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But the gnat
Wears a hat,
Do you believe that?

In the sun
Webs are spun;
What if he gets into one?

When it rains
He complains

On the window-panes. Tongue to talk have you and I; God has given the little fly

No such things,
So he sings
With his buzzing wings.

Flies can see
More than we.
So how bright their eyes must be!

Little fly,
Ope your eye;

Spiders are near by.
For a secret I can tell,-
Spiders never use flies well.

Then away!
Do not stay.
Little fly, good-day!

He can eat
Bread and meat;
There's his mouth between his feet.

On his back
Is a pack

Like a pedler's sack.
Does the baby understand?
Then the fly shall kiss her hand;

Put a crumb
On her thumb,
Maybe he will come.

276 Prominent among American writers who have

contributed to the happiness of children is Lucy Larcom (1826–1893). One of a numerous family, she worked as a child in the Lowell mills, later taught school in Illinois, was one of the editors of Our Young Folks, and wrote a most fascinating autobiography called A New England Girlhood. Several of her poems are still used in schools. The one that follows is, perhaps, the most popular of these. It is semi-dramatic, and the three voices of the poem can be easily discovered. Miss Larcom's finest poem is the one entitled “Hannah Binding Shoes.”

Catch him? No,
Let him go,
Never hurt an insect so;

But no doubt
He flies out

Just to gad about.
Now you see his wings of silk
Drabbled in the baby's milk;

Fie, oh fie,
Foolish fly!
How will he get dry?

THE BROWN THRUSH

LUCY LARCOM

All wet flies
Twist their thighs,
Thus they wipe their head and eyes;

Cats, you know,
Wash just so,

Then their whiskers grow.
Flies have hair too short to comb,
So they fly bareheaded home; .

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!”

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Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barnyard

gate.
We seem to go

Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood Now grandmother's cap I spy!

Hurrah for the fun!

Is the pudding done? Hurrah for pumpkin-pie!

278

WHO STOLE THE BIRD'S

NEST?

LYDIA MARIA CHILD

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 did n't take your nest away.
Not I," said the cow, "Moo-oo!
Such a thing I'd never do.”

277 Mrs. Child (1802–1880) was the editor of

the first monthly for children in the United States, the Juvenile Miscellany. She wrote and compiled several works for children, and her optimistic outlook has led someone to speak of her as the "Apostle of Cheer." She wrote a novel, Hobomak (1821), which is still spoken of with respect, and she was a prominent figure in the anti-slavery agitation. The two poems following have held their own with children for reasons easily recognized.

THANKSGIVING DAY

LYDIA MARIA CHILD

Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood

Oh, how the wind does blow!

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279

I saw them; on the ground they lay, “Susan Coolidge” was the pseudonym used

Golden and red, a huddled swarm, by Sarah C. Woolsey (1845-1905). She Waiting till one from far away, wrote numerous tales and verses for young White bedclothes heaped up on her people, and her series of Katy Books was

arm, widely known and enjoyed. The poem Should come to wrap them safe and that follows is a very familiar one, and its

warm. treatment of its theme may be compared with that in Henry Ward Beecher's little The great bare Tree looked down and prose apologue (No. 249).

smiled.

“Good-night, dear little leaves," he HOW THE LEAVES CAME

said; DOWN

And from below each sleepy child "SUSAN COOLIDGE"

Replied, "Good-night,"

and mur

mured, I'll tell you how the leaves came down:

“It is so nice to go to bed.” The great Tree to his children said, "You're getting sleepy, Yellow and The poems for young readers produced by Brown,

the sisters Alice Cary (1820-1871) and

Phoebe Cary (1824-1871) constitute the Yes, very sleepy, little Red;

most successful body of juvenile verse yet It is quite time to go to bed."

produced in this country. One of Alice “Ah!” begged each silly, pouting leaf,

Cary's poems, “An Order for a Picture,” "Let us a little longer stay;

is of a very distinguished quality, but as

its appeal is largely to mature readers, two Dear Father Tree, behold our grief!

of Phoebe Cary's poems of simpler quality 'Tis such a very pleasant day,

are chosen for use here. The first of these We do not want to go away.”

marks, by means of three illustrations

within the range of children's observation, So, just for one more merry day

a very common defect of child nature and To the great Tree the leaflets clung,

is, by the force of these illustrations, a Frolicked and danced and had their way

good lesson in practical ethics. The appeal Upon the autumn breezes swung,

of the second is to that inherent ideal of Whispering all their sports among, disinterested heroism which is so strong in

children. The setting of the story amidst "Perhaps the great Tree will forget

the ever-present threat of the sea affords a And let us stay, until the spring,

good chance for the teacher to do effective If we all beg and coax and fret.”

work in emphasizing the geographical backBut the great Tree did no such thing; ground. This should be done, however, He smiled to hear their whispering. not as geography merely, but with the

attention on the human elements involved. "Come, children all, to bed," he cried;

280 And ere the leaves could urge their

THEY DID N'T THINK prayer, He shook his head, and far and wide,

PHOEBE CARY Fluttering and rustling everywhere, Once a trap was baited Down sped the leaflets through the air. With a piece of cheese;

Down he flew, and Kitty seized him,

Before he'd time to blink. “Oh,” he cried, “I'm sorry,

But I did n't think."

Now my little children,

You who read this song, Don't you see what trouble

Comes of thinking wrong? And can't you take a warning

From their dreadful fate Who began their thinking

When it was too late? Don't think there's always safety

Where no danger shows, Don't suppose you know more

Than anybody knows;
But when you're warned of ruin,

Pause upon the brink,
And don't go under headlong,

'Cause you did n't think.

281

Which tickled so a little mouse

It almost made him sneeze;
An old rat said, “There's danger,

Be careful where you go!” "Nonsense!" said the other,

“I don't think you know!" So he walked in boldly

Nobody in sight; First he took a nibble,

Then he took a bite; Close the trap together

Snapped as quick as wink, Catching mousey fast there,

'Cause he did n't think.

Once a little turkey,

Fond of her own way,
Would n't ask the old ones

Where to go or stay;
She said, “I'm not a baby,

Here I am half-grown;
Surely, I am big enough

To run about alone!”
Off she went, but somebody

Hiding saw her pass;
Soon like snow her feathers

Covered all the grass. So she made a supper

For a sly young mink, 'Cause she was so headstrong

That she would n't think.

THE LEAK IN THE DIKE

A Story of Holland

PHOEBE CARY
The good dame looked from her cottage

At the close of the pleasant day,
And cheerily called to her little son

Outside the door at play:
Come, Peter, come! I want you to go,

While there is light to see,
To the hut of the blind old man who lives

Across the dike, for me;
And take these cakes I made for him-

They are hot and smoking yet;
You have time enough to go and come

Before the sun is set."

Once there was a robin

Lived outside the door, Who wanted to go inside

And hop upon the floor. “Ho, no," said the mother,

"You must stay with me; Little birds are safest

Sitting in a tree.” "I don't care," said Robin,

And gave his tail a fling, “I don't think the old folks

Know quite everything.”

Then the good-wife turned to her labor,

Humming a simple song,
And thought of her husband, working

hard
At the sluices all day long;

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