that 's dead,--Kate


               Was married to Barnaby Roach;

          An' I 'd want,--but I hates to be both-


               Three shillings to pay for the coach!"

          And so we were minus our dinners;

               And all that deplorable day

          We fasted, like penitent sinners,

               While Biddy the cook was away.

          But she came when the sunset was gleam-


               And her story she gleefully told;

          Disdaining all dolorous seeming,

               In a way that was good to behold.

          Each loving and sad recollection

               Of the late Mrs. Barnaby Roach

          Quite absorbed in the single reflection

               That she "wint wid himsel' in the coach!"

          "For he thrated me, faith, like a lady,

               An' he paid me me fare, an' ahl;

          An' he tould me that I, Bridget Brady,

               Was the charm of the funeral!"


               "There was a little woman, as I've heard tell,

               She went to market her eggs for to sell:

               She went to market all on a market day,

               And she fell asleep on the king's highway.

               "There came a little peddler, his name was Stout;

               He cut off her petticoats round about:

               He cut off her petticoats up to her knees,

               And the poor little woman began for to freeze.

               "She began to shiver, and she began to cry,

               Lawk-a-mercy on me! sure it is n't I!

               But if it be I, as I think it ought to be,

               I 've got a little dog at home, and he knows me!"

|I think of a poor, tired Soul,

                    That has trodden, up and down,

               The tradeways of this busy life,

                    To and from its market town,

               Till, traffic and toil all past,

                    At the silent close of the day,

               She lies down, weary and worn, at last,

                    On the king's highway;--

               The highway that brings all home,

                    Never a one left out;--

               And in her sleep doth a Stranger come

                    Who cuts her garments about.

               Cuts the life-tatters away,

                    All the old rags and the stain;

          And leaves the Soul 'twixt her night and


               To waken again.

               Slowly she wakens, and strange;

                    Strange and scared she doth seem;

               Marvelling at the mystical change

                    Come over her in her dream.

               "Where is my life?" she cries,

                    "That which I knew me by?

               Something is here in an unknown guise:

                    Can it be I?

               "I wonder if anything is:

                    Or if I am anything:

               Did ever a Soul come bare as this

                    From its earthward marketing?

               Let me think down into the past;

                    Bethink me hard in the cold;

               Find me something to stand by fast;

                    Something to hold!"

          She thinks away back to the morning,

               To something she loved and knew;

          And over her doubt comes dawning

               Sense of the dear and true.

          "I do n't know if it be I," she sighs;

               "But if after all it be,

          There 's a little heart at home in the skies,

               And he 'll know me!"


               "Jack and Jill

                    Went up the hill,

               To draw a pail of water:

                    Jack fell down

                    And broke his crown,

               And Jill came tumbling after."

|Jack and Jill went up the hill,

               When the world was young, together.

          Jack and Jill went up the hill,

               In Eden ways and weather.

          She to seek out blessed springs,

               He to bear the burden:

          Nature their sole choice of things,

               Love their only guerdon.

          That was all the simple creatures knew.

          Jack and Jill come down the hill,

               In the world's fall years, together.

          Jack and Jill come down the hill,

               And there is stormy weather.

          'T is all about the _pail_, you see;

               The sweet springs are behind them:

          Empty-handed seemeth she

               Who only helped to find them.

          Jill would like to swing a bucket, too.

          O'er the hillside coming down,

               Eagerly and proudly,

          Sparkling trophies to the town

               To bear, she clamors loudly.

          But, in face of all the town,

               Challenging its laughter,

          Many a Jack comes tumbling down.

               Shall the Jills come after?

          _Is_ that what the women want to do?

               Listen! When on heights of life

                    Hidden pools He planted,

               God to Adam and his wife

                    Wise division granted.

               Gave his son the pitcher broad

                    For wealth and weight of water;

               But the quick divining-rod

                    Confided to his daughter.

               Ah, if men and women only knew!


Impromptu, July, 1870.

               "The sow came in with the saddle;

               The little pig rocked the cradle;

               The dish jumped up on the table

               To see the pot swallow the ladle;

               The spit that stood behind the door

               Threw the pudding-stick on the floor.

                    "Odsplut!" said the gridiron,

                    Can't you agree?

                    I'm the head constable,

                    Bring 'em to me.'"

|Spain came in with an empty throne;

          The little prince rocked his German cradle

               "No, no," he said;

               And he shook his head;

          "I am well content to be let alone."

          All the dishes on pantry-ledge

          And shelf, and table, were up on edge,

                    To see how the Pot,

                    Simmering hot,

          Would foam at the dip of the threatening


          Nothing befell for a minute or so,

          (Nobody chose to be first, you know),

          Till the royal spit, with an angry frown,

          Threw a little pudding-stick down.

          "Odsplut!" shouts Emperor Gridiron,

               Hissing for a broil,

          "Those folks that stand behind the door

               Are getting up a coil!

          I 've red Fire panting at my feet;

               I thought how things would be!

          I?m creation's constable,

               Bring the world to me!"


                    "I'll sing you a song

                    Of the days that are long;

               Of the woodcock and the sparrow;

                    Of the little dog

                    That burnt his tail,

               And he shall be whipt to-morrow."

|That is the song the world sings

                    Of the long bright days:

               That is the way she evens things,

                    Portions, and pays.

               The dog that let his tail burn,

                    Proving one pain,

               Shall be whipt next day, that he may learn

                    Wisdom again.

               That is the song the world sings

                    To sin and sorrow:

               Over her limit her hard lash flings

                    Into God's morrow.

               Measures His dear divine grace

                    In compass narrow:

               Counts for nothing the infinite days;

                    Forgets the sparrow.

               The world sings only a half song;

                    Leaves our hearts sore:

               Heaven, in the time that is tender and long,

                    Will sing us more.


               "How many miles to Babylon?

                    Threescore and ten.

               Can I get there by candle-light?

                    Yes, and back again."

|How many miles of the weary way?

               Threescore miles and ten.

          Where shall I be at the end of the day?

               Yon shall be back again.

          You shall prove it all in the lifelong round;

                    The joy, and the pain and the sinning;

          And at candle-light your soul shall be found

               Back--at its new beginning.

          Down in his grave the old man lies;

               In from the earthward wild,

          At the open door of Paradise

               Enters a little child.


          "Two little blackbirds sat upon a stone;

          One flew away, and then there was one;

          The other flew after and then there was none;

          So the poor stone was left all alone."

          One of these little birds back again flew;

          The other came after, and then there were two;

          Says one to the other, pray, how do you do?

          Very well, thank you, and, pray, how are you?

|A stone is the barest fact:

                    But living and wonderful things

               Gather to earthly occasion and act

                    With folded or parting wings.

          Birds of the air are they,--

               Our knowledge, our thought, our love,--

          And the ethers in which they win their way

               Are breaths of the heaven above.

          Some place and point of the hour,--

               The same little fact for two,--

          Who knoweth the lasting wonder and power

               It holdeth for me and you;

          Away in the long-past years,

               With trifle of merest chance,

          Keeping, through losing, and blinding, and


               The key of its circumstance?

          I, left to the narrowed earth,--

               You into the great heaven gone,--

          And things of our sharing,--our work, our


          So lonely to brood upon!

          Yet ever, when thought recurs,

               With hardly a reckoning why,

          To some old, small memory, straightway stirs

               That sound of wings in the sky;

          And like birds to a resting-place,--

               No longer one, but the two,--

          Alight the remembrances, face to face,

               Alive between me and you;

          And heaven grows real and dear,

               And earth widens up to heaven;

          And all that had vanished, and stayed so


               In one marvellous glimpse is given.

          For memory is return:

               Ourselves are what we have been:

          And what we have been together, we learn

               Our life doth continue in.

          Spread, then, the angel wings!

               I lose you not as you go;

          Since heart finds heart in the uttermost


               Two thoughts may revisit so!


               'Taffy was a Welshman,

                    Taffy was a thief;

               Taffy came to my house

                    And stole a piece of beef:

               I went to Taffy's house,

                    Taffy was n't at home;

               Taffy came to my house

               And stole a marrow bone:

               I went to Taffy's house,

                    Taffy was in bed;

               I took the marrow bone,

                    And beat about his head."

|Old Time came unto my house of clay,

          And pilfered its pride of flesh away:

          I knocked at the doors of the years in vain

          To ask for its goodliness again.

          Old Time came unto me yet once more,

          For crueller theft than he thieved before;

          Stealing the very marrow and bone

          That the strength of my life was builded on.

          Old Time! At last thou shalt lie in thy bed,

          And thy years and days be buried and


          And the strength of the life to come shall


          In the great revenge I will have of thee!


               "See, saw! Margery Daw

               Sold her bed, and lay upon straw;

               Sold her straw, and lay upon dirt;

               Was n't she a good-for-naught?"

|O Margery Daw! Mistress Margery Daw!

     Not yours the sole lapse that the world ever


          In precisely such willful gradation

     I fear me religion and morals and law

     Go down, step by step, to the dirt through

                    the straw,

               In the church and the mart and the nation.

     A yielding of that, and a dropping of this,--

     ("With straw fresh and plenty, pray what

                    is amiss?

          The bed may be wider and cleaner;" )

     Ah, that's as you make it, and shake it,

                    you 'll find;

     And with slumber forgetful, and luxury


          What you rest in grows meaner and


     "In righteousness walking," the Scripture

                    verse goes,--

     "They rest in their beds," and find blessed


          And the beautiful contrary diction

     Is neither Isaiah's mistake, nor a word

     At random declared, to be scoffingly heard,

          But a truth in the freedom of fiction.

     O Margery Daw! Mistress Margery Daw!

     It shall always be gospel, what always was


          Some bed-making none may dispense


     In dust of the earth, or in heart of the


     And to soul of mankind shall no Sabbath be


          Save that it lies down and contents with.


               "Pretty John Watts,

               We are troubled with rats;

          Will you drive them out of the house?

               There are mice, too, in plenty,"

               Who feast in the pantry;

               But let them stay,

               And nibble away;

          What harm in a little brown mouse?"

|A curious puzzle haunts

               The brain of the commentator,

          Whether John Watts, perchance,

               Be preacher or legislator.

          We 're troubled with rats, we cry:

               And who shall drive out the vermin?

          Let senate and pulpit try:

               Urge edict, and scourge with sermon.

          They steal, they riot, they slay:

               They are noisy, they are noisome:

          Mice in the pantry, you say?

               Ah, those little things are toysome!

          They only nibble, you see;

               They only frolic and scamper:

          What harm can it possibly be

          A little brown mouse to pamper?

          They 're not of the race, John Watts!

               From them we need no protection;

          They will never develop to rats,

               By survival or selection.

          And yet, John Watts! John Watts!

               Whether in closet or highway,

          I doubt me that mice and rats

               _Are_ akin, in some sort of sly way;

          And as long as the world sins on,

               That the odds will be but a quibble

          Between the deeds that are done

               By brutes that devour--or nibble!

          "Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree;

          Up went the pussy-cat, down came he:

          Down came the pussy-cat, away Robin ran;

          Says little Robin Redbreast, catch me if you can!

          Little Robin Redbreast hopped upon a spade;

          Pussy-cat jumped after him, and then he was afraid;

          Little Robin chirped and sung, and what did pussy say?

          Pussy said, Me-ow! Me-ow! and Robin flew away."

|Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree,

               Heartsome and glad;

          The cheer of life, in the green of life, what-

               ever so blithe may be?

                    Fol de roi, de rol, lad!

          Up went the pussy-cat, and down came


               Woe befall for the claws, lad!

          The care of life, and the fear of life, it

                    creepeth so stealthily,--

                    So threatsome and sad!

               And woe befall for the claws, lad!

          Down came the pussy-cat, away Robin


               In his scarlet clad;

          There may be a day for running away, for

               redcoated bird or man.

                    Fol de roi, de rol, lad!

          Says little Robin Redbreast, Catch me if

                    you can!

               Two merry legs to the four, lad!

          A quick, bold pair, that scampers fair, is

               part of the saving plan,

                    And a match for the pad

               Aprowl on the pitiless four, lad!

          Little Robin Redbreast hopped upon a


               This is n't so bad!

          All of leafy green, and for joy, I ween, the

                    world was never made.

               Fol de roi, de rol, lad!

          Pussy-cat jumped after him, and then he

                    was afraid;

               Ah, what's the use of all, lad?

          There 's death in our work, there's fear to

                    lurk in the places where we played.

               What help 's to be had?

               And what is the use of all, lad?

          Little Robin chirped and sung, the same

               brave roundelay;

                    There's room to be glad!

          There's always a light behind the night;

               there's never a will but a way;

                    Fol de roi, de rol, lad!

          Little Robin chirped and sung, and what did

                    pussy say?

               Creeping, and stretching the claws, lad?

          Pussy said, O-w! P-shaw i Me-ow! for

               Robin was off and away.

                    There's wings to be had!

               And fol de rol for the claws, lad!

          "When I was a bachelor, I lived by myself,

          And all the bread and cheese I got I put upon a shelf.

          The rats and the mice, they made such a strife,

          I was forced to go to London to get me a wife.

          The streets were so broad, and the lanes were so nar-


          I was forced to bring my wife home in a wheelbarrow.

          The wheelbarrow broke, and my wife had a fall,

          Down came wheelbarrow, wife, and all."

|Of course it did. Whatever could you pos-

                    sibly expect, sir?

          You chose a quite peculiar style to cherish

                    and protect, sir!

          Your resource in emergency commands my


          But I wonder was it want--or excess--of


               That the wheelbarrow broke?

          The one-wheeled way gave out, you say?

               Indeed, I should have guessed so,

          From the very frank preamble of your pre-

                    cious manifesto!

          When all the bread and cheese you got you

                    shut up in your closet,

          Driving such single-blessed team, what

                    strange amazement was it

               That your wheelbarrow broke?

          You were managing quite finely till the rats

                    and mice got at it,

          And forced you to the slow resolve, how-

                    e'er you might combat it

          With other prompting, that a wife must be

                    your choice of crosses

          In a world of moth and rust and thieves,

                    and all provoking losses?

               Yes,--the wheelbarrow broke.

          When the scramble and the screed began,

                    you fain would share your trouble,

          But in no other sense, it seems, arrange for

                    going double;

          The generous thoroughfares of life were too

                    wide for your barrow,

          And the single footpath in the lane you

                    plodded was too narrow

               For a couple in a yoke.

          The old plan was a careful one; but it could

                    never carry

          New needs; you should have thought of

                    that before you thought to marry;

     And still you strove to push it through,

                    with many a frown and grumble,

          Till the poor little wife and all had got a

                    dreadful tumble,

               When the wheelbarrow broke.

          Broke midway in the struggle: a providen-

                    tial mystery:

          The usual meek accounting for of such mis-

                    handled history:

          As if it were the method of the wisdom and

                    the glory

          To run the earth on one wheel,--and each

                    small earthly story,--

               Till the wheelbarrow broke!

          Ah, friend! of God's mechanics you mistake

                    the grand solution;

          On no weak, single centre runs the perfect


          But one circuit round the sun,--one self-

                    circling for the planet,--

          And one divine consent of both,--so first

                    the power began it,

               And creation was bespoke.

          Be sure you must in everything waste hope

                    and love and labor,

          Moving cheaply by yourself,--nowise

                    greatly with your neighbor.

          Cease, then, with such ill-balance in the

                    ways of life to wraxle,

          And put an equal-turning wheel on each

                    end of your axle,

          Since your wheelbarrow 's broke!


          "Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,

               And merrily jump the stile, O!

          A merry heart goes all the day,

               Your sad one tires in a mile, O!"

|Who goes to-day by the footpath way,

          When with ocean leagues the steamships


          And under mountains and over plains

          Runs the level thunder of the trains?

          Who goes to-day by the footpath way,

          When the very babies despise great A,

          And swallow, with supercilious smiles,

          Whole sentences, like young crocodiles?

          Who goes to-day by the footpath way,

          Waiting for good things until he can pay,

          When with mortgage and loan and instal-

                    ment plan,

          Life is let furnished to every man?

          Who goes to-day by the footpath way,

          When Moses made awful mistakes, they


          And the story of all that began and is

          Never happened according to Genesis?

          Who goes to-day by the footpath way,

          Alone and straitened, with care and de-


          When the world, grown wiser by grace of


          Rolls assured toward heaven on the cause-

                    way broad?  .

          When things are thus since they must be so,

          And nobody stands by himself, you know,

          And none may jog onward, and none may


          But by force that prevails in the general?

          And what are the odds of tear or smile,

          Or whether we merrily leap the stile

          Or tumble helpless, since over we must,

          And the end of all is the "dust to dust?"

          Well,--take it so; yet the footpath way

          Doth its line through every thoroughfare


          The tramp of the legion may seem to efface,

          But the single treading hath left its trace.

          You may rush by steam with a seven-league


          Yet the footpath way's in the railroad


          Each goes his own gait, and clears his own


          And lives by inches, while driven by miles.

          You may scorn your penny, and spend your


          No less't will appear, when the day comes


          That farthing by farthing the score was


          And unto the uttermost shall be paid.

          And Moses will stand when philosophies


          And Huxley and Darwin have shut up


          For whatever you jump, and however you


          You can't get away from the decalogue.

          Then with faith and fear in the footpath


          And with steadfast cheer, trudge on, we


          For if ever earth into the kingdom rolls,

          'T will be by the saving of single souls!


          "Oh dear, what can the matter be?

          Two old women got up in an apple-tree:

               One came down,

          And the other stayed up till Saturday."

|I suppose you wonder how it should be

          That two old ladies got up in a tree:

          Did you never chance the exploit to see?

          Perhaps you have noticed pussy-cat go,

          With a wrathful look, and a way not


          And a tail very big, and a back up--


[Illustration: 0195]

          Well, that is the type of the thing I mean;

          And the apple-bearer, since earth was


          The tree of our trouble hath always been.

          So when "human warious" fails to agree,

          There stands the old stem of iniquity,

          And one or both will be "up a tree."

          Each in her style: some are stately and


          Some hiss and spit, and are up in a whiff;

          And some hunch along in a moody miff.

          It does n't much matter, however it be;

          The best of people may get up the tree;

          The question is, when they 'll come down,

                    you see!

          An offenseless one will descend straightway;

          One half in the wrong for a while may stay;

          Clear curstness will roost till the judgment



               "There was a crooked man,

               And he went a crooked mile;

               He found a crooked sixpence

               Against a crooked stile:

               He bought a crooked cat,

               Which caught a crooked mouse;

               And they all lived together

               In a little crooked house."

|Once begin with a crook,

               You 'll go on with a crook;

          Crooked ways, crooked luck, crooked peo-


               Crooked eyes, crooked mind,

               Crooked guideposts will find;

          Yes, a crook in the very church-steeple!

               The first mile you make

               The initial will take

          For all the long leagues that shall follow:

               Right and left, fork and swerve,

               Any turn that will serve,

          Up and down, betwixt hummock and hol-


               If you pause at a stile

               Or a fence for a while,

          Some twist must compel or invite you:

               Even sin, I've a doubt,

               Were it straight out and out,

          Could hardly persuade or delight you.

               And a shave, or a bend,

               Or a nick, must commend,

          For you, every quarter and nickel:

               Right pure from the mint,

               There were no magic in't

          Your trick-loving finger to tickle.

               Crooked money will buy

               But a crook or a lie,

          Whatever the ware that you deal in

               Your position in life,

               Your companions, your wife,

          Or even a playfellow feline

               And as thief catches thief

               In the common belief,

          Be the creature a cat or a woman,

               The crooked shall still

               Find the crooked at will,

          And you 'll see the old saw sayeth true, man.

               In kin, neighbors, house,

               In a servant or mouse,

          She will always put paw on her likeness:

               The same rule runs through,

               For the false and the true,--

          Straight to straight, and oblique to oblique-


               So together, you see,

               As you build, you shall be,

          Every line of the mould in the casting;

               And a nice little world

               You 'll have made, when you 've


          And squirmed to your state everlasting!


               "When the wind is in the east,

               'T is neither good for man nor beast;

               When the wind is in the north,

               The skillful fisher goes not forth;

               When the wind is in the south,

               It blows the bait in the fishes' mouth;

               When the wind is in the west,

               Then't is at the very best."

|Life, like the earth, to the east doth run,

          Turning her face to the face of the sun.

          The wind that is contrary, as she goes,

          Is always the bitterest wind that blows;

          Smiting the kiss of the shining away,

          And beating backward the beautiful day.

          The wind that comes from the icy pole

          Shutteth up hope in the human soul;

          Chiding the heart, and forbidding the will,

          And blasting our very beginnings with ill.

          Oh, the wind of the north, on its terrible


          Is the wind of wreck, and despair, and


          The breath that blows from the climes of


          From the isles of spice and the bread-fruit


With its unearned flavors to fill the mouth;

The zephyr that sends from the idle south

Its soft beguiling and treacherous touch,--

Let the soul in her struggle be shy of


          But the wind that springs from the hind-

                    ward side,

          And as earth rolls under sweeps over the


          The gust that is vigorous, brave, and true,

          Backing you up in whatever you do,

          Keen and impelling, the wind of the west,--

          Ah, well saith the legend, that breeze is the



          "There was a piper had a cow,

               And he had naught to give her:

          So he took up his pipes, and he played her a tune,

               Consider, cow,--consider!

          The cow considered very well,

               And gave the piper a penny;

          And bade him play the other tune,--

               Corn-rigs are bonny."

|Good folks of the pen, I am sure you 'll


     That author and publisher here we may see:

     The Piper plays tunes 'twixt the world and

                    the Cow,

     And he has, at the same time, the care of

                    the mow:

     When the crop in the barn shows but little

                    to feed her,

     To the Cow quoth the Piper, Consider, con-


     The Cow is a creature that cheweth the cud;

     Recalleth the hill-sides, with daisies be-


     The sweet running waters, the breezes at


     While mournfully munching the last lock of


     All the world that she knoweth of fra-

                    grance and stir

     Sealeth up in those dry stems its juices for


     So it cometh, forsooth, that because she can


     People think it is all she can hunger to do:

     Neither Public nor Piper doth fully allow

     For the interdependence of mood and of


     Or see how perplexing it may be, alas,

     For a Oow to consider between hay and


     Howbeit, if Mooly considereth well,

     And giveth the Piper good milk for to sell,

     The Piper he maketh his own modest


     Just one at a time, till he hath a great


     And during the while this is coming to pass

     Fresh fodder grows plenty, and delicate


     Once more life's a pasture; the season is


     The pipes play up cheerly the bonny-rig


     The Cow is in clover; the buttercups hold

     Right up to her chin their probation of


     But she knows, all the same, how't will be

                    when they bid her

     The next year, as last year, Consider, con-



     "Pussy sits behind the log; how can she be fair?

     Then comes in the little dog: Pussy, are you there?

     So, so, dear mistress pussy, pray tell me how you do!

     I thank you, little dog, I am very well just now."

|Behind the log, in the reek and mould,

               How many poor things are there,

          Who else might be sought, and caressed,

                    and told,

               So tenderly, they were fair!

     Behind the log, ah, behind the log,

               Such only can tell us how

     They are glad of a word from a little dog

               Who pauses to say Bow-wow!

[Illustration: 0211]



               My dame has lost her shoe;

               My master's lost his fiddlestick,

               And does n't know what to do."

          Who's crowing, I wonder, to spread such

                    a scandal

          Of the blithe-tripping dame who hath

                    dropped off her sandal,

          And seemeth all sad and forlornly to


          Where she used, in good hmnor, to dance

                    at her work?

          Perhaps honest chanticleer simply may


          In faithfully giving both sides of the story;

          And scorning the loss of the lady to tell

          Without owning the miss of the master as


          For how, when the fiddlestick 's gone, can

                    be played

          The music, without which the dancing is


          When the man 's out of tune, the dear

                    woman, 't is plain,

          Must wait till he graciously strikes up again.

          Let him hunt for his bow, then, and rosin it


          (If really he'd like to be told what to do;)

          And I think, with the fiddling, 't will surely

                    be found

          All else will come right for the merry-go-



               "Swing, Swong!

               The days are long!

               Up hill, and down dale;

               Butter is made in every vale."

|Your day will come, though it arrive but


          There 's cream in all life, set however


          And if, as Goose philosophy, you doubt


          Hear what the little hen found out about


          "Kroo! kroo! I've cramp in my legs,

          Sitting so long atop of my eggs;

          Never a minute for rest to snatch;

          I wonder when they are going to hatch!

          Cluck! cluck! listen! sleep!

          Down in the nest there's a stir and a


               Everything comes to its luck some day;

               I've got chickens! What will folks say?"


               "Here we go up, up, up,

               And here we go down, down, downy;

               Here we go backward and forward,

               And here we go round, round, roundy."

|Battledore and shuttlecock!

                    Hither, and thither, and yon:

               Never a flight without a knock,

                    And so the world goes on.

               Shuttlecock and battledore!

                    When will it all be done,--

               The life of the buffet and beat be o'er,

                    And the life of the wings begun?


          "The man in the wilderness, he asked me

          How many strawberries grew in the sea:

          I answered him, as I thought good,

          As many red herrings as grew in the wood."

|Of the face of the world they have found

                    it out

               By what they must fetch and do;

          Of the heart of the world they dispute and


               And yet it is just as true.

          Your fish is wholesome, and live, and clean,

               And my little fruit is fair;

          Though the earth's good Maker might never


               That both should be everywhere.

          And all for the want of a thought like this,

               It comes, and it can but be,

          That many a soul 's in the wilderness,

               And many adrift at sea.


                    "The man in the moon

                    Came down too soon

               To inquire the way to Norwich;

                    The man in the south,

                    He burnt his mouth

               With eating cold plum porridge."

|The moony men are always in a hurry

          That puts sedater people in a flurry,

          They get their theories through other media

          Than facts of gazetteer or cyclopaedia;

          And then, by some unknown, preposterous


          Rush forth to claim the realizing straight-


          Just think of lighting on a foreign planet,

          Asking for Norwich before folks began it!

          But then, those sleepy souls at the equator

          Lose just as much, you see, by starting


          Never strike in while anything is hot,--

          Wait till the porridge is all out o' the


          And through their indolence and easy fool-


          Burn their mouths, figuratively, in the cool-


          Too soon, too slow, there's nothing comes

                    out even;

          The very sun that travels through the


          Heels o'er the line, now this way and now


          And only twice a year can hit it pat.

          Even your two eyes make a parallax,

          And might mislead you on two different


               Between them both, the moral, I suppose,

          Is that each man should follow his own



          "Mistress Mary, quite contrary,

               How does your garden grow?

          With silver bells, and cockle shells,

               And tulips, all of a row."

|Prithee, tell me, Mistress Mary,

          Whence this rhyme of  "quite contrary"?

          Why should Mother Goose, beholding

          All these pleasant blooms unfolding,--

          Every prim and pretty border

          Standing in such shining order,--

          Looking o'er the lovely rows,

          Ask you "how your garden grows"?

          Mary, so precise and chary,

          Are you, anyhow, contrary?

          While these sweetly perfect lines

          Nod their gentle countersigns,

          Spending all your strength on this,

          Lest the least thing grow amiss,

          Weareth some unseen parterre

          Quite a different kind of air?

          Through your hating of a weed

          Runs there any ill to seed,--

          Thistle-blow of petulance,

          Bitter blade of blame, perchance,

          Or a flaunting stem of pride,

          In that other garden-side?

          Mary, in our women-hearts

          Spring such curious counterparts!

          Each her home-plot watching wary,

          Lest the faultless order vary

          By the dropping of a leaf,

          Or a blossom come to grief

          From the blasting of the storm,

          Or the eating of a worm,

          Let us both be certain, Mary,

          Nothing dearer goes contrary!


          "As I was going along, long, long,

          A singing a comical song, song, song,

          The lane that I went was so long, long, long,

          And the song that I sung was so long, long, long,

               And so I went singing along."

|It 's all along, and along,

          For the earth is bonny, and glad, and wide,

          And we 're free to wander, and free to bide,

               And we travel with a song.

               It's long, it's wearily long!

          For the path is narrowed to only a lane;

          And we 've sung it over and over again,

               That old, monotonous song.

               Nay, let us be thankful and strong,

          That the breath of life is as long as the day,

          And the song is as long as the weariful way,

               And so, we 'll go singing along!



|The white dove sat on the castle wall,

          I bent my bow, and shoot her I shall,"--

               (The fair bird, truth, and her meanings;)

          "I put her in my glove, both feathers and


          (The pretty plumes that her flight let fall;

               For I bound in a book my gleanings:)

          "I laid my bridle upon the shelf,--

          If you want any more, you may sing it


               (It's all in the wits and the weenings!)



|Doubtless I might go on to quote,

               With added paraphrase and note,

               Precept on precept, line on line,

               To instance here the fact divine

               That of her children, far and wide,

               Wisdom is always justified.

               Yet why oppress with proof of that,

               Since "verbum sapienti sat"?

               Suffice it to have struck the vein,

                    And shown some specimens of ore;

               If any seek for further gain,

                    The mine still holds abundance more.

               A mental pickaxe and a biggin

               Are all you need to go to diggin'.

               For, as the Swedish seer contends,

               All things comprise an inner sense;

               There's nothing we can write or say,

               In howsoever simple way,

               But seems a body, built to hide

               The soul that straightway is supplied;

               And many a fool, and prophet too,

               Hath spoken wiser than he knew.

               One parting word, and I am gone:

                    If I 've prevailed to make you see

                    These things as they appear to me,

               Then have I proved my Goose a Swan

               And I, small fledgling of the line,

                    Yet proud to bear the ancient name,

               May, for this ancestress of mine,

                    Claim place upon the page of fame;

               That not a bard of Saxon tongue

               More true to nature ever sung:

               More surely soothed, more deeply taught,

               Or passing fact more keenly caught;

               And that--exalted side by side

               With him of Avon, in the pride

               And love of millions--we should lay

               The tribute at her feet to-day

               That owns her, in this latter age,

               Goose, truly,--but, in savor, Sage!

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