The Project Gutenberg eBook, Graded Memory Selections, by Various, Edited by S. D. Waterman, John William McClymonds, and Charles C. Hughes

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Title: Graded Memory Selections

Author: Various

Editor: S. D. Waterman, John William McClymonds, and Charles C. Hughes

Release Date: May 29, 2008 [eBook #25639]

Language: English

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Memory Selections

Superintendent of Schools, Berkeley, Cal.

Superintendent of Schools, Oakland, Cal.

Superintendent of Schools, Alameda, Cal.

New York     Chicago     San Francisco



It is unfortunately true that the terms education and culture are not synonymous. Too often we find that the children in our public schools, while possessed of the one, are signally lacking in the other. This is a state of things that cannot be remedied by teaching mere facts. The Greeks, many years ago, found the true method of imparting the latter grace and we shall probably not be able to discover a better one to-day. Their youths learned Homer and the other great poets as a part of their daily tasks, and by thus constantly dwelling upon and storing in their minds the noblest and most beautifully expressed thought in their literature, their own mental life became at once refined and strong.

The basis of all culture lies in a pure and elevated moral nature, and so noted an authority as President Eliot, of Harvard University, has said that the short memory gems which he learned as a boy in school, have done him more good in the hour of temptation than all the sermons he ever heard preached. A fine thought or beautiful image, once stored in the mind, even if at first it is received indifferently and with little understanding, is bound to recur again and again, and its companionship will have a sure, if unconscious, influence. The mind that has been filled in youth with many such thoughts and images will surely bear fruit in fine and gracious actions.

To the teachers who are persuaded of this truth, the present collection of poems has much to recommend it.  The selections have been chosen both for their moral influence and for their permanent value as literature. They have been carefully graded to suit the needs of every class from the primary to the high school. Either the whole poem or a sufficiently long quotation has been inserted to give the child a complete mental picture.

The teacher will thus escape the difficulty of choosing among a too great abundance of riches, or the still greater one of finding for herself, with few resources, what serves her purpose. This volume has a further advantage over other books of selections. It is so moderate in price that it will be possible to place it in the hands of the children themselves.

The compilers desire to thank Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Charles Scribner’s Sons, Bowen, Merrill & Co., Whittaker & Ray Co., and Doubleday & McClure Co., for their kindness in permitting the use of copyrighted material.




The Baby George Macdonald 7
The Little Plant Anon. 8
Sleep, Baby, Sleep E. Prentiss 9
One, Two, Three Margaret Johnson 9
Three Little Bugs in a Basket Alice Cary 10
Whenever a Little Child is Born Agnes L. Carter 11
Sweet and Low Alfred Tennyson 12
The Ferry for Shadowtown Anon. 13
My Shadow R. L. Stevenson 14
Quite Like a Stocking Anon. 15
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat Edward Lear 16
Forget-me-not Anon. 17
Who Stole the Bird’s Nest? Anon. 18
Two Little Hands Anon. 20
The Dandelion Anon. 21
A Million Little Diamonds M. Butts 21
Daisy Nurses Anon. 22
At Little Virgil’s Window Edwin Markham 23
Dandelions Anon. 23
Memory Gems Selected 24
Seven Times One Jean Ingelow 25
Christmas Eve Anon. 26
Morning Song Alfred Tennyson 27
Suppose, My Little Lady Phœbe Cary 28
The Day’s Eye Anon. 29
The Night Wind Eugene Field 30
The Blue-bird’s Song Anon. 31
 Suppose Anon. 32
Autumn Leaves Anon. 33
If I Were a Sunbeam Lucy Larcom 34
Meadow Talk Caroline Leslie 35
The Old Love Charles Kingsley 36
Bed in Summer R. L. Stevenson 36
Three Companions Dinah M. Craik 37
The Wind R. L. Stevenson 38
The Minuet Mary Mapes Dodge 39
Wynken, Blynken and Nod Eugene Field 40
Pretty Is That Pretty Does Alice Cary 42
Lullaby J. G. Holland 43
Discontent Sarah O. Jewett 45
Our Flag Anon. 46
Song from “Pippa Passes” Robert Browning 47
Little Brown Hands M. H. Krout 48
Winter and Summer Anon. 49
The Brook Alfred Tennyson 50
The Wonderful World W. B. Rands 52
Don’t Give Up Phœbe Cary 53
We Are Seven Wordsworth 54
The Land of Counterpane R. L. Stevenson 57
The Brown Thrush Lucy Larcom 58
The Silver Boat Anon. 59
The Dandelion Anon. 60
Afternoon in February Longfellow 61
Nikolina Celia Thaxter 62
Lost Celia Thaxter 63
Robin or I? Sarah E. Sprague 65
Psalm XXIII Bible 67
The Mountain and the Squirrel Ralph W. Emerson 68
 Abou Ben Adhem Leigh Hunt 69
Bugle Song Alfred Tennyson 70
Little Boy Blue Eugene Field 71
Pittypat and Tippytoe Eugene Field 72
Red Riding Hood Whittier 75
The Sandpiper and I Celia Thaxter 77
In School Days Whittier 78
Take Care Alice Cary 80
A Life Lesson James W. Riley 82
The Village Blacksmith Longfellow 83
Love of Country Scott 85
The Daffodils Wordsworth 86
A Child’s Thought of God Mrs. Browning 87
From My Arm-chair Longfellow 88
A Song of Easter Celia Thaxter 90
The Joy of the Hills Edwin Markham 92
In Blossom Time Ina Coolbrith 93
The Stars and the Flowers Longfellow 95
Meadow Larks Ina Coolbrith 98
The Arrow and the Song Longfellow 99
The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz Longfellow 100
Break, Break, Break Alfred Tennyson 103
Columbus—Westward Joaquin Miller 104
The Day is Done Longfellow 106
The Landing of the Pilgrims Mrs. Hemans 108
He Prayeth Best Coleridge 109
Each and All Emerson 110
Paul Revere’s Ride Longfellow 112
Battle Hymn of the Republic Julia Ward Howe 116
The Barefoot Boy Whittier 118
Lincoln, the Great Commoner Edwin Markham 120
 Opportunity Edward R. Sill 122
A Song James W. Riley 123
To a Friend Halleck 124
Psalm CXXI Bible 125
Rain in Summer Longfellow 126
A Psalm of Life Longfellow 130
Hymn on the Fight at Concord R. W. Emerson 131
To a Water-fowl William C. Bryant 132
The Heritage James R. Lowell 134
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Thomas Gray 136
Gradatim J. G. Holland 143
God Save the Flag O. W. Holmes 145
Life Edward R. Sill 146
Hymn to the Night Longfellow 147
The Builders Longfellow 148
Polonius’ Advice to Laertes Shakespeare 150
Thanatopsis W. C. Bryant 151
The American Flag Jos. R. Drake 155
Speech at the Dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg Abraham Lincoln 157
To a Skylark Shelley 159
The Launching of the Ship Longfellow 164
Recessional Rudyard Kipling 166
The Ladder of St. Augustine Longfellow 168
The Chambered Nautilus O. W. Holmes 170
To the Young People of Oakland, Cal. William McKinley 172
First and Second Grades 173
Third and Fourth Grades 176
Fifth and Sixth Grades 180
Seventh and Eighth Grades 184
Poor Richard’s Sayings 187

Memory Selections



Where did you come from, baby dear?

Out of the everywhere into the here.

Where did you get your eyes so blue?

Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?

Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you get that little tear?

I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?

A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm, white rose?

I saw something better than any one know.

 Whence that three-corner’d smile of bliss?

Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?

God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?

Love made itself into hooks and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?

From the same box as the cherubs’ wings.

How did they all come just to be you?

God thought of me and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?

God thought of you, and so I am here.

—George Macdonald.


In the heart of a seed, buried deep, so deep,

A dear little plant lay fast asleep.

“Wake,” said the sunshine, “and creep to the light.”

“Wake,” said the voice of the rain-drops bright.

The little plant heard and rose to see

What the wonderful outside world might be.



Sleep, baby, sleep!

Thy father watches his sheep;

Thy mother is shaking the dreamland tree,

And down comes a little dream on thee.

Sleep, baby, sleep!

Sleep, baby, sleep!

The large stars are the sheep;

The little stars are the lambs, I guess;

And the gentle moon is the shepherdess.

Sleep, baby, sleep!

Sleep, baby, sleep!

Our Saviour loves His sheep;

He is the Lamb of God on high,

Who for our sakes came down to die.

Sleep, baby, sleep!

—E. Prentiss (from the German).


One, two, three, a bonny boat I see,

A silver boat and all afloat upon a rosy sea.

One, two, three, the riddle tell to me.

The moon afloat is the bonny boat, the sunset is the sea.

—Margaret Johnson.


Three little bugs in a basket,

And hardly room for two;

And one was yellow, and one was black,

And one like me or you;

The space was small, no doubt, for all,

So what should the three bugs do?

Three little bugs in a basket,

And hardly crumbs for two;

And all were selfish in their hearts,

The same as I or you.

So the strong one said, “We will eat the bread,

And that’s what we will do!”

Three little bugs in a basket,

And the beds but two could hold;

And so they fell to quarreling—

The white, the black, and the gold—

And two of the bugs got under the rugs,

And one was out in the cold.

He that was left in the basket,

Without a crumb to chew,

Or a thread to wrap himself withal,

When the wind across him blew,

Pulled one of the rugs from one of the bugs,

And so the quarrel grew.

 So there was war in the basket;

Ah! pity ’tis, ’tis true!

But he that was frozen and starved, at last

A strength from his weakness drew,

And pulled the rugs from both the bugs,

And killed and ate them, too!

Now when bugs live in a basket,

Though more than it well can hold,

It seems to me they had better agree—

The black, the white, and the gold—

And share what comes of beds and crumbs,

And leave no bug in the cold.

—Alice Cary.


Whenever a little child is born,

All night a soft wind rocks the corn,

One more butter-cup wakes to the morn,


One more rose-bud shy will unfold,

One more grass-blade push through the mould,

One more bird’s song the air will hold,


—Agnes L. Carter.


Sweet and low, sweet and low,

Wind of the western sea,

Low, low, breathe and blow,

Wind of the western sea!

Over the rolling waters go,

Come from the dying moon, and blow,

Blow him again to me;

While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,

Father will come to thee soon;

Rest, rest, on mother’s breast,

Father will come to thee soon;

Father will come to his babe in the nest,

Silver sails all out of the west,

Under the silver moon;

Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

—Alfred Tennyson.


Sway to and fro in the twilight gray;

This is the ferry for Shadowtown;

It always sails at the end of the day,

Just as the darkness closes down.

Rest little head, on my shoulder, so;

A sleepy kiss is the only fare;

Drifting away from the world, we go,

Baby and I in the rocking-chair.

See where the fire-logs glow and spark,

Glitter the lights of the shadowland,

The raining drops on the window, hark!

Are ripples lapping upon its strand.

There, where the mirror is glancing dim,

A lake lies shimmering, cool and still.

Blossoms are waving above its brim,

Those over there on the window-sill.

Rock slow, more slow in the dusky light,

Silently lower the anchor down:

Dear little passenger, say “Good-night.”

We’ve reached the harbor of Shadowtown.



I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;

And I see him jump before me when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—

Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;

For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,

And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,

And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.

He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward, you can see;

I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

 One morning, very early, before the sun was up,

I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;

But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,

Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

—Robert Louis Stevenson.


Just as morn was fading amid her misty rings,

And every stocking was stuffed with childhood’s precious things,

Old Kris Kringle looked round and saw on the elm tree bough

High hung, an oriole’s nest, lonely and empty now.

“Quite like a stocking,” he laughed, “hung up there in the tree,

I didn’t suppose the birds expected a visit from me.”

Then old Kris Kringle who loves a joke as well as the best,

Dropped a handful of snowflakes into the oriole’s empty nest.



The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat;

They took some honey, and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the moon above,

And sang to a small guitar,

“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love!

What a beautiful Pussy you are—

You are,

What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the owl, “You elegant fowl!

How wonderfully sweet you sing!

Oh, let us be married—too long we have tarried—

But what shall we do for a ring?”

They sailed away for a year and a day

To the land where the Bong-tree grows,

And there in a wood, a piggy-wig stood

With a ring in the end of his nose—

His nose,

With a ring in the end of his nose.

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?” Said the piggy, “I will.”

 So they took it away, and were married next day

By the turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined upon mince and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon,

And hand in hand on the edge of the sand

They danced by the light of the moon—

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.

—Edward Lear.


When to the flowers so beautiful the Father gave a name

Back came a little blue-eyed one, all timidly it came;

And, standing at the Father’s feet and gazing in His face

It said, in low and trembling tones and with a modest grace,

“Dear God, the name Thou gavest me, alas, I have forgot.”

The Father kindly looked Him down and said, “Forget-me-not.”



“To-whit! To-whit! To-whee!

Will you listen to me?

Who stole four eggs I laid,

And the nice nest I made?”

“Not I,” said the cow, “moo-oo!

Such a thing I’d never do.

I gave you a wisp of hay,

But I did not take your nest away:

Not I,” said the cow, “moo-oo!

Such a thing I’d never do.”

“Bob-o-link! Bob-o-link!

Now, what do you think?

Who stole a nest away

From the plum tree to-day?”

“Not I,” said the dog, “bow-wow!

I wouldn’t be so mean, I vow.

I gave some hairs the nest to make,

But the nest I did not take.

Not I,” said the dog, “bow-wow!

I wouldn’t be so mean, I vow.”

“Coo-oo! Coo-coo! Coo-coo!

Let me speak a word or two:

Who stole that pretty nest,

From little Yellow-breast?”

 “Not I,” said the sheep; “oh, no,

I would not treat a poor bird so;

I gave wool the nest to line,

But the nest was none of mine.

Baa! Baa!” said the sheep; “oh no;

I wouldn’t treat a poor bird so.”

“Caw! Caw!” cried the crow,

“I should like to know

What thief took away

A bird’s nest to-day.”

“Cluck! Cluck!” said the hen,

“Don’t ask me again;

Why, I haven’t a chick

Would do such a trick.

We all gave her a feather,

And she wove them together.

I’d scorn to intrude

On her and her brood.

Cluck! Cluck!” said the hen,

“Don’t ask me again.”

“Chirr-a-whirr! Chirr-a-whirr!

All the birds make a stir.

Let us find out his name,

And all cry, ‘For shame!’”

 “I would not rob a bird!”

Said little Mary Green,

“I think I never heard

Of anything so mean!”

“It’s very cruel, too,”

Said little Alice Neal,

“I wonder if he knew

How sad the bird would feel.”

A little boy hung down his head,

And went and hid behind the bed:

For he stole that pretty nest

From little Yellow-Breast;

And he felt so full of shame

He did not like to tell his name.



Two little hands so soft and white,

This is the left—this is the right.

Five little fingers stand on each,

So I can hold a plum or a peach.

But if I should grow as old as you

Lots of little things these hands can do.



O dandelion yellow as gold,

What do you do all day?

I just wait here in the tall green grass

Till the children come to play.

O dandelion yellow as gold,

What do you do all night?

I wait and wait till the cool dews fall

And my hair grows long and white.

And what do you do when your hair is white

And the children come to play?

They take me up in their dimpled hands

And blow my hair away.



A million little diamonds

Twinkled on the trees;

And all the little maidens said,

“A jewel, if you please!”

But while they held their hands outstretched

To catch the diamonds gay,

A million little sunbeams came

And stole them all away.

—M. T. Butts.


The daisies white are nursery maids with frills upon their caps;

And daisy buds are little babes they tend upon their laps.

Sing “Heigh-ho!” while the winds sweep low,

Both nurses and babies are nodding JUST SO.

The daisy babies never cry, the nurses never scold;

They never crush the dainty frills about their cheeks of gold;

But pure and white, in gay sunlight

They’re nid-nodding—pretty sight.

The daisies love the golden sun, upon the clear blue sky,

He gazes kindly down on them and winks his jolly eye;

While soft and low, all in a row,

Both nurses and babies are nodding JUST SO.



There surely is a gold mine somewhere underneath the grass,

For dandelions are popping out in every place you pass.

But if you want to gather some you’d better not delay,

For the gold will turn to silver soon and all will blow away.



There are three green eggs in a small brown pocket,

And the breeze will swing and the gale will rock it,

Till three little birds on the thin edge teeter,

And our God be glad and our world be sweeter.

—Edwin Markham.


Do thy duty, that is best,

Leave unto the Lord the rest.

Whene’er a task is set for you,

Don’t idly sit and view it—

Nor be content to wish it done;

Begin at once and do it.

Beautiful hands are those that do

Work that is earnest, brave and true,

Moment by moment, the long day through.




There’s no dew left on the daisies and clover,

There’s no rain left in heaven;

I’ve said my “seven times” over and over,

Seven times one are seven.

I am old, so old I can write a letter;

My birthday lessons are done;

The lambs play always, they know no better—

They are only one times one.

O moon! in the night I have seen you sailing

And shining so round and low;

You were bright, ah bright! but your light is failing,—

You are nothing now but a bow.

You moon, have you done something wrong in heaven,

That God has hidden your face?

I hope, if you have, you will soon be forgiven,

And shine again in your place.

 O velvet bee, you’re a dusty fellow;

You’ve powdered your legs with gold!

O brave marshmary buds, rich and yellow,

Give me your money to hold!

And show me your nest with the young ones in it,—

I will not steal it away;

I am old! you may trust me, linnet, linnet,—

I am seven times one to-day!

—Jean Ingelow.


God bless the little stockings all over the land to-night

Hung in the choicest corners, in the glory of crimson light.

The tiny scarlet stockings, with a hole in the heel and toe,

Worn by the wonderful journeys that the darlings have to go.

And Heaven pity the children, wherever their homes may be,

Who wake at the first gray dawning, an empty stocking to see.



What does little birdie say

In her nest at peep of day?

“Let me fly,” says little birdie,

“Mother, let me fly away.”

“Birdie, rest a little longer,

Till the little wings are stronger.”

So she rests a little longer,

Then she flies away.

What does little baby say,

In her bed at peep of day?

Baby says, like little birdie,

“Let me rise and fly away.”

“Baby, sleep a little longer,

Till the little limbs are stronger.

If she sleeps a little longer,

Baby, too, shall fly away.”

—Alfred Tennyson.


Suppose, my little lady,

Your doll should break her head;

Could you make it whole by crying

Till your eyes and nose are red?

And wouldn’t it be pleasanter

To treat it as a joke,

And say you’re glad ’twas Dolly’s,

And not your head, that broke?

Suppose you’re dressed for walking,

And the rain comes pouring down;

Will it clear off any sooner

Because you scold and frown?

And wouldn’t it be nicer

For you to smile than pout,

And so make sunshine in the house

When there is none without?

Suppose your task, my little man,

Is very hard to get;

Will it make it any easier

For you to sit and fret?

 And wouldn’t it be wiser,

Than waiting like a dunce,

To go to work in earnest,

And learn the thing at once?

—Phœbe Cory.


What does the daisy see

In the breezy meadows tossing?

It sees the wide blue fields o’er head

And the little cloud flocks crossing.

What does the daisy see

Round the sunny meadows glancing?

It sees the butterflies’ chase

And the filmy gnats at their dancing.

What does the daisy see

Down in the grassy thickets?

The grasshoppers green and brown,

And the shining, coal-black crickets.

It sees the bobolink’s nest,

That no one else can discover,

And the brooding mother-bird

With the floating grass above her.



Have you ever heard the wind go “Yoooooo”?

’Tis a pitiful sound to hear;

It seems to chill you through and through

With a strange and speechless fear.

’Tis the voice of the wind that broods outside

When folks should be asleep,

And many and many’s the time I’ve cried

To the darkness brooding far and wide

Over the land and the deep:

“Whom do you want, O lonely night,

That you wail the long hours through?”

And the night would say in its ghostly way:

“Yoooooo! Yoooooooooo! Yoooooooooo!”

My mother told me long ago

When I was a little lad

That when the night went wailing so,

Somebody had been bad;

And then when I was snug in bed,

Whither I had been sent,

With the blankets pulled up round my head,

I’d think of what my mother said,

And wonder what boy she meant.

And, “Who’s been bad to-day?” I’d ask

 Of the wind that hoarsely blew,

And the voice would say in its meaningful way:

“Yoooooo! Yoooooooooo! Yoooooooooo!”

That this was true, I must allow—

You’ll not believe it though,

Yes, though I’m quite a model now,

I was not always so.

And if you doubt what things I say,

Suppose you make the test;

Suppose that when you’ve been bad some day,

And up to bed you’re sent away

From mother and the rest—

Suppose you ask, “Who has been bad?”

And then you’ll hear what’s true;

For the wind will moan in its ruefulest tone:

“Yoooooo! Yoooooooooo! Yoooooooooo!”

—Eugene Field.


Little white snowdrop, I pray you arise:

Bright yellow crocus, come, open your eyes:

Sweet little violets hid from the cold,

Put on your mantles of purple and gold.

Daffodils, daffodils, say, do you hear?

Summer is coming and springtime is here.



Suppose the little cowslip

Should hang its golden cup,

And say, “I’m such a tiny flower,

I’d better not grow up;”

How many a weary traveler

Would miss its fragrant smell,

And many a little child would grieve

To lose it from the dell.

Suppose the little breezes,

Upon a summer’s day,

Should think themselves too small

To cool the traveler on his way;

Who would not miss the smallest

And softest ones that blow,

And think they made a great mistake,

If they were talking so?

Suppose the little dewdrop

Upon the grass should say,

“What can a little dewdrop do?

I’d better roll away.”

The blade on which it rested,

Before the day was done,

Without a drop to moisten it,

Would wither in the sun.

 How many deeds of kindness

A little child can do,

Although it has but little strength,

And little wisdom, too!

It wants a loving spirit,

Much more than strength, to prove

How many things a child may do

For others by its love.



“Come, little leaves,” said the wind one day;

“Come over the meadows with me, and play,

Put on your dresses of red and gold,

Summer is gone and the days grow cold.”

Soon the leaves heard the wind’s loud call,

Down they fell fluttering, one and all.

Over the brown fields they danced and flew,

Singing the soft little songs they knew.

Dancing and flying, the little leaves went;

Winter had called them, and they were content.

Soon fast asleep in their earthy beds,

The snow laid a white blanket over their heads.



“If I were a sunbeam,

I know what I’d do:

I would seek white lilies

Rainy woodlands through:

I would steal among them,

Softest light I’d shed,

Until every lily

Raised its drooping head.

“If I were a sunbeam,

I know where I’d go:

Into lowliest hovels,

Dark with want and woe:

Till sad hearts looked upward,

I would shine and shine;

Then they’d think of heaven,

Their sweet home and mine.”

Art thou not a sunbeam,

Child whose life is glad

With an inner radiance

Sunshine never had?

Oh, as God has blessed thee,

Scatter rays divine!

For there is no sunbeam

But must die, or shine.

—Lucy Larcom.


A bumble bee, yellow as gold

Sat perched on a red-clover top,

When a grasshopper, wiry and old,

Came along with a skip and a hop.

“Good morrow” cried he, “Mr. Bumble Bee,

You seem to have come to stop.”

“We people that work,” said the bee with a jerk,

“Find a benefit sometimes in stopping,

Only insects like you, who have nothing to do

Can keep perpetually hopping.”

The grasshopper paused on his way

And thoughtfully hunched up his knees:

“Why trouble this sunshiny day,”

Quoth he, “with reflections like these?

I follow the trade for which I was made

We all can’t be wise bumble-bees;

There’s a time to be sad and a time to be glad,

A time for both working and stopping,

For men to make money, for you to make honey,

And for me to keep constantly hopping.”

—Caroline Leslie.


I once had a sweet little doll, dears,

The prettiest doll in the world;

Her cheeks were so red and so white, dears,

And her hair was so charmingly curled:

But I lost my poor little doll, dears,

As I played on the heath one day,

And I cried for her more than a week, dears,

And I never could find where she lay.

I found my poor little doll, dears,

As I played on the heath one day;

Folks say she is terribly changed, dears,

For her paint is all washed away;

And her arms trodden off by the cows, dears,

And her hair not the least bit curled:

Yet for old time’s sake, she is still to me

The prettiest doll in the world.

—Charles Kingsley.


In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

 Or hear the grown-up people’s feet

Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

—Robert Louis Stevenson.


We go on our walk together—

Baby and dog and I—

Three little merry companions,

’Neath any sort of sky:

Blue as our baby’s eyes are,

Gray like our old dog’s tail;

Be it windy or cloudy or stormy,

Our courage will never fail.

Baby’s a little lady;

Dog is a gentleman brave;

If he had two legs as you have,

He’d kneel to her like a slave;

As it is, he loves and protects her,

As dog and gentleman can.

I’d rather be a kind doggie,

I think, than a cruel man.

—Dinah Mulock-Craik.


I saw you toss the kites on high,

And blow the birds about the sky;

And all around I heard you pass

Like ladies’ skirts across the grass—

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,

But always you yourself you hid.

I felt you push, I heard you call,

I could not see yourself at all—

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you, that are so strong and cold,

O blower, are you young or old?

Are you a beast of field and tree,

Or just a stronger child than me?

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!

—Robert Louis Stevenson.

Hearts like doors can open with ease

To very, very little keys;

And ne’er forget that they are these:

“I thank you, sir,” and “If you please.”



Grandma told me all about it,

Told me so I couldn’t doubt it,

How she danced, my grandma danced; long ago—

How she held her pretty head,

How her dainty skirt she spread,

How she slowly leaned and rose—long ago.

Grandma’s hair was bright and sunny,

Dimpled cheeks, too, oh, how funny!

Really quite a pretty girl—long ago.

Bless her! why, she wears a cap,

Grandma does and takes a nap

Every single day: and yet

Grandma danced the minuet—long ago.

“Modern ways are quite alarming,”

Grandma says, “but boys were charming”

(Girls and boys she means of course) “long ago.”

Brave but modest, grandly shy;

She would like to have us try

Just to feel like those who met

In the graceful minuet—long ago.

—Mary Mapes Dodge.


Wynken, Blynken and Nod one night

Sailed off in a wooden shoe,

Sailed on a river of crystal light

Into a sea of dew.

“Where are you going?” “What do you wish?”

The old Moon asked the three.

“We come to fish for the herring fish

That live in the beautiful sea,

Nets of silver and gold have we,”

Said Wynken, Blynken and Nod.

The old Moon laughed and sang a song

As they rocked in the wooden shoe,

And the wind that sped them all night long

Ruffled the waves of dew.

The little stars were the herring fish

That lived in that beautiful sea,—

“Now cast your nets whenever you wish,

Never afeard are we!”

So cried the stars to the fishermen three—

Wynken, Blynken and Nod.

 All night long their nets they threw

To the stars in the twinkling foam.

Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe

Bringing the fishermen home.

’Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed

As if it could not be,

And some folks thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed

Of sailing that beautiful sea.

But I can name you the fishermen three—

Wynken, Blynken and Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes

And Nod is a little head,

And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies

Is a wee one’s trundle bed.

So shut your eyes while mother sings

Of wonderful sights that be,

And you shall see the beautiful things

As you rock on the misty sea,—

Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three—

Wynken, Blynken and Nod.

—Eugene Field.


The spider wears a plain brown dress,

And she is a steady spinner;

To see her, quiet as a mouse,

Going about her silver house,

You would never, never, never guess

The way she gets her dinner.

She looks as if no thought of ill

In all her life had stirred her;

But while she moves with careful tread,

And while she spins her silken thread,

She is planning, planning, planning still

The way to do some murder.

My child, who reads this simple lay,

With eyes down-dropt and tender,

Remember the old proverb says

That pretty is which pretty does,

And that worth does not go nor stay

For poverty nor splendor.

’Tis not the house, and not the dress,

That makes the saint or sinner.

To see the spider sit and spin,

Shut with her walls of silver in,

You would never, never, never guess

The way she gets her dinner.

—Alice Cary.


Over the cradle the mother hung,

Softly crooning a slumber song:

And these were the simple words she sung

All the evening long.

“Cheek or chin, or knuckle or knee

Where shall the baby’s dimple be?

Where shall the angel’s finger rest

When he comes down to the baby’s nest?

Where shall the angel’s touch remain

When he awakens my babe again?”

Still as she bent and sang so low,

A murmur into her music broke:

And she paused to hear, for she could but know

The baby’s angel spoke.

“Cheek or chin, or knuckle or knee,

Where shall the baby’s dimple be?

Where shall my finger fall and rest

When I come down to the baby’s nest?

Where shall my finger touch remain

When I awaken your babe again?”

 Silent the mother sat and dwelt

Long in the sweet delay of choice,

And then by her baby’s side she knelt,

And sang with a pleasant voice:

“Not on the limb, O angel dear!

For the charm with its youth will disappear;

Not on the cheek shall the dimple be,

For the harboring smile will fade and flee;

But touch thou the chin with an impress deep,

And my baby the angel’s seal shall keep.”

—J. G. Holland.



Down in a field one day in June, the flowers all bloomed together,

Save one who tried to hide herself, and drooped that pleasant weather.

A robin who had flown too high, and felt a little lazy,

Was resting near this buttercup who wished she was a daisy.

For daisies grow so slim and tall! She always had a passion

For wearing frills about her neck in just the daisies’ fashion.

And buttercups must always be the same old tiresome color;

While daisies dress in gold and white, although their gold is duller.

“Dear Robin,” said the sad young flower, “Perhaps you’d not mind trying

To find a nice white frill for me, some day when you are flying.”

 “You silly thing!” the Robin said, “I think you must be crazy;

I’d rather be my honest self, than any made-up daisy.

“You’re nicer in your own bright gown; the little children love you.

Be the best buttercup you can, and think no flower above you.

Though swallows leave me out of sight, we’d better keep our places:

Perhaps the world would all go wrong with one too many daisies.

Look bravely up into the sky and be content with knowing

That God wished for a buttercup, just here where you are growing.”

—Sarah Orne Jewett.


There are many flags in many lands,

There are flags of every hue,

But there is no flag in any land

Like our own Red, White and Blue.

I know where the prettiest colors are,

I’m sure, if I only knew

How to get them here, I could make a flag

Of glorious Red, White and Blue.

 I would cut a piece from the evening sky

Where the stars were shining through,

And use it just as it was on high

For my stars and field of Blue.

Then I want a part of a fleecy cloud

And some red from a rainbow bright,

And I’d put them together, side by side

For my stripes of Red and White.

Then “Hurrah for the Flag!” our country’s flag,

Its stripes and white stars too;

There is no flag in any land

Like our own “Red, White and Blue.”



The year’s at the spring,

And day’s at the morn;

Morning’s at seven;

The hill-side’s dew-pearled;

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn:

God’s in his heaven—

All’s right with the world.

—Robert Browning.


They drive home the cows from the pasture,

Up through the long shady lane,

Where the quail whistles loud in the wheat-fields,

That are yellow with ripening grain.

They find, in the thick, waving grasses,

Where the scarlet-lipped strawberry grows.

They gather the earliest snowdrops,

And the first crimson buds of the rose.

They toss the new hay in the meadow;

They gather the elder-bloom white;

They find where the dusky grapes purple

In the soft-tinted October light.

They know where the apples hang ripest,

And are sweeter than Italy’s wines;

They know where the fruit hangs the thickest

On the long, thorny blackberry-vines.

They gather the delicate sea-weeds,

And build tiny castles of sand;

They pick up the beautiful sea-shells—

Fairy barks that have drifted to land.

They wave from the tall, rocking tree-tops

Where the oriole’s hammock-nest swings;

And at night-time are folded in slumber

By a song that a fond mother sings.

 Those who toil bravely are strongest;

The humble and poor become great;

And so from these brown-handed children

Shall grow mighty rulers of state.

The pen of the author and statesman—

The noble and wise of the land—

The sword, and the chisel, and palette,

Shall be held in the little brown hand.

—M. H. Krout.


Oh, I wish the Winter would go,

And I wish the Summer would come,

Then the big brown farmers will hoe,

And the little brown bee will hum.

Then the robin his fife will trill,

And the wood-piper beat his drum;

And out of their tents on the hill

The little green troops will come.

Then around and over the trees

With a flutter and flirt we’ll go,

A rollicking, frolicking breeze,

And away with a frisk ho! ho!



I come from haunts of coot and hern,

I make a sudden sally,

And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down the valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,

Or slip between the ridges,

By twenty thorps, a little town,

And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow

To join the brimming river;

For men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.

I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharps and trebles;

I bubble into eddying bays;

I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my bank I fret

By many a field and fallow,

And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter as I flow

To join the brimming river,

 For men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,

With here a blossom sailing,

And here and there a lusty trout,

And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake

Upon me as I travel,

With many a silvery waterbreak

Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along and flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,

I slide by hazel covers,

I move the sweet forget-me-nots

That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows;

I make the netted sunbeam dance

Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars

In brambly wildernesses;

 I linger by my shingly bars;

I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go

But I go on forever.



Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful World,

With the wonderful water around you curled,

And the wonderful grass upon your breast—

World, you are beautifully dressed.

The wonderful air is over me,

And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree,

It walks on the water, and whirls the mills,

And talks to itself on the tops of the hills.

You, friendly Earth, how far do you go,

With the wheatfields that nod and the rivers that flow,

With cities and gardens, and cliffs, and isles,

And people upon you for thousands of miles?

Ah, you are so great, and I am so small,

I tremble to think of you, World, at all;

And yet, when I said my prayers, to-day,

 A whisper inside me seemed to say,

“You are more than the earth, though you are such a dot:

You can love and think, and the Earth can not!”

—W. B. Rands.


If you’ve tried and have not won,

Never stop for crying;

All that’s great and good is done

Just by patient trying.

Though young birds, in flying, fall,

Still their wings grow stronger;

And the next time they can keep

Up a little longer.

Though the sturdy oak has known

Many a blast that bowed her,

She has risen again, and grown

Loftier and prouder.

If by easy work you beat,

Who the more will prize you?

Gaining victory from defeat,

That’s the test that tries you!

—Phœbe Cary.


—A simple child,

That lightly draws its breath,

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage girl:

She was eight years old, she said;

Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,

And she was wildly clad:

Her eyes were fair, and very fair—

Her beauty made me glad.

“Sisters and brothers, little Maid,

How many may you be?”

“How many? Seven in all,” she said,

And wondering looked at me.

“And where are they? I pray you tell.”

She answered, “Seven are we;

And two of us at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea.

“Two of us in the churchyard lie,

My sister and my brother;

 And in the churchyard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother.”

“You say that two at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea,

Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,

Sweet Maid, how this may be.”

Then did the little maid reply,

“Seven boys and girls are we;

Two of us in the churchyard lie,

Beneath the churchyard tree.”

“You run about, my little Maid,

Your limbs they are alive;

If two are in the churchyard laid

Then ye are only five.”

“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”

The little Maid replied,

“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,

And they are side by side.

“My stockings there I often knit,

My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon the ground I sit

And sing a song to them.

 “And often after sunset, sir,

When it is light and fair,

I take my little porringer,

And eat my supper there.

“The first that died was sister Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain;

And then she went away.

“So in the churchyard she was laid;

And when the grass was dry,

Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.

“And when the ground was white with snow

And I could run and slide,

My brother John was forced to go,

And he lies by her side.”

“How many are you, then,” said I,

“If they two are in heaven?”

Quick was the little Maid’s reply,

“O master! we are seven.”

“But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!”

 ’Twas throwing words away: for still

The little Maid would have her will,

And said, “Nay, we are seven!”



When I was sick and lay abed,

I had two pillows at my head,

And all my toys beside me lay

To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so

I watched my leaden soldiers go,

With different uniforms and drills,

Among the bedclothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets

All up and down among the sheets;

Or brought my trees and houses out,

And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still,

That sits upon the pillow-hill,

And sees before him, dale and plain,

The pleasant land of counterpane.

—Robert Louis Stevenson.


There’s a merry brown thrush sitting up in the tree,

“He’s singing to me! He’s singing to me!”

And what does he say, little girl, little boy?

“Oh, the world’s running over with joy!

Don’t you hear? Don’t you see?

Hush! Look! In my tree,

I’m as happy as happy can be!”

And the brown thrush keeps singing, “A nest do you see,

And five eggs hid by me in the juniper tree?

Don’t meddle! Don’t touch! little girl, little boy,

Or the world will lose some of its joy!

Now I’m glad! Now I’m free!

And I always shall be,

If you never bring sorrow to me.”

So the merry brown thrush sings away in the tree,

To you and to me, to you and to me:

And he sings all the day, little girl, little boy,

“Oh, the world’s running over with joy!

But long it won’t be,

 Don’t you know? don’t you see?

Unless we are as good as can be!”

—Lucy Larcom.


There is a boat upon a sea;

It never stops for you or me.

The sea is blue, the boat is white;

It sails through winter and summer night.

The swarthy child in India land

Points to the prow with eager hand;

The little Lapland babies cry

For the silver boat a-sailing by.

It fears no gale, it fears no wreck;

It never meets a change or check

Through weather fine or weather wild.

The oldest saw it when a child.

Upon another sea below

Full many vessels come and go;

Upon the swaying, swinging tide

Into the distant worlds they ride.

And strange to tell, the sea below,

Where countless vessels come and go,

Obeys the little boat on high

Through all the centuries sailing by.



Bright little dandelion,

Downy, yellow face,

Peeping up among the grass

With such gentle grace;

Minding not the April wind

Blowing rude and cold;

Brave little dandelion,

With a heart of gold.

Meek little dandelion,

Changing into curls

At the magic touch of these

Merry boys and girls.

When they pinch thy dainty throat,

Strip thy dress of green,

On thy soft and gentle face

Not a cloud is seen.

Poor little dandelion,

Now all gone to seed,

Scattered roughly by the wind

Like a common weed.

Thou hast lived thy little life

Smiling every day;

Who could do a better thing

In a better way?



The day is ending,

The night is descending;

The marsh is frozen,

The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes,

The red sun flashes

On village windows

That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;

The buried fences

Mark no longer

The road o’er the plain;

While through the meadows,

Like fearful shadows,

Slowly passes

A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,

And every feeling

Within me responds

To the dismal knell.

Shadows are trailing,

My heart is bewailing

And tolling within

Like a funeral bell.



Oh, tell me, little children, have you seen her—

The tiny maid from Norway, Nikolina?

Oh, her eyes are blue as corn-flowers ’mid the corn,

And her cheeks are rosy red as skies of morn.

Oh, buy the baby’s blossoms if you meet her,

And stay with gentle looks and words to greet her;

She’ll gaze at you and smile and clasp your hand,

But not one word of yours can understand.

“Nikolina!” Swift she turns if any call her,

As she stands among the poppies, hardly taller;

Breaking off their flaming scarlet cups for you,

With spikes of slender larkspur, brightly blue.

In her little garden many a flower is growing—

Red, gold and purple, in the soft wind blowing;

But the child that stands amid the blossoms gay

Is sweeter, quainter, brighter, lovelier even than they.

 Oh, tell me, little children, have you seen her—

This baby girl from Norway, Nikolina?

Slowly she’s learning English words to try

And thank you if her flowers you buy.

—Celia Thaxter.


“Lock the dairy door!” Oh, hark, the cock is crowing proudly!

“Lock the dairy door!” and all the hens are cackling loudly.

“Chickle, chackle, chee!” they cry; “we haven’t got the key,” they cry,

“Chickle, chackle, chee! Oh, dear! wherever can it be?” they cry.

Up and down the garden walks where all the flowers are blowing,

Out about the golden fields where tall the wheat is growing,

Through the barn and up the road, they cackle and they clatter;

Cry the children, “Hear the hens! Why, what can be the matter?”

 What scraping and what scratching, what bristling and what hustling,

The cock stands on the fence, the wind his ruddy plumage rustling.

Like a soldier grand he stands, and like a trumpet glorious,

Sounds his shout both far and near, imperious and victorious.

But to the Partlets down below who cannot find the key, they hear,

“Lock the dairy door;” that’s all his challenge says to them, my dear.

Why they had it, how they lost it, must remain a mystery;

I that tell you, never heard the first part of the history.

But if you listen, dear, next time the cock crows proudly

“Lock the dairy door!” you’ll hear him tell the biddies loudly:

“Chickle, chackle, chee!” they cry; “we haven’t got the key!” they cry;

“Chickle, chackle, chee! Oh, dear! wherever can it be?” they cry.

—Celia Thaxter.


Robin comes with early spring,

Dressed up in his very best;

Very pretty is his suit—

Brownish coat and reddish vest.

Robin takes my cherry tree

For his very, very own;

Never asking if he may—

There he makes his dainty home.

Robin eats my cherries, too,

In an open, shameless way;

Feeds his wife and babies three—

Giving only songs for pay.

Bolder thief than robin is

Would be hard, indeed, to find;

But he sings so sweet a tune

That I really do not mind!

“Cheer up! Cheer up!” Robin sings;

“Cheer up! Cheer up!” all day long;

Shine or shower, all the same,

“Cheer up! Cheer up!” is his song.

 Eating, singing, Robin lives

There within my cherry tree;

When I call him “robber!” “thief!”

Back he flings a song to me!

“May I have some cherries, please?”

Robin never thinks to say;

Yet, who has the heart—have you?

Saucy Rob to drive away?

—Sarah E. Sprague.



  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
  3. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
  4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
  5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



The Mountain and the Squirrel

Had a quarrel,

And the former called the latter “Little Prig.”

Bun replied:

“You are doubtless very big;

But all sorts of things and weather

Must be taken in together,

To make up a year,

And a sphere;

And I think it no disgrace

To occupy my place.

If I’m not so large as you,

You’re not so small as I,

And not half so spry.

I’ll not deny you make

A very pretty squirrel track.

Talents differ; all is well and wisely put:

If I cannot carry forests on my back,

Neither can you crack a nut.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,

And saw, within the moonlight in his room,

Making it rich and like a lily in bloom,

An angel writing in a book of gold;

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,

And to the presence in the room he said,

“What writest thou?” The vision raised its head,

And, with a look made of all sweet accord,

Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”

“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”

Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,

But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,

Write me as one who loves his fellow-men.”

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night

It came again, with a great wakening light,

And showed the names whom love of God had blest;

And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

—James Henry Leigh Hunt.


The splendor falls on castle walls

And snowy summits old in story;

The long light shakes across the lakes,

And the wild cataract leaps in glory.

Blow, bugle, blow! set the wild echoes flying;

Blow, bugle; answer, echoes—dying, dying, dying!

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,

And thinner, clearer, farther going!

O sweet and far, from cliff and scar,

The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!

Blow! let us hear the purple glens replying;

Blow, bugle; answer, echoes—dying, dying, dying!

O love! they die in yon rich sky:

They faint on hill, or field or river;

Our echoes roll from soul to soul,

And grow forever and forever.

Blow, bugle, blow! set the wild echoes flying;

And answer, echoes, answer—dying, dying, dying.



The little toy dog is covered with dust,

But sturdy and stanch he stands;

And the little toy soldier is red with rust,

And his musket moulds in his hands.

Time was when the little toy dog was new,

And the soldier was passing fair;

And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue

Kissed them and put them there.

“Now, don’t you go till I come,” he said;

“And don’t you make any noise!”

So toddling off to his trundle-bed

He dreamed of the pretty toys;

And as he was dreaming, an angel’s song

Awakened our Little Boy Blue—

Oh, the years are many, the years are long,

But the little toy friends are true.

Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,

Each in the same old place,

Awaiting the touch of a little hand,

The smile of a little face.

And they wonder, as waiting these long years through,

 In the dust of that little chair,

What has become of our Little Boy Blue

Since he kissed them and put them there.

—Eugene Field.


All day long they come and go—

Pittypat and Tippytoe;

Footprints up and down the hall;

Playthings scattered on the floor,

Finger marks along the wall,

Tell-tale smudges on the door;—

By these presents you shall know

Pittypat and Tippytoe.

How they riot at their play;

And a dozen times a day

In they troop demanding bread—

Only buttered bread will do,

And that butter must be spread

Inches thick, with sugar, too;

And I never can say “No,

Pittypat and Tippytoe.”

 Sometimes there are griefs to soothe,

Sometimes ruffled brows to smooth,

For (I much regret to say)

Tippytoe and Pittypat

Sometimes interrupt their play

With an internecine spat;

Fie, for shame; to quarrel so—

Pittypat and Tippytoe.

Oh, the thousand worrying things

Every day recurrent brings;

Hands to scrub and hair to brush,

Search for playthings gone amiss,

Many a wee complaint to hush,

Many a little bump to kiss;

Life seems one vain fleeting show

To Pittypat and Tippytoe.

And when day is at an end

There are little duds to mend;

Little frocks are strangely torn,

Little shoes great holes reveal,

Little hose but one day worn,

Rudely yawn at toe and heel;

Who but you could work such woe,

Pittypat and Tippytoe?

 But when comes this thought to me

“Some there are who childless be,”

Stealing to their little beds,

With a love I cannot speak,

Tenderly I stroke their heads—

Fondly kiss each velvet cheek.

God help those who do not know

A Pittypat and Tippytoe.

On the floor and down the hall,

Rudely smutched upon the wall,

There are proofs of every kind

Of the havoc they have wrought;

And upon my heart you’d find

Just such trade marks, if you sought;

Oh, how glad I am ’tis so,

Pittypat and Tippytoe.

—Eugene Field.


On the wide lawn the snow lay deep,

Ridged o’er with many a drifty heap;

The wind that through the pine trees sung

The naked elm-boughs tossed and swung;

While through the window, frosty-starred,

Against the sunset purple barr’d,

We saw the somber crow flit by,

The hawks gray flock along the sky,

The crested blue-jay flitting swift,

The squirrel poising on the drift,

Erect, alert, his broad gray tail,

Set to the north wind like a sail.

It came to pass, our little lass,

With flattened face against the glass,

And eyes in which the tender dew

Of pity shone, stood gazing through

The narrow space her rosy lips

Had melted from the frost’s eclipse.

“Oh, see!” she cried, “The poor blue-jays!

What is it that the black crow says?

The squirrel lifts his little legs

Because he has no hands, and begs;

He’s asking for nuts, I know;

May I not feed them on the snow?”

 Half lost within her boots, her head

Warm-sheltered in her hood of red,

Her plaid skirt close about her drawn,

She floundered down the wintry lawn;

Now struggling through the misty veil

Blown round her by the shrieking gale;

Now sinking in a drift so low

Her scarlet hood could scarcely show

Its dash of color on the snow.

She dropped for bird and beast forlorn

Her little store of nuts and corn,

And thus her timid guests bespoke:

“Come, squirrel, from your hollow oak—

Come, black old crow; come, poor blue-jay,

Before your supper’s blown away!

Don’t be afraid, we all are good!

And I’m mamma’s Red Riding-Hood!”

O Thou whose care is over all,

Who heedest even the sparrow’s fall,

Keep in the little maiden’s breast

The pity, which is now its guest!

Let not her cultured years make less

The childhood charm of tenderness.

But let her feel as well as know,

Nor harder with her polish grow!

Unmoved by sentimental grief

 That wails along some printed leaf,

But, prompt with kindly word and deed

To own the claims of all who need,

Let the grown woman’s self make good

The promise of Red Riding-Hood!



Across the lonely beach we flit,

One little sandpiper and I,

And fast I gather, bit by bit,

The scattered driftwood, bleached and dry.

The wild waves reach their hands for it,

The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,

As up and down the beach we flit,

One little sandpiper and I.

I watch him as he skims along,

Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;

He starts not at my fitful song,

Nor flash of fluttering drapery.

He has no thought of any wrong,

He scans me with a fearless eye;

 Stanch friends are we, well-tried and strong,

The little sandpiper and I.

Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,

When the loosed storm breaks furiously?

My driftwood fire will burn so bright!

To what warm shelter can’st thou fly?

I do not fear for thee, though wroth

The tempest rushes through the sky;

For are we not God’s children, both,

Thou, little sandpiper, and I?

—Celia Thaxter.


Still sits the school-house by the road,

A ragged beggar sleeping;

Around it still the sumachs grow

And blackberry vines are creeping.

Within, the master’s desk is seen,

Deep-scarred by raps official;

The warping floor, the battered seats,

The jack-knife’s carved initial.

 The charcoal frescoes on the wall,

Its door’s worn sill, betraying

The feet that, creeping slow to school,

Went storming out to playing.

Long years ago a winter’s sun

Shone over it at setting;

Lit up its western window-panes,

And low eaves’ icy fretting.

It touched the tangled golden curls,

And brown eyes full of grieving

Of one who still her steps delayed,

When all the school were leaving.

For near her stood the little boy

Her childish favor singled;

His cap pulled low upon his face

Where pride and shame were mingled.

Pushing with restless feet the snow

To right, to left, he lingered—

As restlessly her tiny hands

The blue-checked apron fingered.

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt

The soft hand’s light caressing,

And heard the tremble of her voice,

As if a fault confessing.

 “I’m sorry that I spelt the word,

I hate to go above you,

Because”—the brown eyes lower fell—

“Because, you see, I love you.”

Still memory to a gray-haired man

That sweet child-face is showing.

Dear girl! the grasses on her grave

Have forty years been growing.

He lives to learn in life’s hard school

How few who pass above him

Lament their triumph and his loss,

Like her—because they love him.



Little children, you must seek

Rather to be good than wise,

For the thoughts you do not speak

Shine out in your cheeks and eyes.

If you think that you can be

Cross and cruel and look fair,

Let me tell you how to see

You are quite mistaken there.

 Go and stand before the glass,

And some ugly thought contrive,

And my word will come to pass

Just as sure as you’re alive!

What you have and what you lack,

All the same as what you wear,

You will see reflected back;

So, my little folks, take care!

And not only in the glass

Will your secrets come to view;

All beholders, as they pass,

Will perceive and know them, too.

Goodness shows in blushes bright,

Or in eyelids dropping down,

Like a violet from the light;

Badness in a sneer or frown.

Out of sight, my boys and girls,

Every root of beauty starts;

So think less about your curls,

More about your minds and hearts.

Cherish what is good, and drive

Evil thoughts and feelings far;

For, as sure as you’re alive,

You will show for what you are.

—Alice Cary.


There! little girl; don’t cry!

They have broken your doll, I know;

And your tea-set blue,

And your play-house, too,

Are things of the long ago;

But childish troubles will soon pass by.

There! little girl; don’t cry!

There! little girl; don’t cry!

They have broken your slate, I know;

And the glad wild ways

Of your school-girl days

Are things of the long ago;

But life and love will soon come by.

There! little girl; don’t cry!

There! little girl; don’t cry!

They have broken your heart, I know;

And the rainbow gleams

Of your youthful dreams

Are things of the long ago;

But heaven holds all for which you sigh.

There! little girl; don’t cry!

—James Whitcomb Riley.



Under a spreading chestnut-tree

The village smithy stands;

The smith, a mighty man is he,

With large and sinewy hands;

And the muscles of his brawny arms

Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long;

His face is like the tan;

His brow is wet with honest sweat;

He earns whate’er he can,

And looks the whole world in the face,

For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn to night,

You can hear his bellows blow;

You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,

With measured beat and slow,

Like a sexton ringing the village bell

When the evening sun is low.

 And children, coming home from school,

Look in at the open door;

They love to see the flaming forge,

And hear the bellows roar,

And catch the burning sparks that fly

Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,

And sits among his boys;

He hears the parson pray and preach,

He hears his daughter’s voice

Singing in the village choir,

And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,

Singing in Paradise!

He needs must think of her once more—

How in the grave she lies;

And, with his hard, rough hand, he wipes

A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling, rejoicing, sorrowing,

Onward through life he goes;

Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees its close;

Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night’s repose.

 Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught!

Thus at the flaming forge of life,

Our fortunes must be wrought;

Thus, on its sounding anvil, shaped

Each burning deed and thought!



Breathes there a man with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land!

Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,

As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,

From wandering on a foreign strand!

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

For him no Minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,

The wretch, concenter’d all in self,

Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,

Unwept, unhonor’d, and unsung.



I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.



They say that God lives very high:

But if you look above the pines

You cannot see God. And why?

And if you dig down in the mines

You never see him in the gold,

Though, from him, all that’s glory shines.

God is so good, he wears a fold

Of heaven and earth across his face—

Like secrets kept for love untold.

But still I feel that his embrace

Slides down by thrills, through all things made,

Through sight and sound of every place:

As if my tender mother laid

On my shut lids her kisses’ pressure,

Half waking me at night; and said,

“Who kissed you through the dark, dear guesser?”

—Mrs. Browning.


Am I a king that I should call my own

This splendid ebon throne?

Or by what reason or what right divine,

Can I proclaim it mine?

Only, perhaps, by right divine of song

It may to me belong:

Only because the spreading chestnut tree

Of old was sung by me.

Well I remember it in all its prime,

When in the summer time

The affluent foliage of its branches made

A cavern of cool shade.

There by the blacksmith’s forge, beside the street,

Its blossoms white and sweet

Enticed the bees, until it seemed alive,

And murmured like a hive.

And when the winds of autumn, with a shout,

Tossed its great arms about,

The shining chestnuts, bursting from the sheath,

Dropped to the ground beneath.

 And now some fragments of its branches bare,

Shaped as a stately chair,

Have, by a hearth-stone found a home at last,

And whisper of the past.

The Danish king could not in all his pride

Repel the ocean tide.

But, seated in this chair,

I can in rhyme

Roll back the tide of time.

I see again, as one in vision sees,

The blossoms and the bees,

And hear the children’s voices call,

And the brown chestnuts fall.

I see the smithy with its fires aglow,

I hear the bellows blow,

And the shrill hammers on the anvil beat

The iron white with heat.

And thus, dear children, have ye made for me

This day a jubilee,

And to my more than three-score years and ten

Brought back my youth again.

 The heart hath its own memory, like the mind

And in it are enshrined

The precious keepsakes, into which is wrought

The giver’s loving thought.

Only your love and your remembrance could

Give life to this dead wood,

And make these branches, leafless now so long,

Blossom again in song.



Sing, children, sing,

And the lily censers swing;

Sing that life and joy are waking and that

Death no more is king.

Sing the happy, happy tumult of the slowly bright’ning Spring;

Sing, little children, sing,

Sing, children, sing,

Winter wild has taken wing.

 Fill the air with the sweet tidings till the frosty echoes ring.

Along the eaves, the icicles no longer cling;

And the crocus in the garden lifts its bright face to the sun;

And in the meadow, softly the brooks begin to run;

And the golden catkins, swing

In the warm air of the Spring—

Sing, little children, sing.

Sing, children, sing,

The lilies white you bring

In the joyous Easter morning, for hopes are blossoming,

And as earth her shroud of snow from off her breast doth fling,

So may we cast our fetters off in God’s eternal Spring;

So may we find release at last from sorrow and from pain,

Soon may we find our childhood’s calm, delicious dawn again.

Sweet are your eyes, O little ones, that look with smiling grace,

Without a shade of doubt or fear into the future’s face.

 Sing, sing in happy chorus, with happy voices tell

That death is life, and God is good, and all things shall be well.

That bitter day shall cease

In warmth and light and peace,

That winter yields to Spring—

Sing, little children, sing.

—Celia Thaxter.


I ride on the mountain tops, I ride;

I have found my life and am satisfied.

Onward I ride in the blowing oats,

Checking the field lark’s rippling notes—

Lightly I sweep from steep to steep;

O’er my head through branches high

Come glimpses of deep blue sky;

The tall oats brush my horse’s flanks:

Wild poppies crowd on the sunny banks;

A bee booms out of the scented grass;

A jay laughs with me as I pass.

I ride on the hills, I forgive, I forget

Life’s hoard of regret—

All the terror and pain of a chafing chain.

 Grind on, O cities, grind! I leave you a blur behind.

I am lifted elate—the skies expand;

Here the world’s heaped gold is a pile of sand.

Let them weary and work in their narrow walls;

I ride with the voices of waterfalls.

I swing on as one in a dream—I swing.

Down the very hollows, I shout, I sing.

The world is gone like an empty word;

My body’s a bough in the wind,—my heart a bird.

—Edwin Markham.


Its O my heart, my heart,

To be out in the sun and sing,

To sing and shout in the fields about,

In the balm and blossoming.

Sing loud, O bird in the tree;

O bird, sing loud in the sky,

And honey-bees, blacken the clover-beds;

There are none of you as glad as I.

 The leaves laugh low in the wind,

Laugh low with the wind at play;

And the odorous call of the flowers all

Entices my soul away.

For oh, but the world is fair, is fair,

And oh, but the world is sweet;

I will out in the old of the blossoming mould,

And sit at the Master’s feet.

And the love my heart would speak,

I will fold in the lily’s rim,

That the lips of the blossom more pure and meek

May offer it up to Him.

Then sing in the hedgerow green, O thrush,

O skylark, sing in the blue;

Sing loud, sing clear, that the King may hear,

And my soul shall sing with you.

—Ina Coolbrith.


Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,

One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,

When he called the flowers so blue and golden

Stars that in earth’s firmament do shine.

Stars they are wherein we read our history,

As astrologers and seers of eld;

Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery,

Like the burning stars that they beheld.

Wondrous truths and manifold as wondrous,

God hath written in those stars above;

But not less in the bright flowerets under us

Stands the revelation of His love.

Bright and glorious is that revelation,

Written all over this great world of ours

Making evident our own creation,

In these stars of earth, these golden flowers.

And the poet, faithful and far-seeing,

Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part

Of the selfsame universal Being,

Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.

 Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,

Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,

Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining;

Buds that open only to decay;

Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,

Flaunting gaily in the golden light;

Large desires with most uncertain issues,

Tender wishes blossoming at night.

These in flowers and men are more than seeming,

Workings are they of the selfsame powers,

Which the poet, in no idle dreaming,

Seeth in himself and in the flowers.

Everywhere about us are they glowing,

Some like stars to tell us Spring is born:

Others, their blue eyes with tears o’erflowing,

Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn.

Not alone in Spring’s armorial bearing,

And in summer’s green-emblazoned field,

But in arms of brave old Autumn’s wearing,

In the center of his blazoned shield.

Not alone in meadows and green alleys

On the mountaintop and by the brink

Of sequestered pool in woodland valleys,

Where the slaves of nature stoop to drink;

 Not alone in her vast dome of glory,

Not on graves of birds or beasts alone,

But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,

On the tombs of heroes carved in stone;

In the cottage of the rudest peasant,

In ancestral homes whose crumbling towers,

Speaking of the Past unto the Present,

Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers.

In all places, then, and in all seasons,

Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings;

Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,

How akin they are to human things.

And with childlike, credulous affection

We behold their tender buds expand;

Emblems of our own great resurrection,

Emblems of the bright and better land.



Sweet, sweet, sweet! Oh, happy that I am!

(Listen to the meadow-larks, across the fields that sing!)

Sweet, sweet, sweet! O subtle breath of balm,

O winds that blow, O buds that grow, O rapture of the spring!

Sweet, sweet, sweet! O skies, serene and blue,

That shut the velvet pastures in, that fold the mountain’s crest!

Sweet, sweet, sweet! What of the clouds ye knew?

The vessels ride a golden tide, upon a sea at rest.

Sweet, sweet, sweet! Who prates of care and pain?

Who says that life is sorrowful? O life so glad, so fleet!

Ah! he who lives the noblest life finds life the noblest gain,

The tears of pain a tender rain to make its waters sweet.

 Sweet, sweet, sweet! O happy world that is!

Dear heart, I hear across the fields my mateling pipe and call

Sweet, sweet, sweet! O world so full of bliss,

For life is love, the world is love, and love is over all!

—Ina Coolbrith.


I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.



It was fifty years ago,

In the pleasant month of May,

In the beautiful Pays de Vaud,

A child in its cradle lay.

And Nature, the old nurse, took

The child upon her knee,

Saying: “Here is a story-book

Thy Father has written for thee.”

“Come, wander with me,” she said,

“Into regions yet untrod;

And read what is still unread

In the manuscripts of God.”

And he wandered away and away

With Nature, the dear old nurse,

Who sang to him night and day

The rhymes of the universe.

And whenever the way seemed long,

Or his heart began to fail,

She would sing a more wonderful song,

Or tell a more marvelous tale.

 So she keeps him still a child,

And will not let him go,

Though at times his heart beats wild

For the beautiful Pays de Vaud;

Though at times he hears in his dreams

The Ranz des Vaches of old,

And the rush of mountain streams

From glaciers clear and cold;

And the mother at home says, “Hark!

For his voice I listen and yearn;

It is growing late and dark,

And my boy does not return!”




Break, break, break,

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!

And I would that my tongue could utter

The thoughts that arise in me.

Oh, well for the fisherman’s boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!

Oh, well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill;

But oh, for the touch of a vanished hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!

But the tender grace of a day that is dead

Will never come back to me.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


Behind him lay the gray Azores,

Behind the Gates of Hercules;

Before him not the ghost of shores,

Before him only shoreless seas.

The good mate said: “Now we must pray,

For lo, the very stars are gone.

Brave Adm’r’l speak; what shall I say?”

“Why say: ‘Sail on! sail on! sail on!’”

“My men grow mutinous day by day;

My men grow ghastly wan and weak.”

The stout mate thought of home; a spray

Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.

“What shall I say, brave Adm’r’l, say,

If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”

“Why you shall say at break of day:

‘Sail on! sail on! sail on! sail on!’”

They sailed and sailed, as the winds might blow,

Until at last the blanched mate said:

“Why, not even God would know

Should I and all my men fall dead.

 These very winds forget their way,

For God from these dread seas is gone.

Now speak, brave Adm’r’l; speak and say”—

He said: “Sail on! sail on! sail on!”

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:

“This mad sea shows its teeth to-night.

He curls his lips, he lies in wait,

With lifted teeth, as if to bite!

Brave Adm’r’l, say but one good word;

What shall we do when hope is gone?”

The words leapt as a leaping sword:

“Sail on! sail on! sail on! sail on!”

Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,

And peered through darkness. Ah, that night

Of all dark nights! And then a speck—

A light! A light! A light! A light!

It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!

It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.

He gained a world; he gave that world

Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”

—Joaquin Miller.


The day is done, and the darkness

Falls from the wings of Night,

As a feather is wafted downward

From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village

Gleam through the rain and the mist,

And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me,

That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,

That is not akin to pain,

And resembles sorrow only

As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,

Some simple and heartfelt lay,

That shall soothe this restless feeling,

And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,

Not from the bards19 sublime,

Whose distant footsteps echo

Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,

Their mighty thoughts suggest

 Life’s endless toil and endeavor;

And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,

Whose songs gushed from his heart,

As showers from the clouds of summer,

Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor;

And nights devoid of ease,

Still heard in his soul the music

Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet

The restless pulse of care,

And come like the benediction20

That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume

The poem of thy choice,

And lend to the rhyme of the poet

The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,

And the cares that infest the day,

Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,

And as silently steal away.



The breaking waves dashed high on a stern and rock-bound coast,

And the woods against a stormy sky their giant branches tossed;

And the heavy night hung dark the hills and waters o’er,

When a band of exiles moored their bark on the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes, they the true-hearted, came;

Not with the roll of stirring drums, and the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come, in silence and in fear;

They shook the depths of the desert gloom with their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang, and the stars heard, and the sea;

And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang with the anthems of the free!

The ocean eagle soared from his nest by the white wave’s foam,

And the rocking pines of the forest roared—this was their welcome home!

 There were men with hoary hair amidst that pilgrim band;

Why had they come to wither there away from their childhood’s land?

There was woman’s fearless eye, lit by her deep love’s truth;

There was manhood’s brow serenely high, and the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar? Bright jewels of the mine?

The wealth of seas, the spoils of war? They sought a faith’s pure shrine!

Ay, call it holy ground, the soil where first they trod:

They left unstained, what there they found, Freedom to worship God.

—Mrs. Hemans.


“He prayeth best, who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.”



Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown,

Of thee from the hilltop looking down;

The heifer that lows in the upland farm,

Far heard, lows not thine ear to charm,

The sexton, tolling his bell at noon,

Deems not that great Napoleon

Stops his horse, and lists with delight,

Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height;

Nor knowest thou what argument

Thy life to thy neighbor’s creed has lent.

All are needed by each one;

Nothing is fair or good alone.

I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,

Singing at dawn on the alder bough;

I brought him home, in his nest, at even,

He sings the song, but it cheers not now,

For I did not bring the river and sky;

He sang to my ear, they sang to my eye.

The delicate shells lay on the shore;

The bubbles of the latest wave

Fresh pearls to their enamel gave,

And the bellowing of the savage sea

Greeted their safe escape to me.

 I wiped away the weeds and foam,

I fetched my sea-born treasures home;

But the poor, unsightly, noisome things

Had left their beauty on the shore

With the sun and the sand and the wild uproar.

The lover watched his graceful maid,

As mid the virgin train she strayed,

Nor knew her beauty’s best attire

Was woven still by the snow-white quire.

At last she came to his hermitage,

Like the bird from the woodlands to the cage;

The gay enchantment was undone,

A gentle wife, but fairy none.

When I said, “I covet truth;

Beauty is unripe childhood’s cheat;

I leave it behind with the games of youth.”

As I spoke, beneath my feet

The ground pine curled its pretty leaf,

Running over the club-moss burrs;

I inhaled the violet’s breath;

Around me stood the oaks and firs,

Pine-cones and acorns lay on the ground.

Over me soared the eternal sky,

Full of light and of deity;

Again I saw, again I heard,

 The rolling river, the morning bird;

Beauty through my senses stole:

I yielded myself to the perfect whole.



Listen, my children, and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.

On the eighteenth of April in Seventy-five;

Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march

By land or sea from the town21 to-night,

Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch

Of the North Church tower as a signal light—

One if by land, and two if by sea,

And I on the opposite shore22 will be,

Ready to ride and spread the alarm

Through every Middlesex village and farm,

For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar

Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,

Just as the moon rose over the bay,

 Where swinging wide at her moorings lay

The Somerset, British man-of-war;

A phantom ship, with each mast and spar

Across the moon like a prison bar,

And a huge black hulk that was magnified

By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,

Wanders and watches with eager ears,

Till in the silence around him he hears

The muster of men at the barrack door,

The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,

And the measured tread of the grenadiers23

Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed to the tower of the church,

Up the wooden stairs with stealthy tread,

To the belfry chamber overhead,

And startled the pigeons from their perch,

On the sombre rafters, that round him made

Masses and moving shapes of shade—

Up the light ladder, slender and tall,

To the highest window in the wall,

Where he paused to listen and look down

A moment on the roofs of the town,

And the moonlight flowing over all.

 Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,

Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride

On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere

Now he patted his horse’s side,

Now gazed at the landscape far and near,

Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,

And turned and tightened his saddle girth;

But mostly he watched with eager search

The belfry-tower of the old North Church,

As it rose above the graves on the hill,

Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.

And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height

A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!

He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,

But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight

A second lamp in the belfry burns!


A hurry of hoofs in the village street,

A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,

And beneath from the pebbles, in passing, a spark

Struck out by a steed that flies fearless and fleet;

That was all! And yet through the gloom and the light,

The fate of a nation was riding that night.

 It was twelve by the village clock

When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.

He heard the crowing of the cock,

And the barking of the farmer’s dog,

And felt the damp of the river fog,

That rises when the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,

When he rode into Lexington.

He saw the gilded weathercock

Swim in the moonlight as he passed,

And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,

Gaze at him with a spectral stare,

As if they already stood aghast

At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,

When he came to the bridge in Concord town.

He heard the bleating of the flock,

And the twitter of the birds among the trees,

And felt the breath of the morning breeze

Blowing over the meadows brown.


So through the night rode Paul Revere;

And so through the night went his cry of alarm

To every Middlesex village and farm—

 A cry of defiance and not of fear,

A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,

And a word that shall echo forever more!

For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,

Through all our history, to the last,

In the hour of darkness and peril and need,

The people will waken and listen to hear

The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,

And the midnight message of Paul Revere.



Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is tramping out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;

His truth is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;

They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps;

I have read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:

His day is marching on.

 I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;

“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;

Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel;

Since God is marching on.”

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;

He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat;

Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer him! be jubilant, my feet!

Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,

With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me;

As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,

While God is marching on.

—Julia Ward Howe.


Blessings on thee, little man,

Barefoot boy with cheeks of tan!

With thy turned up pantaloons

And thy merry whistled tunes;

With thy red lips, redder still,

Kissed by strawberries on the hill;

With the sunshine on thy face,

Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace;

From my heart I give thee joy!—

I was once a barefoot boy!

Oh, for boyhood’s painless play,

Sleep that wakes in laughing day,

Health that mocks the doctor’s rules,

Knowledge never learned in schools,

Of the wild bee’s morning chase,

Of the wild flower’s time and place,

How the tortoise bears his shell,

How the woodchuck digs his cell,

How the robin feeds her young,

How the oriole’s nest is hung,

Where the whitest lilies blow,

Where the freshest berries grow,

 Where the ground-nut trails its vine,

Where the wood-grape’s clusters shine,

Of the black wasp’s cunning way,

Mason of his walls of clay.

Oh, for boyhood’s time of June,

Crowding years in one brief moon,

When all things I heard or saw

Me, their master, waited for!

I was rich in flowers and trees,

Humming-birds and honey-bees;

For my sport the squirrel played,

Plied the snouted mole his spade.

Laughed the brook for my delight,

Through the day and through the night,

Whispering at the garden wall,

Talked with me from fall to fall.

Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond,

Mine the walnut slopes beyond,

Mine on bending orchard trees,

Apples of Hesperides.

I was monarch: pomp and joy

Waited on the barefoot boy!



When the Norn-mother saw the Whirl-wind Hour,

Greatening and darkening as it hurried on,

She bent the strenuous heavens and came down

To make a man to meet the mortal need.

She took the tried clay of the common road,

Clay warm yet with the genial heat of earth,

Dashed through it all a strain of prophecy:

Then mixed a laughter with the serious stuff,

It was a stuff to wear for centuries,

A man that matched the mountains and compelled

The stars to look our way and honor us.

The color of the ground was in him, the red Earth

The tang and odor of the primal things—

The rectitude and patience of the rocks:

The gladness of the wind that shakes the corn;

The courage of the bird that dares the sea;

The justice of the rain that loves all leaves;

The pity of the snow that hides all scars;

The loving kindness of the wayside well;

The tolerance and equity of light

That gives as freely to the shrinking weed

 As to the great oak flaring to the wind—

To the grave’s low hill as to the Matterhorn

That shoulders out the sky.

And so he came

From prairie cabin up to Capitol,

One fair Ideal led our chieftain on.

Forevermore he burned to do his deed

With the fine stroke and gesture of a king.

He built the rail pile as he built the State,

Pouring his splendid strength through every blow,

The conscience of him testing every blow,

To make his deed the measure of a man.

So came the captain with the mighty heart;

And when the step of earthquake shook the house,

Wrenching the rafters from their ancient hold,

He held the ridge-pole up and spiked again

The rafters of the Home. He held his place—

Held the long purpose like a growing tree—

Held on through blame and faltered not at praise.

And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down

As when a kingly cedar green with boughs

Goes down with a great shout upon the hills.

—Edwin Markham.


This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:

There spread a cloud of dust along a plain

And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged

A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords

Shocked upon swords and shields, a prince’s banner

Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.

A craven hung along the battle’s edge,

And thought: “Had I a sword of keener steel—

That blue blade that the king’s son bears—but this

Blunt thing!” He snapped and flung it from his hand,

And lowering crept away and left the field.

Then came the king’s son wounded, sore bestead,

And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,

Hilt buried in the dry and trodden sand,

And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout

Lifted afresh, he hewed his enemy down,

And saved a great cause on that heroic day.

—Edward Rowland Sill.

 A SONG.27

There is ever a song somewhere, my dear;

There is ever a something sings alway:

There’s the song of the lark when the skies are clear,

And the song of the thrush when the skies are gray.

The sunshine showers across the grain,

And the bluebird trills in the orchard tree;

And in and out, when the eaves drip rain,

The swallows are twittering ceaselessly.

There is ever a song somewhere, my dear.

Be the skies above or dark or fair,

There is ever a song that our hearts may hear—

There is ever a song somewhere, my dear—

There is ever a song somewhere!

There is ever a song somewhere, my dear,

In the mid-night black, or the mid-day blue;

The robin pipes when the sun is here,

And the cricket chirps the whole night through.

 The buds may blow, and the fruit may grow,

And the autumn leaves drop crisp and sear;

But whether the sun, or the rain, or the snow,

There is ever a song somewhere, my dear.

There is ever a song somewhere, my dear.

Be the skies above or dark or fair,

There is ever a song that our hearts may hear—

There is ever a song somewhere, my dear—

There is ever a song somewhere!

—James Whitcomb Riley.


Green be the turf above thee,

Friend of my better days!

None knew thee but to love thee,

Nor named thee but to praise.

Tears fell, when thou wert dying,

From eyes unused to weep,

And long, where thou art lying,

Will tears the cold turf steep.

When hearts, whose truth was proven,

Like thine are laid in earth,

There should a wreath be woven

To tell the world their worth.

—Fitz-Greene Halleck.



  1. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.
  2. My help cometh from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth.
  3. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber.
  4. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
  5. The Lord is thy keeper: The Lord is thy shade on thy right hand.
  6. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
  7. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul.
  8. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.



How beautiful is the rain!

After the dust and heat,

In the broad and fiery street,

In the narrow lane,

How beautiful is the rain!

How it clatters upon the roofs

Like the tramp of hoofs!

How it gushes and struggles out

From the throat of the overflowing spout.

Across the window-pane

It pours and pours,

And swift and wide,

With a muddy tide,

Like a river down the gutter roars

The rain, the welcome rain!

The sick man from his chamber looks

At the twisted brooks;

He can feel the cool

Breath of each little pool;

His fevered brain

Grows calm again,

And he breathes a blessing on the rain!

From the neighboring school

Come the boys

 With more than their wonted noise

And commotion;

And down the wet streets

Sail their mimic28 fleets,

Till the treacherous pool

Engulfs them in its whirling

And turbulent ocean.

In the country on every side,

Where, far and wide,

Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,

Stretches the plain,

To the dry grass and the drier grain

How welcome is the rain!

In the furrowed land

The toilsome and patient oxen stand,

Lifting the yoke-encumbered29 head,

With their dilated nostrils spread,

They silently inhale

The clover-scented gale,

And the vapors that arise

From the well-watered and smoking soil

For this rest in the furrow after toil,

Their large and lustrous eyes

Seem to thank the Lord,

More than man’s spoken word.

 Near at hand,

From under the sheltering trees,

The farmer sees

His pastures and his fields of grain,

As they bend their tops

To the numberless beating drops

Of the incessant rain.

He counts it as no sin

That he sees therein

Only his own thrift and gain.

These and far more than these,

The Poet sees!

He can behold

Aquarius30 old

Walking the fenceless fields of air

And, from each ample fold

Of the clouds about him rolled,

Scattering everywhere

The showery rain,

As the farmer scatters his grain.

He can behold

Things manifold

That have not yet been wholly told,

Have not been wholly sung nor said.

For his thought, which never stops,

 Follows the water-drops

Down to the graves of the dead,

Down through chasms and gulfs profound

To the dreary fountain-head

Of lakes and rivers under ground,

And sees them, when the rain is done,

On the bridge of colors seven,

Climbing up once more to heaven,

Opposite the setting sun.

Thus the seer,31

With vision clear,

Sees forms appear and disappear,

In the perpetual round of strange

Mysterious change

From birth to death, from death to birth;

From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth,

Till glimpses more sublime

Of things unseen before

Unto his wondering eyes reveal

The universe, as an immeasurable wheel

Turning forevermore

In the rapid and rushing river of time.



Tell me not in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle—

Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no future, howe’er pleasant;

Let the dead past bury its dead!

 Act, act in the living present,

Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time:

Footprints that perhaps another,

Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.



By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept,

Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,

And Time the ruined bridge has swept

Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

 On this green bank, by this soft stream,

We set to-day the votive stone,

That memory may their deed redeem,

When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit that made those heroes dare

To die, and leave their children free,

Bid Time and Nature gently spare

The shaft we raise to them and thee.

—R. W. Emerson.


Whither, ’midst falling dew,

While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,

Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue

Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowlers’ eye

Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,

As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,

Thy figure floats along.

Seek’st thou the plashy brink

Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,

Or where the rocking billows rise and sink

On the chafed ocean side?

 There is a Power whose care

Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,

The desert and illimitable air,

Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,

At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,

Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,

Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;

Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,

And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend

Soon o’er thy sheltered nest.

Thou’rt gone, the abyss of heaven

Hath swallow’d up thy form; yet, on my heart,

Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,

And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,

In the long way that I must tread alone,

Will lead my steps aright.



The rich man’s son inherits lands,

And piles of brick and stone, and gold,

And he inherits soft white hands,

And tender flesh that fears the cold,

Nor dares to wear a garment old;

A heritage it seems to me,

One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

The rich man’s son inherits cares;

The banks may break, the factory burn,

A breath may burst his bubble shares,

And soft white hands could hardly earn

A living that would serve his turn;

A heritage it seems to me,

One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

The rich man’s son inherits wants,

His stomach craves for dainty fare;

With sated heart, he hears the pants

Of toiling hands with brown arms bare,

And wearies in his easy-chair;

A heritage it seems to me,

One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

What doth the poor man’s son inherit?

Stout muscles and a sinewy heart,

A hardy frame, a hardier spirit;

 King of two hands, he does his part

In every useful toil and art;

A heritage it seems to me,

A king might wish to hold in fee.

What doth the poor man’s son inherit?

Wishes o’erjoyed with humble things,

A rank adjudged by toil-won merit,

Content that from enjoyment springs,

A heart that in his labor sings;

A heritage it seems to me,

A king might wish to hold in fee.

What doth the poor man’s son inherit?

A patience learned of being poor,

Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it,

A fellow-feeling that is sure

To make the outcast bless his door;

A heritage, it seems to me

A king might wish to hold in fee.

O rich man’s son! there is a toil

That with all others level stands;

Large charity doth never soil,

But only whiten, soft, white hands—

This is the best crop from thy lands;

A heritage, it seems to me,

Worth being rich to hold in fee.

 O poor man’s son, scorn not thy state;

There is worse weariness than thine,

In merely being rich and great;

Toil only gives the soul to shine,

And makes rest fragrant and benign;

A heritage, it seems to me,

Worth being poor to hold in fee.

Both, heirs to some six feet of sod,

Are equal in the earth at last;

Both children of the same dear God,

Prove title to your heirship vast

By record of a well-filled past;

A heritage, it seems to me,

Well worth a life to hold in fee.



The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea,

The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,

And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,

And all the air a solemn stillness holds,

 Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,

And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow’r

The moping owl does to the moon complain

Of such as, wand’ring near her secret bow’r,

Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,

Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,

Each in his narrow cell forever laid,

The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,

The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,

The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,

No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,

Or busy housewife ply her evening care:

No children run to lisp their sire’s return,

Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,

Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:

 How jocund did they drive their team afield!

How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys and destiny obscure;

Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,

The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry; the pomp of pow’r,

And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,

Await alike the inevitable hour—

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,

If mem’ry o’er their tomb no trophies raise,

Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,

The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?

Can honor’s voice provoke the silent dust,

Or flatt’ry soothe the dull cold ear of death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;

 Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,

Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.

But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,

Rich with the spoils of time, did ne’er unroll;

Chill penury repress’d their noble rage,

And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air,

Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast

The little tyrant of his fields withstood,

Some mute, inglorious Milton here may rest,

Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,

The threats of pain and ruin to despise,

To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,

And read their hist’ry in a nation’s eyes

Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib’d alone

Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d:

 Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,

And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,

To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,

Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride

With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,

Their sober wishes never learned to stray;

Along the cool, sequester’d vale of life

They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet e’en these bones from insult to protect

Some frail memorial still erected nigh,

With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,

Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d Muse,

The place of fame and elegy supply:

And many a holy text around she strews,

That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,

This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,

Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,

Nor cast one longing, ling’ring look behind?

 On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

Some pious drops the closing eye requires;

Ev’n from the tomb the voice of nature cries,

Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonor’d Dead,

Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;

If chance, by lonely contemplation led,

Some kindred spirit shall enquire thy fate,

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,

“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn

Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,

To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,

That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,

His listless length at noontide would he stretch,

And pore upon the brook that babbles by

“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,

Mutt’ring his wayward fancies he would rove;

Now drooping, woeful-wan, like one forlorn,

Or craz’d with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.

“One morn I missed him on the custom’d hill,

Along the heath, and near his fav’rite tree;

 Another came; nor yet beside the rill,

Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he.

“The next, with dirges due in sad array,

Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne—

Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,

Grav’d on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”


Here rests his head upon the lap of earth

A youth, to fortune and to fame unknown

Fair science frown’d not on his humble birth,

And melancholy mark’d him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,

Heav’n did a recompense as largely send:

He gave to mis’ry all he had, a tear,

He gain’d from heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode

(There they alike in trembling hope repose)

The bosom of his father and his God.

—Thomas Gray.


Heaven is not gained at a single bound;

But we build the ladder by which we rise

From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,

And we mount to its summit round by round.

I count this thing to be grandly true,

That a noble deed is a step toward God—

Lifting the soul from the common sod

To a purer air and a broader view.

We rise by things that are ’neath our feet;

By what we have mastered of good and gain;

By the pride deposed and the passion slain,

And the vanquished ills that we hourly meet.

We hope, we aspire, we resolve, we trust,

When the morning calls us to life and light,

But our hearts grow weary, and, ere the night,

Our lives are trailing the sordid dust.

We hope, we resolve, we aspire, we pray,

And we think that we mount the air on wings

Beyond the recall of sensual things,

While our feet still cling to the heavy clay.

 Wings for the angels, but feet for men!

We may borrow the wings to find the way—

We may hope, and resolve, and aspire, and pray,

But our feet must rise, or we fall again.

Only in dreams is a ladder thrown

From the weary earth to the sapphire walls;

But the dream departs, and the vision falls,

And the sleeper wakes on his pillow of stone.

Heaven is not reached at a single bound:

But we build the ladder by which we rise

From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,

And we mount to its summit round by round.

—J. G. Holland.


Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming,

Snatched from the altars of insolent foes,

Burning with star-fires, but never consuming,

Flashed its broad ribbons of lily and rose.

Vainly the prophets of Baal would rend it,

Vainly his worshipers pray for its fall;

Thousands have died for it, millions defend it,

Emblem of justice and mercy to all.

Justice that reddens the sky with her terrors,

Mercy that comes with her white-handed train,

Soothing all passions, redeeming all errors,

Sheathing the saber and breaking the chain.

Born on the deluge of old usurpations,

Drifted our Ark o’er the desolate seas,

Bearing the rainbow of hope to the nations

Torn from the storm-cloud and flung to the breeze!

God bless the flag and its loyal defenders

While its broad folds o’er the battle-fields wave,

 Till the dim star-wreaths rekindle its splendors

Washed from its stains in the blood of the brave!

—Oliver Wendell Holmes.


Forenoon and afternoon and night—Forenoon and afternoon and night,

Forenoon, and—what!

The empty song repeats itself. No more?

Yea, that is life: Make this forenoon sublime,

This afternoon a psalm, this night a prayer,

And Time is conquered and thy crown is won.

—Edward Rowland Sill.



I heard the trailing garments of the Night

Sweep through her marble halls!

I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light

From the celestial walls!

I felt her presence, by its spell of might,

Stoop o’er me from above;

The calm, majestic presence of the Night,

As of the one I love.

I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,

The manifold soft chimes,

That fill the haunted chambers of the Night,

Like some old poet’s rhymes.

From the cool cisterns of the midnight air

My spirit drank repose;

The fountain of perpetual peace flows there—

From those deep cisterns flows.

O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear

What man has borne before!

 Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,

And they complain no more.

Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!

Descend with broad-winged flight,

The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,

The best beloved Night!



All are architects of Fate,

Working in these walls of Time;

Some with massive deeds and great,

Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;

Each thing in its place is best;

And what seems but idle show

Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,

Time is with materials filled;

Our to-days and yesterdays

Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fasten these;

Leave no yawning gaps between;

 Think not, because no man sees,

Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of art,

Builders wrought with greatest care

Each minute and unseen part;

For the gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well

Both the unseen and the seen;

Make the house where God may dwell

Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,

Standing in these walls of Time,

Broken stairways, where the feet

Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,

With a firm and ample base;

And ascending and secure

Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain

To those turrets, where the eye

Sees the world as one vast plain,

And one boundless reach of sky.



Give thy thoughts no tongue,

Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

The friends thou hast and their adoption tried,

Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel;

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade.


Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,

Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee.

Give every man thine ear; but few thine voice;

Take each man’s censure; but reserve thy judgment.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man;

And they in France, of the best rank and station,

Are of a most select and generous chief in that.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;

For a loan oft loses both itself and friend.

 And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

This above all—to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou can’st not then be false to any man.



To him who in the love of nature holds

Communion with her visible forms, she speaks

A various language; for his gayer hours

She has a voice of gladness, and a smile

And eloquence of beauty, and she glides

Into his darker musings, with a mild

And healing sympathy, that steals away

Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts

Of the last bitter hour come like a blight

Over thy spirit, and sad images

Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,

And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,

Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart—

Go forth, under the open sky, and list

To Nature’s teachings, while from all around—

Earth and her waters, and the depths of air—

 Comes a still voice—Yet a few days, and thee

The all-beholding sun shall see no more

In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,

Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,

Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist

Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim

Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,

And, lost each human trace, surrendering up

Thine individual being shalt thou go

To mix forever with the elements.

To be a brother to the insensible rock

And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain

Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak

Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place

Shalt thou retire alone—nor couldst thou wish

Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down

With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,

The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good,

Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,

All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills

 Book-ribbed and ancient as the sun—the vales

Stretching in pensive quietness between;

The venerable woods—rivers that move

In majesty, and the complaining brooks

That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,

Old ocean’s gray and melancholy waste—

Are but the solemn decorations all

Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,

The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,

Are shining on the sad abodes of death,

Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread

The globe are but a handful to the tribes

That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings

Of morning—and the Barcan desert pierce,

Or lose thyself in the continuous woods

Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,

Save his own dashings—yet—the dead are there;

And millions in those solitudes, since first

The flight of years began, have laid them down

In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.

So shalt thou rest—and what if thou withdraw

Unheeded by the living—and no friend

Take note of thy departure? All that breathe

Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh

 When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care

Plod on, and each one as before will chase

His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave

Their mirth and their employment, and shall come

And make their bed with thee. As the long train

Of ages glide away, the sons of men,

The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes

In the full strength of years, matron, and maid,

And the sweet babe, and the gray-headed man,

Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,

By those, who in their turn shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan, that moves

To that mysterious realm, where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.



When Freedom, from her mountain height,

Unfurled her standard to the air,

She tore the azure robe of night,

And set the stars of glory there.

She mingled with its gorgeous dyes

The milky baldric of the skies,

And striped its pure, celestial white

With streakings of the morning light;

Then, from his mansion in the sun,

She called her eagle bearer down,

And gave into his mighty hand

The symbol of her chosen land.

Majestic monarch of the cloud!

Who rear’st aloft thy regal form,

To hear the tempest trumpings loud

And see the lightning lances driven,

When strive the warriors of the storm,

And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven—

Child of the sun! to thee ’tis given

To guard the banner of the free;

To hover in the sulphur smoke,

To ward away the battle-stroke;

And bid its blending shine afar,

Like rainbows on the clouds of war,

The harbingers of victory!

 Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly,

The sign of hope and triumph high!

When speaks the signal trumpet tone,

And the long line comes gleaming on,

Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet,

Has dimmed the glistening bayonet,

Each soldier eye shall brightly turn

To where thy sky-born glories burn,

And, as his springing steps advance,

Catch war and vengeance from the glance;

And when the cannon-mouthings loud

Heave in wild wreaths the battle-shroud,

And gory sabres rise and fall,

Like shoots of flame on midnight’s pall,

Then shall thy meteor glances glow,

And cowering foes shall shrink beneath

Each gallant arm that strikes below

That lovely messenger of death.

Flag of the seas! on ocean wave

Thy stars shall glitter o’er the brave,

When death, careering on the gale,

Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail,

And frightened waves rush wildly back

Before the broadside’s reeling rack;

Each dying wanderer of the sea

Shall look at once to heaven and thee,

 And smile to see thy splendors fly

In triumph o’er his closing eye.

Flag of the free heart’s hope and home,

By angel hands to valor given,

Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,

And all thy hues were born in heaven.

Forever float that standard sheet!

Where breathes the foe but falls before us,

With Freedom’s soil beneath our feet,

And Freedom’s banner streaming o’er us!

—Joseph Rodman Drake.


November 18, 1863.

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate  a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us, to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

—President Lincoln.


Hail to thee, blithe spirit—

Bird thou never wert—

That from heaven, or near it

Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher

From the earth thou springest,

Like a cloud of fire:

The blue deep thou wingest,

And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the setting sun,

O’er which clouds are bright’ning,

Thou dost float and run;

Like an embodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;

Like a star of heaven,

In the broad daylight,

Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

 Keen as are the arrows

Of that silvery sphere,

Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,

Until we hardly see, we feel, that it is there.

All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,

As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud

The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow’d.

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee!

From rainbow clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see,

As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,

Singing hymns unbidden,

Till the world is wrought

To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not;

Like a high-born maiden

In a palace tower,

 Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour

With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower;

Like a glow-worm golden,

In a dell of dew,

Scattering unbeholden

Its aerial hue

Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view;

Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves,

By warm winds deflower’d,

Till the scent it gives

Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves.

Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass,

Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was

Joyous, and fresh and clear, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine;

I have never heard

 Praise of lore or wine

That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus hymeneal,

Or triumphant chant,

Match’d with thine, would be all

But an empty vaunt—

A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What object are the fountains

Of thy happy strain?

What fields, or waves, or mountains?

What shapes of sky or plain?

What love of thine own kind? What ignorance of pain?

With thy clear, keen joyance

Languor cannot be;

Shadow of annoyance

Never came near thee;

Thou lovest, but ne’er knew love’s sad satiety.

Waking, or asleep,

Thou of death must deem

Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream,

Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

 We look before and after,

And pine for what is not;

Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught;

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride and fear,

If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,

I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

Better than all measures

Of delightful sound,

Better than all treasures

That in books are found,

Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,

Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow,

The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

—Percy Bysshe Shelley.


Then the Master,

With a gesture of command,

Waved his hand;

And at the word,

Loud and sudden there was heard,

All around them and below,

The sound of hammers, blow on blow,

Knocking away the shores and spurs.

And see! she stirs!

She starts—she moves—she seems to feel

The thrill of life along her keel,

And, spurning with her foot the ground,

With one exulting, joyous bound,

She leaps into the ocean’s arms!

And lo! from the assembled crowd

There rose a shout, prolonged and loud,

That to the ocean seemed to say,

“Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray.

Take her to thy protecting arms,

With all her youth and all her charms!”

How beautiful she is! How fair

She lies within those arms, that press

Her form with many a soft caress

Of tenderness and watchful care!

 Sail forth into the sea, O ship!

Through wind and wave, right onward steer!

The moistened eye, the trembling lip,

Are not the signs of doubt or fear.

Sail forth into the sea of life,

O gentle, loving, trusting wife,

And safe from all adversity

Upon the bosom of that sea

Thy comings and thy goings be!

For gentleness and love and trust

Prevail o’er angry wave and gust;

And in the wreck of noble lives

Something immortal still survives!

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!

Sail on, O Union, strong and great!

Humanity with all its fears,

With all the hopes of future years,

Is hanging breathless on thy fate!

We know what Master laid thy keel,

What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,

Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,

What anvils rang, what hammers beat,

In what a forge and what a heat

Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!

 Fear not each sudden sound and shock,

’Tis of the wave and not the rock;

’Tis but the flapping of the sail,

And not a rent made by the gale!

In spite of rock and tempest’s roar,

In spite of false lights on the shore,

Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!

Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee,

Our hearts our hopes, our prayers, our tears,

Our faith triumphant o’er our fears,

Are all with thee,—are all with thee!



God of our fathers, known of old—

Lord of our far-flung battle line—

Beneath Whose awful Hand we hold

Dominion over palm and pine—

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—

The captains and the kings depart,

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

 An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away—

On dune and headland sinks the fire—

Lo, all our pomp of yesterday

Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!

Judge of the nations, spare us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose

Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—

Such boasting as the Gentiles use,

Or lesser breeds without the Law—

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust

In reeking tube and iron shard—

All valiant dust that builds on dust,

And guarding calls not Thee to guard—

For frantic boast and foolish word,

Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!




Saint Augustine! well hast thou said,

That of our vices we can frame

A ladder, if we will but tread

Beneath our feet each deed of shame.

All common things, each day’s events,

That with the hour begin and end,

Our pleasures and our discontents,

Are rounds by which we may ascend.

The low desire, the base design,

That makes another’s virtues less;

The revel of the ruddy wine,

And all occasions of excess;

The longing for ignoble things;

The strife for triumph more than truth;

The hardening of the heart, that brings

Irreverence for the dreams of youth;

All thoughts of ill; all evil deeds,

That have their root in thoughts of ill;

Whatever hinders or impedes

The action of the nobler will.

All these must first be trampled down

Beneath our feet, if we would gain

 In the bright fields of fair renown

The right of eminent domain.

We have not wings, we cannot soar;

But we have feet to scale and climb

By slow degrees, by more and more,

The cloudy summits of our time.

The mighty pyramids of stone

That wedge-like cleave the desert airs,

When nearer seen, and better known,

Are but gigantic flights of stairs.

The distant mountains, that uprear

Their solid bastions to the skies,

Are crossed by pathways, that appear

As we to higher levels rise.

The heights by great men reached and kept

Were not attained by sudden flight,

But they, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night.

Standing on what too long we bore

With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,

We may discern—unseen before—

A path to higher destinies.

 Nor deem the irrevocable Past

As wholly wasted, wholly vain,

If, rising on its wrecks, at last

To something nobler we attain.



This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,

Sails the unshadowed main,—

The venturous bark that flings

On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings

In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,

And coral reefs lie bare,

Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;

Wrecked is the ship of pearl!

And every chambered cell,

Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,

As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,

Before thee lies revealed,—

Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

 Year after year beheld the silent toil

That spread his lustrous coil;

Still, as the spiral grew,

He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,

Stole with soft step its shining archway through,

Built up its idle door,

Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,

Child of the wandering sea.

Cast from her lap, forlorn!

From thy dead lips a clearer note is born

Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn!

While on mine ear it rings,

Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,

As the swift seasons roll!

Leave thy low-vaulted past!

Let each new temple, nobler than the last,

Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,

Till thou at length art free,

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

—Oliver Wendell Holmes.


To the Young People of Oakland, Cal.
May 24, 1901

“There is nothing better for the United States than Educated Citizenship; and, my young friends, there never was a time in all our history when knowledge was so essential to success as now. Everything requires knowledge. What we want of the young people now is exact knowledge. You want to know whatever you undertake to do a little better than anybody else. And if you will do that, then there is nothing that is not within your reach.

And what you want besides education is CharacterCharacter! There is nothing that will serve a young man or an old man so well as good character. And did you ever think that it is just as easy to form a good habit as it is to form a bad one; and it is just as hard to break a good habit as it is to break a bad one? So get the good ones and keep them. With Education and Character you will not only achieve individual success, but you will contribute largely to the progress of your country.”



If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try again.


Be kind and be gentle

To those who are old,

For dearer is kindness

And better than gold.


Sing, pretty birds, and build your nests,

The fields are green, the skies are clear;

Sing, pretty birds, and build your nests,

The world is glad to have you here.


A friend in need is a friend indeed.


If a task is once begun,

Never leave it till it’s done;

Be the labor great or small,

Do it well or not at all.


 Whatever way the wind doth blow,

Some heart is glad to have it so,

So blow it east, or blow it west,

The wind that blows—that wind is best.


Dare to do right! dare to be true!

For you have a work no other can do;

Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well,

Angels will hasten the story to tell.


To do to others as I would

That they should do to me

Will make me honest, kind and good,

As children ought to be.


God make my life a little light,

Within the world to glow:

A little flame that burneth bright

Wherever I may go.


Better be an hour too early than a minute too late.


“Help one another,” the snowflakes said,

As they cuddled down in their fleecy bed,

“One of us here would not be felt,

One of us here would quickly melt;

But I’ll help you and you help me,

And then what a splendid drift there’ll be.”


 By-and-by is a very bad boy,

Shun him at once and forever;

For they who travel with By-and-by

Soon come to the house of Never.


Politeness is to do and say

The kindest things in the kindest way.


And isn't it, my boy or girl,

The wisest, bravest plan,

Whatever comes, or doesn't come,

To do the best you can?



Beautiful hands are those that do

Work that is earnest, brave and true

Moment by moment, the long day through.


Kind hearts are gardens,

Kind thoughts are roots,

Kind words are blossoms,

Kind deeds are fruits;

Love is the sweet sunshine

That warms into life,

For only in darkness

Grow hatred and strife.


Be good, dear child, and let who will be clever;

Do noble deeds, not dream them all day long;

And so make life, death, and that vast forever

One grand, sweet song.


Whene’er a task is set for you

Don’t idly sit and view it,—

Nor be content to wish it done;

Begin at once and do it.


 Look up and not down, look forward and not back, look out and not in, and lend a hand.


This world is not so bad a world

As some would like to make it;

Though whether good or whether bad,

Depends on how we take it.

—M. W. Beck.

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.


Dare to be true, nothing can need a lie; A fault which needs it most grows two thereby.

—George Herbert.

If wisdom’s ways you’d wisely seek,

Five things observe with care,—

Of whom you speak, to whom you speak,

And how, and when, and where.


Cowards are cruel, but the brave

Love mercy, and delight to save.


 If there is a virtue in the world at which we should always aim, it is cheerfulness.

—Bulwer Lytton.

’Tis distance lends enchantment to the view

And clothes the mountain with its azure hue.


Give fools their gold and knaves their power,

Let fortune’s bubble rise and fall;

Who sows a field, or trains a flower,

Or plants a tree is more than all.


Our to-days and yesterdays

Are the blocks with which we build.


Too low they build who build beneath the stars.


Errors, like straws upon the surface flow;

He who would seek for pearls must dive below.


The cross, if rightly borne, shall be

No burden, but support to thee.


 Oh, deem it not an idle thing

A pleasant word to speak;

The face you wear, the thoughts you bring,

A heart may heal or break.


Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,—

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time.


One by one thy duties wait thee,

Let thy whole strength go to each;

Let no future dreams elate thee,—

Learn thou first what these can teach.



Count that day lost whose low descending sun

Views from thy hand no worthy action done.


Honor and shame from no condition rise;

Act well your part; there all the honor lies.


Success does not consist in never making blunders, but in never making the same one a second time.


Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.


One cannot always be a hero, but one can always be a man.


The heights by great men reached and kept,

Were not attained by sudden flight;

But they, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night.


 All that’s great and good is done

Just by patient trying.

—Phœbe Cary.

No star is lost we ever once have seen:

We always may be what we might have been.

—Adelaide Proctor.

Often in a wooden house a golden room we find.


Too much of joy is sorrowful,

So cares must needs abound,

The vine that bears too many flowers

Will trail upon the ground.

—Alice Cary.

Life is too short for aught but high endeavor.

—Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

To climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.


Cloud and sun together make the year;

Without some storms no rainbow could appear.

—Alice Cary.

The noblest service comes from nameless hands,

And the best servant does his work unseen.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes.

 He who seeks to pluck the stars

Will lose the jewels at his feet.

—Phœbe Cary.

For he who is honest is noble,

Whatever his fortunes or birth.

—Alice Cary.

There’s never a leaf or a blade too mean

To be some happy creature’s palace.

—James Russell Lowell.

No endeavor is in vain.

Its reward is in the doing;

And the rapture of pursuing

Is the prize the vanquished gain.


Press on! if once and twice thy feet

Slip back and stumble, harder try.


Dare to do right; dare to be true;

The failings of others can never save you;

Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith—

Stand like a hero, and battle till death!


He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.


 He prayeth best who loveth best

All things, both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.


Hours are golden links, God’s token,

Reaching heaven, but one by one

Take them; lest the chain be broken

Ere the pilgrimage be done.

—A. A. Proctor.

There is a lesson in each flower,

A story in each stream and bower;

On every herb on which we tread,

Are written words which, rightly read,

Will lead us from earth’s fragrant sod

To hope and holiness and God.


Oh, many a shaft at random sent,

Finds mark the archer little meant!

And many a word at random spoken,

May soothe, or wound, a heart that’s broken.



To thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.


Be noble! and the nobleness that lies

In other men, sleeping but never dead,

Will rise in majesty to meet thine own.


What must of necessity be done, you can always find out how to do.


He fails not who makes truth his cause,

Nor bends to win the crowd’s applause,

He fails not—he who stakes his all

Upon the right and dares to fall.

—Richard Watson Gilder.

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act,—act in the living Present!

Heart within and God o’erhead!


 Tell me not in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.


Be just and fear not; let all the ends thou aimest at, be thy country’s, thy God’s, and truth’s.


For of all sad words of tongue or pen—

The saddest are these: “It might have been!”


Truth crushed to earth shall rise again;

The eternal years of God are hers;

But error, wounded, writhes with pain,

And dies among his worshippers.


Flower in the crannied wall,

I pluck you out of the crannies;—

Hold you here, root and all, in my hand,

Little flower,—but if I could understand

What you are, root and all—and all in all,

I should know what God and man is.


Life is the beat possible thing we can make of it.


 Without a sign his sword the brave man draws,

And asks no omen but his country’s cause.


There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,

Rough-hew them how we will.


To be, or not to be: that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take up arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing, end them?


Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.


Our grand business is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

—Thomas Carlyle.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.


 Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air.



God helps them that help themselves.

The sleeping fox catches no poultry.

What we call time enough always proves little enough.

Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy.

Drive thy business, let not that drive thee.

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Industry needs not wish.

He that lives upon hope will die fasting.

He that hath a trade hath an estate, and he that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honor.

Have you somewhat to do to-morrow, do it to-day.

 God gives all things to industry: then plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you will have corn to sell and to keep.

Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee.

If you would have your business done, go; if not, send.

He that by the plough would thrive,

Himself must either hold or drive.

Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets put out the kitchen fire.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.

Many a little makes a mickle.

Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.

Wise men learn by others’ harms, fools scarcely by their own.

When the well is dry they know the worth of water.

Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy.

 A little neglect may breed great mischief.

Vessels large may venture more,

But little boats should keep near shore.

What is a butterfly? at best

He’s but a caterpillar drest;

The gaudy fop’s his picture just.

For age and want save while you may.

No morning sun lasts a whole day.

Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.

Get what you can, and what you get, hold, ’Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.

Experience keeps a dear school; but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that; for it is true we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct.

The key, often used, is always bright.

But dost thou love life? then do not waste time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.

Lost time is never found again.

There are no gains without pains.

 At the workingman’s house hunger looks in, but dares not enter.

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

The cat in gloves catches no mice.

By industry and patience the mouse ate into the cable.

Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.

A workingman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.

It is folly for the frog to swell in order to equal the ox.

It is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Troubles spring from idleness, and grievous toils from needless ease.

If you would be wealthy think of saving as well as of getting.

  1. From “Along the Way,” copyright 1879 by Mary Mapes Dodge, and published by Chas. Scribner’s Sons. Return
  2. From “Love Songs of Childhood.” Copyright, 1894, by Eugene Field. Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Chas. Scribner’s Sons. Return
  3. From “The Complete Poetical Writings of J. G. Holland,” copyright 1879-1881 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Return
  4. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  5. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  6. All rights reserved. Return
  7. From “Love Songs of Childhood.” Copyright, 1894, by Eugene Field. Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Chas. Scribner’s Sons. Return
  8. From “Love Songs of Childhood.” Copyright, 1894, by Eugene Field. Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Chas. Scribner’s & Sons. Return
  9. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  10. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  11. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  12. From “Afterwhiles,” copyrighted 1887, by Bowen-Merrill Co. Must not be reprinted without permission from the publishers. Return
  13. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  14. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  15. By permission from Edwin Markham’s “Joy of the Hills and Other Poems,” copyright by Doubleday & McClure, New York. Return
  16. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  17. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  18. In a recent critical article, in the London Athenæum is the sentence: “In point of power, workmanship and feeling, among all the poems written by Americans, we are inclined to give first place to the ‘Port of Ships’ (or ‘Columbus’) by Joaquin Miller.” Return
  19. bards, ancient poets. Return
  20. benediction, blessing. Return
  21. Boston. Return
  22. Charlestown. Return
  23. grenadiers, British soldiers. Return
  24. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  25. Copyrighted by Doubleday & McClure. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  26. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  27. From “Afterwhiles,” copyrighted 1887, by Bowen-Merrill Co. Must not be reprinted without permission from the publishers. Return
  28. mimic, copies (toys). Return
  29. encumbered, burdened. Return
  30. Aquarius, water-bearer. Return
  31. seer, prophet, wise man. Return
  32. From “The Complete Poetical Writings Of J. G. Holland,” copyright 1879-1881 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Return
  33. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  34. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return
  35. Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. Return



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