Robert Ellice Mack.
London: Griffith, Farran & Company St. Paul's Churchyard.
A BUNCH of Christmas Roses, dear, To greet my fairest child, I plucked them in my garden where The drifting snow lay piled.
I cannot bring thee violets dear, Or cowslips growing wild, Or daisy chain for thee to wear, For thee to wear, my child.
For all the grassy meadows near Are clad with snow, my child; Through all the days of winter drear No ray of sun has smiled.
I plucked this bunch of verses, dear, From out my garden wild, I plucked them in the winter drear For you, my fairest child, Your wet and wintry hours to cheer, They're Christmas Roses, child.
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"I DON'T believe that Santa Claus will come to you and me," Said little crippled Nell, "a'cause, we are so poor you see; And then I don't believe the 'chimbley's' wide enough for him, D'ye think that Santa Claus will come, when all the lights are dim." "Of course he comes to every one, dear, whether rich or poor; Now go to bed dear Nell," said Nan, "he'll come to-night I'm sure."
* * * * *
I don't know if by chimney or if by stair he crept, But sure enough he visited the room where Nelly slept. He brought a golden orange, and a monkey red and blue, That climbed a little wooden stick in a way I couldn't do. He hung them in Nell's stocking, and Nan was right, be sure, That Santa Claus loves every one however rich or poor.
THE PET RABBIT.
"I HAVE a little Bunny with a coat as soft as down, And nearly all of him is white except one bit of brown. The first thing in the morning when I get out of bed, I wonder if my Bunny's still safe in his little shed.
And than the next thing that I do I dare say you have guessed; It's to go at once and see him, when I am washed and dressed. And every day I see him I like him more and more, And each day he is bigger than he was the day before.
I feed him in the morning with bran and bits of bread, And every night I take some straw to make his little bed. What with carrots in the morning and turnip-tops for tea, If a bunny can be happy, I'm sure he ought to be.
Then when it's nearly bedtime I go down to his shed, And say 'Good night you Bunny' before I go to bed. I think there's only one thing that would make me happy quite, If I could take my Bunny dear with me to bed at night?"
IT'S Father's boat we're watching, Away out on the sea, She's named the Pretty Polly, One hundred and ninety three, Father called her the Polly, After Mother and me.
There isn't a smarter boat Than Father's on the sea, The Pretty Polly is our ship, Father's the skipper is he, And we are watching for Father, We're watching, Nancy and me.
Sometimes the wind blows wildly, But Nancy, and Mother, and me, We sing a bit of a hymn we know, The hymn for those at sea, Although when we think of Father, We're as near to choke as can be.
To-night the moon will be shining, A sight it will be to see, Father's ship all in silver, A'sail on a silver sea, And Father himself a coming home To Mother and Nancy and me.
"MY dears, whatever are you at? You ought to be at home; I told you not to wet your feet— I told you not to roam.
"Oh, dear! I'm sure you will be drowned! I never saw such tricks Come home at once, and go to bed, You naughty naughty chicks."
Now most of them were five days old, But one, whose age was six— "Please, ma'am," said he, "I think we're ducks; I don't believe we're chicks!"
A SAD TALE.
"Who's afraid of a cat?" said he; "I'm not afraid of a cat." He was a bird who sat on a rail, With five other birds, and this was his tale. "I'm not afraid of a cat."
"I might be afraid if I were a mouse, Or even if I were a rat: But as I'm a bird I give you my word I'm not afraid of a cat."
A cat and her kits came down on the scene, Five birds flew over the rail; Our hero was caught As quick as a thought, And didn't he alter his tale!
"You've made a mistake, Mister Cat," said he; "You must please let me go, Mister Cat. I'm not at all nice, I don't taste like mice: You'd much better have a young rat." Said the cat, "It's no use, You may be a goose, I'll not let you go for all that."
THE CREW OF THE NANCY LEE.
Polly's the mate of the Nancy Lee, And Tom is the skipper bold, They sail together In rough wind and weather, And they are the crew, all told.
In their taut and trim little boat they ride Away o'er the bright blue sea, With hands ever ready, And hearts ever steady, Whatever the dangers may be. And a smarter crew will never be found, Though you may search the whole world round.
HIE FOR CHRISTMAS!
Bring Frost, bring Snow, Come winter, Bring us holly, Bring joy at Christmas, Off with Melancholy!
Sing hie, sing hey, Sing ho, Sing holly, Sing hie for Christmas! Isn't winter jolly?
Sing Jack, Sing Jill, Sing Jo, Sing Polly, Sing hie for Christmas, Mistletoe and Holly.
"It's bedtime, bedtime, Cissy dear, It's time to put away, Your little Noah's ark dear Until another day, You know it isn't right at all To tire yourself with play.
And they too must be tired dear, The elephants want to go To bed,—if they're much later, They'll all be ill I know, And every well bred camel, Is in bed long ago.
And surely you can see dear, It really isn't right, The little dove's so tired dear, She scarce can stand upright. It does not do to keep them up So very late at night."
PUSS IN THE CORNER.
"You are a naughty pussy-cat, I think it right to mention that, To all who see your picture here, 'Twas you who broke my Bunny dear.
An hour ago, as you can tell, I left him here, alive and well; And now he's dead and, what is more, You've broke his leg I'm pretty sure.
For you my puss I'll never care, No never, never, never, there, And you are in disgrace you know, And in the corner you must go.
What crying? Then I must cry too And I can't bear to punish you; Perhaps my Bunny isn't dead, Perhaps you've only stunned his head.
And though I'm sure you broke his leg, It may be mended with a peg, And though he's very, very, funny, My Bunny's not a real Bunny, And I'll forgive and tell you that, You're my own precious pussy cat."
THE LITTLE HE AND SHE.
Once there lived, I'm not sure where, May be Arcadee, Sweet-Heart and his mistress fair, Little He and She;
And they danced a measure light, Danced in very glee. Hand in hand, a pretty sight, Little He and She.
When they ceased his bright eyes fell, Darling must we stay? Can't we dance so happily You and I for aye?
Then she clasped his hand again, Whispered sweet and low, "Dearest, always hand in hand You and I will go."
So they danced with merry feet, E'en in Arcadee, Happier pair you ne'er will meet, Little He and She.
Little Bo-peep has lost her Sheep, (It's a secret to you I'm confiding.) At the end of the shelf, Where she put them herself, Her Baa-lambs are safely hiding.
If you put a thing carefully, safely away, You're sure not to find it when wanted next day.
HOPES AND FEARS.
Like clouds that flit across the sky, So follow hopes and fears. What in these clouds see you and me Dear Sweetheart, smiles or tears?
This little airy fleecy wing, That flits across the blue, What message Sweetheart does it bring Of hope or fear to you?
Pray God it brings you sunny hours And haply some few tears To bless like showers your summer flowers In the long coming years.
THE STORY BOOK FAIRY.
Shall I sing you a song, not short and not long, Of a story-book fairy who hides all among The covers and leaves of your pictures and prints, And colors them all with such beautiful tints?
First he kisses the girls with the fairest of curls Then they blush like red roses and each head whirls. In each little eye drops a bit of blue sky, And colors each frock with a wonderful dye.
His breathing I ween is the wonderful sheen, That clothes trees and meadows with loveliest green, The buttercups bold, it need hardly be told, Are gilded by him with the finest of gold.
It is he I suppose who paints the red rose, And the rest of the flowers which every one knows, And the same red will do (or a similar hue), For Robin and little Red Riding Hood too.
He's awake it is said when you are abed, For the picture-book doggies and cats must be fed, To the picture-book children some stories he'll tell, And sometimes he'll read them their verses as well.
The moment you open your picture book he Is away out of sight as quick as can be, For fairy law says that a fairy must die The instant he's seen by one human eye.
The tiny crocus is so bold It peeps its head above the mould, Before the flowers awaken, To say that spring is coming, dear, With sunshine and that winter drear Will soon be overtaken.
There are days of summer sunshine, Of warm and sunny weather, When the hedge is full of hawthorn And hills are glad with heather.
There are days of silent sadness, Of frost, and snow, and rain, When we fear that summer's gladness Will never come again.
And now our songs are minor key, And now in merry tune; The windward side will change to lee, And January to June.
Day and night the sun is shining, Though he may hide his head; Each cloud has a silver lining, The flowers are asleep not dead.
Every day may have its playtime Made bright by cheerful lays; And life be one long Maytime, A year of golden days.
"Shake hands, shake hands my little girl," Said Mister Crab to Nell, "I'm very glad to meet you dear, I hope you are quite well. I think it's very hot to-day, I feel it in my shell."
"I can't shake hands with you," said Nell, "It isn't thought polite, Without an introduction; Besides, no doubt it's spite, It mayn't be true, but still they do, They do say that you—BITE."
I hear a Song I think 'tis a thrush's. He sings to the Wild Rose See how she blushes!
Only half an hour or so Before nurse calls them to bed, And the ruddy light of a cheerful fire Shines over each curly head.
No trouble have they, no sorrow— Their hearts are lighter than air, No fear that a dark to-morrow May bring with it want or care.
God send them each on their pathway Many a wayside flower; And grant, in the evening of lifetime, The joy of the evening hour.
* * * * *
Lithographed and printed by Ernest Nister of Nuremberg.
- Transcriber's Note: In the first line of the second verse of The Pet Rabbit "than" has been changed to "then". An apostrophe has been added to the title of "Father's Boat" and a hyphen added to "to-night". -