Dandelions, dandelions, shining through the dew, Let the Kings have Cloth of Gold, but let us have you!
CHILD SONGS OF CHEER
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.
Published, August, 1918
COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.
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_Dear Children, all the little words These printed pages through, They are a flock of little birds I bring to sing to you.
Sometimes they sing of foolish things, And other times they try To tell their gladness when their wings Soar up to seek the sky.
So, Sweethearts, do but kindly hark! If but a sparrow throng, Or if among them there's a lark, To you their songs belong!_
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Up, Little Ones!
The Lost Balloon
The Circus Procession
The Picture-Book Giant
Did You Ever?
A Rain Song
The Little Fir-Trees
The Baby's Ride
An Indian Raid
The First Sleigh-Ride
When Bettie and Anne Went Walking
The New Moon
The Rash Little Sparrow
The Birds' Bath
The Queen's Page
In the Water-World
Who Was It?
A Valentine to Catherine
The Rainy Day
The First Red-Bird
A Sure Sign
Another Sure Sign
The Robin's Bath
The Frosted Pane
The First Snow
With a May-Basket for Baby Agnes
The Little Nest
A Song of the Christmas-Tree
A Valentine to a Little Child
A Little Carol
The Three Candles
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Dandelions, dandelions, shining through the dew, Let the kings have Cloth of Gold, but let us have you! Frontispiece
See them dancing, dancing, While the silver moon Tips their swiftly glancing Little silver shoon!
THE BIRDS' BATH
When the sun shines warm and high Robins cluster round its brink
We can tell Him of our love If we set a light for Him
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Child Songs of Cheer
UP, LITTLE ONES!
A robin redbreast, fluting there Upon the apple-bough, Is telling all the world how fair Are apple-blossoms now; The honey-dew its sweetness spills From cuckoo-cups, and all The crocuses and daffodils Are drest for festival!
Such pretty things are to be seen, Such pleasant things to do, The April earth it is so green, The April sky so blue, The path from dawn to even-song So joyous is to-day, Up, little ones! and dance along The lilac-scented way!
Hey-a-day-a-day, my dear! Dandelion time! Come, and let us make for them a pretty little rhyme!
See the meadows twinkling now, beautiful and bright As the sky when through the blue shine the stars at night!
Once upon a time, folks say, mighty kings of old Met upon a splendid field called "The Cloth of Gold."
But, we wonder, could it be there was ever seen Brighter gold than glitters now in our meadows green?
Dandelions, dandelions, shining through the dew, Let the kings have Cloth of Gold, but let us have you!
Little ears as soft as silk, Little teeth as white as milk, Little noses cool and pink, Little eyes that blink and blink, Little bodies round and fat, Little hearts that pit-a-pat, Surely prettier puppies never Were before nor can be ever!
THE LOST BALLOON
O dear! my purple toy balloon Has flown away! and very soon It will be high up as the moon!
And don't you think the man up there Will wonder what it is, and stare? Perhaps hell say, "Well, I declare!"
Or, maybe if it chance there are Some little boys in yonder star, And if it floats away so far,
Perhaps they'll jump up very high And catch the cord as it goes by! At any rate I hope they'll try!
THE CIRCUS PROCESSION
Oh, hurry! hurry! here they come, The band in front with the big bass drum And blaring bugles,—there they are, On golden thrones in a golden car, Tooting and fluting, oh, how grand! Hi diddle, diddle! The fife and the fiddle! Hurrah, hurrah for the circus band!
And the red-plumed horses, oh, see them prance And daintily lift their hoofs and dance, While beautiful ladies with golden curls Are jingling their bridles of gold and pearls, And close behind Come every kind Of animal cages great and small, O how I wonder what's in them all!
Here's one that's open and glaring there Is the shaggiest snow-white polar bear! Woof! but I wonder what we'd do If his bars broke loose right now, don't you? And O dear me! Just look and see That pink-cheeked lady in skirts of gauze And the great big lion with folded paws! O me! O my! I'm glad that I Am not in that lion's cage, because Suppose he'd open his horrible jaws! —But look! the clown is coming! Of course Facing the tail of a spotted horse And shouting out things to make folks laugh, And grinning up at the tall giraffe That placidly paces along and looks Just like giraffes in the picture-books!
And there are the elephants, two and two, Lumbering on as they always do! The men who lead them look so small I wonder the elephants mind at all As they wag their queer Long trunks, and peer Through their beady eyes,—folks say they know No end of things, and I'm sure it's so! And you never must do a thing that's bad Or that possibly might make an elephant mad, For he'll never forgive you, it appears, And will punish you sure, if it takes him years! So do not stare But take good care To mind your manners, and always try To smile politely as they go by!
But the camels don't care if you laugh at them With their bumpy humps like a capital M, They lurch and sway And seem to say, As they wrinkle their noses, long and gray, "This swaggering stride is quite the plan, It's the way we walked in the caravan!"
And now more cages come rumbling by With glittering people throned on high; So many spangles and precious things, They surely must all be queens and kings! They look so proud Above the crowd, O my, how fine it must feel to ride On golden wagons that hide inside Strange animals caught in cannibal isles And brought in ships for a million miles! But hark! it's near The end, for hear That sudden screeching in piercing key! The steaming, screaming cal-li-o-pe! Just plain pianos sound terribly tame Beside this one with the wonderful name, And wouldn't you love some day to sit In a circus wagon and play on it?
Let us take our baskets early To the meadows green, While the wild-flowers still are pearly With the dewdrops' sheen.
Fill them full of blossoms rosy, Violets and gay Cowslips, every pretty posy Welcoming the May.
Then our lovely loads we'll carry Down the village street, On each door, with laughter merry, Hang a basket sweet.
Hey-a-day-day! It is spring now, Lazy folks, awake! See the pretty things we bring now For the May-day's sake!
THE PICTURE-BOOK GIANT
Once there was a fierce, defiant, Greedy, grumpy, grizzly giant In the pages of a picture-book, and he Sometimes screamed, in sudden rages, "I must jump out from these pages, For this life's a much too humdrum one for me! Fiddle-dee! Yes, this life's a quite too quiet one for me!"
So one rainy day he did it, Took the picture-book and hid it, Stamped his foot, and shouting loudly, "Now I'm free!" Boldly started out, forgetting That he could not stand a wetting! He was just a paper giant, don't you see? Dearie me! Just a gaudy, picture giant, don't you see?
DID YOU EVER?
Did you ever see a fairy in a rose-leaf coat and cap Swinging in a cobweb hammock as he napped his noonday nap?
Did you ever see one waken very thirsty and drink up All the honey-dew that glimmered in a golden buttercup?
Did you ever see one fly away on rainbow-twinkling wings? If you did not, why, how comes it that you never see such things?
See the soldiers, little ones! Hark the drummers' beat! See them with their flags and guns Marching down the street!
Tattered flags from out the wars, Let us follow these To the little stripes and stars Twinkling through the trees.
Watch them waving through the grass Where the heroes sleep! Thither gently let us pass On this day we keep.
Let us bring our blossoms, too, All our gardens grow; Lilacs honey-sweet with dew, And the lilies' snow.
Every posy of the May, Every bloomy stem, Every bud that breaks to-day Gather now for them.
Lay the lilies o'er them thus, Lovingly, for so Down they laid their lives for us, Long and long ago.
Heap above them bud and bough; Softly, ere we cease, God, we pray Thee, gently now Fold them in Thy peace!
Turn the chairs down in a row Each behind the other, so; Chu-chu! Chu-chu! there they are, Passenger and baggage-car, Chu-chu-chu! the Morris chair Is the engine puffing there, Chu-chu! Chu-chu! Ting-a-ling! Don't you hear its big bell ring? All aboard! Jump on! if you Want to take this train. Chu-chu!! Off we start now, rushing fast Through the fields and valleys, past Noisy cities, over bridges, Hills and plains and mountain ridges, Chu-chu! Chu-chu! Chu-chu-chu!! At such speed it must be true Since we started we have come Most a million miles from home! Jump off, some one! Quick! and go To the pantry, for, you know, We must have the cookie-jar For our Pullman dining-car!
Softly in the gloaming Flitting through the vale, Fairy folk are roaming Over hill and dale.
Pixies in the hollow, Elves upon the height, Let us follow, follow Through the paling light.
Follow, all unbidden, To the grassy glade Wrapped around and hidden In the forest shade.
Hark the elfin tinkle Of their little lutes! Mark the golden twinkle Of their fairy flutes!
See them dancing, dancing, While the silver moon Tips their swiftly glancing Little silver shoon!
Tripping, tripping lightly, Where their footprints fall, Look! the grass is brightly Growing green and tall!
Springing close, unbroken, In a fairy ring, For to-morrow's token Of their frolicking!
Flash and flicker and fly away, Trailing light as you flutter far, Are you a lamp for the fairies, say? Or a flake of fire from a falling star?
A RAIN SONG
Tinkle, tinkle, Lightly fall On the peach buds, pink and small; Tip the tiny grass, and twinkle On the clover, green and tall.
Tinkle, tinkle,— Faster now, Little rain-drops, smite and sprinkle Cherry-bloom and apple-bough! Pelt the elms, and show them how You can dash! And splash! splash! splash! While the thunder rolls and mutters, And the lightnings flash and flash! Then eddy into curls Of a million misty swirls, And thread the air with silver, and embroider it with pearls!
And patter, patter, patter To a quicker time, and clatter On the streaming window-pane; Rain, rain, On the leaves, And the eaves, And the turning weather-vane!
Rush in torrents from the tip Of the gable-peak, and drip In the garden-bed, and fill All the cuckoo-cups, and pour More and more In the tulip-bowls, and still Overspill In a crystal tide until Every yellow daffodil Is flooded to its golden rim, and brimming o'er and o'er!
Then as gently as the low Muffled whir of robin wings, Or a sweep of silver strings, Even so, Take your airy April flight Through the merry April light, And melt into a mist of rainy music as you go!
Grandfather says that sometimes, When stars are twinkling and A new moon shines, there come times When folks see fairy-land!
So when there's next a new moon, I mean to watch all night! Grandfather says a blue moon Is best for fairy light,
And in a peach-bloom, maybe, If I look I shall see A little fairy baby No bigger than a bee!
THE LITTLE FIR-TREES
Hey! little evergreens, Sturdy and strong! Summer and autumn time Hasten along; Harvest the sunbeams, then, Bind them in sheaves, Range them, and change them To tufts of green leaves. Delve in the mellow mold, Far, far below, And so, Little evergreens, grow! Grow, grow! Grow, little evergreens, grow!
Up, up so airily To the blue sky, Lift up your leafy tips Stately and high; Clasp tight your tiny cones, Tawny and brown; By and by, buffeting Rains will pelt down; By and by, bitterly Chill winds will blow; And so, Little evergreens, grow! Grow, grow! Grow, little evergreens, grow!
Gather all uttermost Beauty, because,— Hark, till I tell it now! How Santa Claus, Out of the northern land, Over the seas, Soon shall come seeking you, Evergreen trees! Seek you with reindeer soon, Over the snow; And so, Little evergreens, grow! Grow, grow! Grow, little evergreens, grow!
What if the maples flare Flaunting and red, You shall wear waxen white Tapers instead! What if now, otherwhere, Birds are beguiled, You shall yet nestle The little Christ-child! Ah! the strange splendor The fir-trees shall know! And so, Little evergreens, grow! Grow, grow! Grow, little evergreens, grow!
Yesterday I took my saw And some bits of wood, And I made a little house Nicely as I could.
I put on a mossy-green Little pointed roof, And I cut a tiny door That is pussy-proof.
For I hope some little wrens To our yard will come And will choose my little house For their little home.
I shall hang it in the boughs Of the apple-tree, And I'm sure as rent for it They will sing to me!
THE BABY'S RIDE
Chee! Chee! Chickadee! Sing-time and sun! Aye, aye, baby-bye, Springtime has begun!
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In the little willow cart, On a downy bed, Pretty parasol of silk Swinging overhead,
Let us go along the lane Where a baby sees Mighty tufts of grass, and weeds Tall as forest trees!
Bluebird on the apple-bough, Sing and sing and sing! Sing your very sweetest now For babyhood and spring!
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"Bah! Bah!" from the pasture, And "Caw! Caw!" from the crow, And bleating from the little calf That has not learned to low.
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Apple-buds, apple-buds breaking apart, The baby looks upward with love-laden gaze; Oh, shower some petals down here in his cart, One honey-sweet cluster of pretty pink sprays!
Apple-buds, apple-buds, scornful and too Vain of your loveliness, stay where you are! The cheeks of the baby are pinker than you, And finer and softer and sweeter by far!
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See the pretty little lambs, How they frisk and play! See their silky fleeces shine White as buds in May!
White as are the fleecy clouds Softly blowing by— What if they were little lambs Playing in the sky?
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Robin on the peach-bough, Swinging overhead, Sing a little song and say Why is your breast so red?
Why is your voice so sweet, and Your song so merry, say? And wherefore do you spread your wings And quickly fly away?
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Ho, ho! see the queer little prints there That cover the road, baby, look! At the web-footed tangle that hints where The ducks have gone down to the brook!
The Muscovy mammas that waddled Zigzag, you can trace in their tracks, And the dear little ducklings that toddled And tumbled sometimes on their backs!
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Buttercup, buttercup, buttercup gold, O give us a handful of riches to hold!
Ho, ho! laughs the baby, and grasps in his glee His wealth, but soon shows what a spend-thrift is he! —Nay, nay, he is king, though he never was crowned, And royally scatters his gold on the ground!
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Bough of the willow-tree Over the brook, Down darts a kingfisher, Look, baby, look!
Back on the willow-bough, Fishing is done; Happy and nappy now There in the sun.
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Happy and nappy the baby is, too, Softly his eyelids droop over the blue, Golden his curls on the white pillow lie, Sleep, baby, sleep, baby, hush-a-by-bye.
AN INDIAN RAID
Did you see some Indians passing, Just a short while back? Looks as if they must be massing For a fierce attack!
Buckskin fringes, turkey-feather Huge head-dresses and Bows and arrows, altogether Quite a frightful band!
From the lilac-bushes springing, See them rushing! Ugh! Awful war-whoops wildly ringing! There'll be scalping, too!
In their fearful frenzy leaping, It is very plain Soon around us they'll be heaping Mountains of the slain!
Soon their victims will be falling— But, above the noise, Hark! I hear somebody calling, "Come to dinner, boys!"
THE FIRST SLEIGH-RIDE
O happy time of fleecy rime And falling flakes, and O The glad surprise in baby eyes That never saw the snow!
Down shining ways the flying sleighs Go jingling by, and see! Beside the gate the horses wait And neigh for you and me!
Hey, baby! Ho, baby! here upon my knee, See the firelight flicker over you and me!
See the tiny people basking in the glow, Peering through the ruddy little coals, and so
How they dance and scamper! Merry fairy folk! Little sparks for spangles, little wings of smoke!
Come baby, come baby, nestle in my arms; Hear the purring flames now sing their sleepy charms.
All the firelight fairies, all the drowsy elves, In the downy ashes cover up themselves.
And I fold the little blanket over you; Bye baby, my baby, let us slumber too.
WHEN BETTIE AND ANNE WENT WALKING
When they took their dollies walking, They were both so busy talking, (They had not met for half an hour and so had much to say) That they heedlessly kept going Down the shady streets, not knowing, Till they wanted to come back again, they could not find the way!
In their fright they felt forlorner Every time they turned a corner, And they wailed to one another, "Oh, whatever shall we do? A big bear might come to bite us, Or a dreadful dog to fight us, Or the wicked gipsies get us! Oh, boo-hoo! Boo-hoo! Boo-hoo!"
But this story, though a sad one, Has an end that's not a bad one, For at last somebody found them as they bade the world good-by; They took their dollies home again, And vowed they'd never roam again, And their mothers hugged and kissed them, saying, "There, my dears, don't cry!"
To-day at dawn there twinkled through The pearly mist a flash of blue So dazzling bright I thought the sky Shone through the rifted clouds on high, Till, by and by, A note so honey-sweet I heard, I knew that bright flash was a bird!
Hark! I hear the organ-grinder Coming down the street, And the sudden clatter-patter Of the children's feet!
Come, oh, let us run to meet him! Did you ever hear Tunes so gay as he is playing, Or so sweet and clear?
See the brown-faced little monkey, Impudent and bold, With his little scarlet jacket Braided all in gold!
And his tiny cap and tassel Bobbing to and fro, Look, oh, look! he plucks it off now, Bowing very low.
And he's passing it politely— Can it be for pay? O dear me! I have no penny! Let us run away!
THE NEW MOON
Pretty new moon, little new moon, Now, as first I look at you, I must make a wish, for wise folks Say it surely will come true!
Little new moon, pretty new moon, I wish—but I must not tell! For if any one should hear it, Wise folks say it breaks the spell!
The April rain-drops tinkle In cuckoo-cups of gold, And warm south winds unwrinkle The buds the peach-boughs hold.
In countless fluted creases The little elm-leaves show, While white as carded fleeces The dogwood blossoms blow.
A rosy robe is wrapping The early red-bud trees; But still the haws are napping, Nor heed the honey-bees.
And still in lazy sleeping The apple-buds are bound, But tulip-tips are peeping From out the garden ground.
And yonder, gayly swinging Upon the turning vane, A robin redbreast singing Makes merry at the rain!
Christ the Lord is risen to-day! Angels rolled the stone away From the tomb wherein He lay!
Little children, come and sing, "Glory, glory to the King, Christ the Lord of everything!"
The Sandman! hark, I hear him! He's coming up the stair, And everybody near him Is nodding, I declare!
He's peeping in the door now, And first of all he spies, As he has done before now, The little children's eyes!
Then quickly does he throw it, His golden sleepy-sand, And all, before they know it, Are off for sleepy-land!
Ah, ha, ha, now! who comes here Wreathed in flowers of gold and queer Tiny tangled curls of green Gayly bobbing in between?
Pretty token of the spring! Hark! we hear the bluebirds sing When we thus see little girls Decked in dandelion curls.
Pop! Pop!—Poppetty-pop! Shake and rattle and rattle and shake The golden grains as they bounce and break To fluffy puffiness—Poppetty-pop! Bursting and banging the popper's top! Poppetty-pop! Pop! Pop!
The yellow kernels, oh, see them grow White as cotton or flakes of snow! Pop! Pop! O-ho, how they frolic and fly about And turn themselves suddenly inside out! Pop-pop-poppetty! Pop-pop-pop! The popper's full and we'll have to stop; Pile the bowl with the tempting treat, Children, come, it is time to eat!
THE RASH LITTLE SPARROW
Rash little sparrow Up in the nest; Feathers not long enough, Wee wings not strong enough! Poor little sparrow! Poor little breast!
When I see the new moon lightly Through cloud ripples slip, Then I'm sure that shining brightly It's a fairy ship!
What if in it we were sailing Far and far away, With a wake of silver trailing, Till the golden day?
Why, we'd fly back home together Safely from the sky, For the moon's a fairy feather When the sun is high!
Seven little nests of hay We have made, for Easter day Is to-morrow, and you know We must have them ready, so When the Rabbit comes she'll see We expected her, that we Children tried our very best Each to make the nicest nest.
One is in the lilac-bush, Near the ground—last year a thrush Built a nest there—let me see, Two are by the apple-tree, In the clover—that makes three— One beside the playhouse door, —Three plus one, that must be four— Two are in the tulip-bed— Was it seven that I said? Oh, yes! six I've counted, and One is in our pile of sand.
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Come and see! Oh, hurry, hurry! For the Rabbit, kind and furry, Has been here again and laid Eggs in every nest we made! Purple, orange, red, and blue, Pink and green and yellow, too, Like a bunch of finest flowers Ever seen, and all are ours! And oh, look! What do you think! Here our names are in white ink, All spelled nicely so we know Just where every egg should go! Is it not surprising, quite, How well Easter Rabbits write?
THE BIRDS' BATH
In our garden we have made Such a pretty little pool, Lined with pebbles neatly laid, Filled with water clean and cool.
When the sun shines warm and high Robins cluster round its brink, Never one comes flying by But will flutter down to drink.
Then they splash and splash and splash, Spattering little showers bright All around, till off they flash Singing sweetly their delight.
A tingling, misty marvel Blew hither in the night, And now the little peach-trees Are clasped in frozen light.
Upon the apple-branches An icy film is caught, With trailing threads of gossamer In pearly patterns wrought.
The autumn sun, in wonder, Is gayly peering through This silver-tissued network Across the frosty blue.
The weather-vane is fire-tipped, The honeysuckle shows A dazzling icy splendor, And crystal is the rose.
Around the eaves are fringes Of icicles that seem To mock the summer rainbows With many-colored gleam.
Along the walk, the pebbles Are each a precious stone; The grass is tasseled hoarfrost, The clover jewel-sown.
Such sparkle, sparkle, sparkle Fills all the frosty air, Oh, can it be that darkness Is ever anywhere!
A frantic clatter of horses' feet! A runaway's coming down the street! Flurry, scurry, Children, hurry! Drop your playthings! Quick! don't wait! Run and get within the gate! Push the baby in the door, Scramble in yourselves before —Whoa! Whoa! There they go! Pell-mell rushing, snorting, quaking, Wagon rumbling, harness breaking, Frightened so they cannot know Everybody's shrieking "Whoa!" O my, don't cry! Whiz, bang, they've galloped by! No one hurt, but horses dashed Round a post and wagon smashed! Dear me! Dear me! When a runaway we see, Children, too, must run, oh, fast! Run and hide as it goes past!
"Peep! Peep! Peep!" Poor little chick! Little cry so weak and small, Meadow grass so tall and thick, And the clover tufts so tall!
Little heart in sore distress, Longing for the mother wing; Through the weedy wilderness Searching for its sheltering!
THE QUEEN'S PAGE
Once I was a little page To a May-day queen, And I wore a little coat Made of Lincoln green.
Oh, the queen was beautiful! And she had a bright Crown of golden cuckoo-buds And violets blue and white.
On the step beside her throne I sat very still, Ready, as a page should be, To obey her will.
And before us little girls, Each with garlands gay, Round a May-pole danced and sang Almost all the day.
Grandfather says the tree-toad, That to our yard has come, Is just a little wee toad No bigger than his thumb!
And that his coat's so queer it Can turn from green to blue! Whatever color's near it, Why, that's its color, too!
And then Grandfather snickers And says, "Would you suppose He climbs with little stickers On all his little toes?
"And don't you wish your toes now Were fixed like his? For, see, Right up the elm he goes now And sticks tight to the tree!"
"But then," he says, "O dear me! If all the little boys Could screech as loud, I fear me There'd be a dreadful noise!"
IN THE WATER-WORLD
Down among the water-weeds, Darting through the grass, Round about the tasseled reeds, See the minnows pass! See the little turtles there, Hiding, half asleep, Tucked in tangled mosses where Tiny crayfish creep!
Watch the trailing grasses string Strands of purple shells That the lazy ripples ring, Sweet as silver bells; Watch the sunshine sift and drift Down the eddy whirls, Whence the laden whiteweeds lift Loads of blossom pearls;
While the limpid shadows slip Softly in between, And the pussy-willows dip Lightly in the green Of the mocking trees that grow Down the water-sky, Flecked with fleecy clouds that blow Where the reed-birds fly.
Oh, such marvels manifold Fill the summer stream, Such enticing things untold Through the ripples gleam, If you could a moment turn Into what you wish, Would it not be fun to be Yonder little fish?
WHO WAS IT?
Of course I've heard the moon's green cheese, But will somebody tell me, please, Who was it took so big a bite There's scarcely any left to-night?
I'll wear the striped skirt that trails, And you the flowered one, And we will take our parasols And walk out in the sun.
We'll leave our dolly-carts at home, For ladies, when they call, Must not have children with them, no, That would not do at all.
And I'll be "Mrs. Wilkinson," And you'll be "Mrs. Brown," And we will call and call and call On every one in town!
A VALENTINE TO CATHERINE
If you will be my True-Love, I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll ask a little bluebird To sing a song to you.
When first you see a violet And softly pricking through The garden-bed come crocuses And golden tulips, too,
Then watch! for he'll be coming, The little bird of blue; He'll sing, "I love you, Sweetheart, It's true, true, true!"
Look! Look down in the garden how The firefly lights are flitting now! A million tiny sparks I know Flash through the pinks and golden-glow, And I am very sure that all Have come to light a fairy ball, And if I could stay up I'd see How gay the fairy folks can be!
THE RAINY DAY
Let's sail all day, away, away To the splendid Spanish Main And the sultry seas of the Caribbees And skies that never rain!
As pirates bold with bags of gold And cutlasses and things, We'll pack doubloons and silver spoons In chests with iron rings.
And these we'll carry and secretly bury In cannibal isles afar; Like Captain Kidd, when they're safely hid We won't tell where they are.
Let's sail all day, away, away To the splendid Spanish Main And the sultry seas of the Caribbees —But at night sail home again!
THE FIRST RED-BIRD
I heard a song at daybreak, So honey-sweet and clear, The essence of all joyous things Seemed mingling in its cheer.
The frosty world about me I searched with eager gaze, But all was slumber-bound and wrapped In violet-tinted haze.
Then suddenly a sunbeam Shot slanting o'er the hill, And once again from out the sky I heard that honied trill.
And there upon a poplar, Poised at its topmost height, I saw a little singer clad In scarlet plumage bright.
The poplar branches quivered, By dawn winds lightly blown, And like a breeze-swept poppy-flower The red-bird rocked and shone.
The blue sky, and his feathers Flashed o'er by golden light, Oh, all my heart with rapture thrilled, It was so sweet a sight!
Turn, turn, when pelting rain Rushes down the window-pane; Turn, turn, and turn again When the sun shines, weather-vane!
Fie! Fie! to always be Emblem of uncertainty! Followed by the restless sea, Changeful moons may wax and wane, Yet the moons and sea-tides, too, Constant are compared to you! Fickle still you must remain Long as winds blow, weather-vane!
Stately swan, so proud and white Glistening in the morning light, Come and tell me is it true That a snow-white swan like you, Guided by bright golden chains In his beak for bridle reins, Once upon a time from far Fabled lands where fairies are Brought a magic boat wherein Rode the brave knight Lohengrin?
Stately swan, so proud and white Glistening in the morning light, If you only wore a gold Harness, like that swan of old, And if trailing in your wake Sailing on the silver lake Was a boat of magic and You could float to fairy-land, Then I'd jump in and begin Traveling like Lohengrin!
So, so, spade and hoe, Little pile of sand; See it turning into dough In the baby's hand!
Little pie with crimpy crust, Set it in the sun; Sugar it with powdered dust, And bake it till it's done.
A SURE SIGN
When you see upon the walk Circles newly made of chalk, And around them all the day Little boys in eager play Rolling marbles, agates fine, Banded, polished, red as wine, Marbles crystal as the dew, Each with rainbows twisted through, Marbles gay in painted clay, Flashing, twinkling in your way, When the walk has blossomed so, Surely every one must know None need wonder who has heard Robin, wren, or Peter-bird; Sure the sign as song or wing, It is spring!
ANOTHER SURE SIGN
When pink-cheeked on every hand Little girls are seen to stand Turning skipping ropes,—swish-swash!— While their laughing playmates run Jumping over,—oh, what fun!— Swish-swash! Swish-swash! Two and two now, see them dash! One, two, one, two, Round they scamper, safely through, Swish-swash! such merry skipping, One, two,—some one is tripping! Ah, she's out now and must pay Turning rope while others play! See the bobbing golden curls, Little skirts in rhythmic swirls Rising, falling, to the beat Of the little skipping feet! When these pretty sights appear, It is surely very clear April's here!
THE ROBIN'S BATH
A flash and flicker of dripping wings, A wet red breast that glows Bright as the newly opened bud The first red poppy shows, A sparkle of flying rainbow drops, A glint of golden sun On ruffled feathers, a snatch of song, And the robin's bath is done.
THE FROSTED PANE
When I wakened, very early, All my window-pane was pearly With a sparkling little picture traced in lines of shining white; Some magician with a gleaming Frosty brush, while I was dreaming, Must have come and by the starlight worked through all the quiet night.
He had painted frosty people, And a frosty church and steeple, And a frosty bridge and river tumbling over frosty rocks; Frosty mountain peaks that glimmered, And fine frosty ferns that shimmered, And a frosty little pasture full of frosty little flocks.
It was all touched in so lightly And it glittered, oh, so whitely, That I gazed and gazed in wonder at the lovely painted pane; Then the sun rose high and higher With his wand of golden fire Till, alas, my picture vanished and I looked for it in vain!
THE FIRST SNOW
The snow! the snow! Whoop! Hooray! Ho! Ho! Plunge in the deep drifts and toss it up so! Rollick and roll in the feathery fleece Plucked out of the breasts of the marvelous geese By the little old woman who lives in the sky; Have ever you seen her? No, neither have I!
Grandfather says of all things The silliest he's heard Is that some children call things They've never seen, "absurd!" And have their doubts of true things, And won't believe, because They say, "If you but knew things, There is no Santa Claus!"
Grandfather says he knows him, And sees him every year, And Santa often shows him The playthings he brings here; He says, too, Santa told him If any girls and boys Laugh at and won't uphold him, They'll not get any toys!
Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle! Happy winter-time! Baby's eyes a-twinkle, Hear the sleigh-bells chime!
Each one rings a merry Ting-a-ling-a-ling! For a sleigh-bell fairy Hides inside to sing.
See them quake and quiver, Up and downward tossed, Seems as if they shiver In the nipping frost!
Shiver into laughter, Jolly little elves! Till we laugh thereafter, Merry as themselves!
Swept lightly by the south wind The elm-leaves softly stirred, And in their pale green clusters There straightway bloomed a bird!
His glossy feathers glistened With dyes as richly red As any tulip flaming From out the garden bed.
But ah, unlike the tulips, In joyous strain, ere long, This red-bird flower unfolded A heart of golden song!
I will be a lion And you shall be a bear, And each of us will have a den Beneath a nursery chair; And you must growl and growl and growl, And I will roar and roar, And then—why, then—you'll growl again, And I will roar some more!
Heigho, sparrow! Reckless of the rain; When chill the cheerless wind grows, Chirping might and main! Is it naught, then, when the rose Blows again?
Beating, sleeting on your draggled coat! Surely, 'tis enough to drown Any happy note Nestling in that downy brown Little throat.
Ah me, sparrow! Had I but your power, Think you in the freezing sleet I would waste an hour? —I'd sing my sweetest to a sweet Orange flower!
Frosty winter chased away By the blessed sun, Down upon the garden walks Basking has begun.
Oh, the happy, happy heat! How the pulses stir, How it warms the hearts beneath Little coats of fur!
Oh, the happy pussy-cats! Days to doze and doze, And what pleasant dreams they dream Only pussy knows.
WITH A MAY-BASKET FOR BABY AGNES
Peach-buds to meet thee, Robins to greet thee, Hey, little Sweetheart! and May morning, hey! Sunbeam and sing time, Bluebird and wing time, This time is kiss time for sweethearts, I say!
Dearest, God bless thee, Fold and caress thee, Unto thy cradle may good fairies fly! Fortune be fair for thee, This is my prayer for thee, Lullaby, little one, hush-a-by-bye!
So for a love now Token thereof now, Sweet, see this tiny May-basket I bring; Posies to play with, Pinks to be gay with, Dear little baby of sunshine and spring!
THE LITTLE NEST
A little picture haunts me; It comes and comes again; It is a tiny bird's-nest, All ragged from the rain.
It clings within a birch-tree Upon the moorland's edge, Between the barren branches, Above the swaying sedge.
The sky is gray behind it, And when the north winds blow, The birch-tree bends and shivers, And tosses to and fro.
I wonder, does it haunt them, The birds that flew away? And will they come to seek it, Some sunny summer day?
I wonder, does some redbreast Upon an orange-bough, Still picture it as plainly As I can see it now?
Ah me! I would forget it, Yet still, with sense of pain, I see this little bird's-nest Within the driving rain.
When the Christ-child comes again Softly down the street to-night, Twinkling through the window pane Let our candles shed their light.
Though the clouds are dark above And the golden stars are dim, We can tell Him of our love If we set a light for Him.
Oh, the blessed Christ-child dear, In His robe of shining white, Let our candles give Him cheer As He passes by to-night!
A SONG OF THE CHRISTMAS-TREE
We can tell Him of our love If we set a light for Him.
Hurrah! Hurrah! for the Christmas-tree With its glory and glitter and mystery! Its twinkling candles that bud and bloom Like strange bright flowers in the darkened room, Its glistening gold and silver balls, Its candy canes and its blue-eyed dolls, The sugary fruits it bears,—for oh, Where else do such wonderful sweetmeats grow?— Its tasseled horns and its pop-corn strings And all its myriad marvelous things! O-ho! and ah-ha! And a hip hurrah! For our dear and beautiful tree, because It grew in the gardens of Santa Claus
And he brought it here in his reindeer sleigh From ever and ever so far away! So, children, come, let us make a ring And all clasp hands as we dance and sing To the blessed tree and the blessed night When the Christ-child walks in the candles' light!
Hurrah! Hurrah! for the Christmas-tree That Santa Claus brought to you and me! He cut it down with a silver axe— There's a tree in each of his million packs!— And carried it safely over the snow And down our chimney and here, you know; Its golden cobwebs that glint and gleam He took from a lovely Christmas dream And tangled them over it till, behold, It shines like the fabled Fleece of Gold!
Oh, Santa Claus, here's A thrice three cheers For garlands green and berries of red, And mistletoe clustering overhead, For the joy of our Christmas festival! But our beautiful tree, it is best of all! And circling still in a merry ring We'll still clasp hands as we dance and sing To the blessed tree and the blessed night When the Christ-child walks in the candles' light!
Hurrah! Hurrah! for the Christmas-tree! And look, O look to its tip and see The feathery slim fir leaves and where, In the topmost boughs, is the image fair Of the Christ-child nestling amid the green And the little brown cones that peep between!
And high above Him glittering bright A gold star sparkles with golden light, And we children think, as we gaze on them, Of the wonderful Star of Bethlehem, Of the lovely Star And the Kings who far, Oh, far, came seeking a Babe and brought Their love and worship to Him they sought, And made Him gifts, as the gifts we make With loving hearts for that Baby's sake. Oh, come, come all, and join the ring! Let all clasp hands as we dance and sing To the blessed tree and the blessed night When the Christ-child walks in the candles' light!
Our kittens have the softest fur, And the sweetest little purr, And such little velvet paws With such cunning little claws, And blue eyes, just like the sky! (Must they turn green, by and by?) Two are striped like tigers, three Are as black as black can be, And they run so fast and play With their tails, and are so gay, Is it not a pity that Each must grow into a cat?
Let us find a shady wady Pretty little brook; Let us have some candy handy, And a picture-book.
There all day we'll stay and play and Never mind the heat, While the water gleaming, streaming, Ripples round our feet.
And we'll gather curly pearly Mussel-shells while bright Frightened minnows darting, parting, Scurry out of sight.
What if, what if,—heigho! my oh!— All the "ifs" were true, And the little fishes wishes, Now, what would you do?
A VALENTINE TO A LITTLE CHILD
Dear heart, on this thrice-blessed day, An thou my sweetheart be, The rose of love shall bide alway Upon the red-rose tree.
And in the garden of my heart So ceaselessly shall shine, The little birds will know thou art Mine own true Valentine.
And I will bid them wing and sing To all good winds that blow, That to thy little feet they bring All blessings, even so.
And o'er thy cradle I will coax, By every lucky charm, The friendship of the fairy folks To fold thee from all harm.
So may they hover round thy head And gently thereupon, As doth the April sunshine, shed Most gracious benison.
And all fair gifts that Fortune hath, I'll pray she promise these, And that she loose about thy path All sweet influences.
Then here's a kiss! and there's a kiss! And kisses, one, two, three! I seal them in the folds of this, And speed them unto thee!
When we went to drive the cows home Down the lane to-day, There was such a funny bunny Jumped across the way!
All we saw as he ran past us, Faster than a quail, Was his snow-white fuzzy-wuzzy Little cotton tail!
A LITTLE CAROL
Welcome, little Brother! Lowly, holy One! Hail thee, Virgin Mother, More than any other Blessed in thy Son!
Child, since the poor manger Once thou didst not scorn, Rest thee, little Stranger, Folded from all danger, In our hearts new-born!
Nestle thus, we pray thee, In our love's caress; Fain we are to pay thee Worship, and obey thee, Babe, and Prince no less!
Honey-dew drippity-drops for a feast, Dreams of delight when the feasting has ceased, Poppy and rose, Drain them and doze; This is a song that the butterfly knows.
THE THREE CANDLES
When the Christmas-tide drew nigh, On a shelf three candles bright, Two were red and one was white, Waited for who came to buy.
Said the first one, "I shall be Chosen for a Christmas-tree!" Said the second, "I shall light Christ Jesus on His way to-night!" Then the third one sighed, "Ah me, I know not what my lot will be!"
When the dark fell, bright and gay The first candle burned away, Red as all the berries red On the holly overhead, While the children in their glee Danced around the Christmas-tree.
And the second, twinkling bright, Poured forth all its golden light Through a window decked with green Garlands and red ribbons' sheen, So the Christ-child when He came Might be guided by its flame.
But the third one in the gloom Of a bare and cheerless room Softly burned where long had lain A poor little child in pain, And the baby in its bed By the light was comforted.
When the Christ-child passed that night All three candles gave Him light, But the brightest was the spark By the baby in the dark.