A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

A
Child’s
Garden
of Verses

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Illustrated by

Jessie Willcox Smith

CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS, New York

Copyright, 1905, By CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved. No part of this book
may be reproduced in any form without the
permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons
DD-3.64[H]
Reset March 1955

[Pg vii]

TO ALISON CUNNINGHAM

FROM HER BOY

For the long nights you lay awakeAnd watched for my unworthy sake:For your most comfortable handThat led me through the uneven land:For all the story-books you read:For all the pains you comforted:
For all you pitied, all you bore,In sad and happy days of yore:—My second Mother, my first Wife,The angel of my infant life—From the sick child, now well and old,Take, nurse, the little book you hold![Pg viii]
And grant it, Heaven, that all who readMay find as dear a nurse at need,And every child who lists my rhyme,In the bright, fireside, nursery clime,May hear it in as kind a voiceAs made my childish days rejoice!

R. L. S.

[Pg ix]

THE ORIGINAL

TITLE PAGE

FOR

A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES

BY

JESSIE WILLCOX SMITH

[Pg x]

A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES
ROBERT LOVIS STEVENSON
WITH ILLVSTRATIONS BY
JESSIE WILLCOX SMITH

CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
NEW YORK
MCMV

[Pg xi]

CONTENTS

TO ALISON CUNNINGHAM vii
BED IN SUMMER 3
A THOUGHT 4
AT THE SEA-SIDE 5
YOUNG NIGHT-THOUGHT 6
WHOLE DUTY OF CHILDREN 7
RAIN 7
PIRATE STORY 8
FOREIGN LANDS 9
WINDY NIGHTS 10
TRAVEL 11
SINGING 13
LOOKING FORWARD 14
A GOOD PLAY 15
WHERE GO THE BOATS? 16
AUNTIE’S SKIRTS 17
THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE 18
THE LAND OF NOD 19
MY SHADOW 20
SYSTEM 22
A GOOD BOY 23
ESCAPE AT BEDTIME 24
MARCHING SONG 25
[Pg xii]
THE COW 26
HAPPY THOUGHT 27
THE WIND 28
KEEPSAKE MILL 29
GOOD AND BAD CHILDREN 31
FOREIGN CHILDREN 33
THE SUN TRAVELS 35
THE LAMPLIGHTER 36
MY BED IS A BOAT 37
THE MOON 39
THE SWING 40
TIME TO RISE 41
LOOKING-GLASS RIVER 42
FAIRY BREAD 44
FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE 45
WINTER-TIME 46
THE HAYLOFT 47
FAREWELL TO THE FARM 49
NORTH-WEST PASSAGE 50
1. Good-Night 50
2. Shadow March 51
3. In Port 52
THE CHILD ALONE
THE UNSEEN PLAYMATE 57
MY SHIP AND I 59
MY KINGDOM 61
[Pg xiii]
PICTURE-BOOKS IN WINTER 63
MY TREASURES 65
BLOCK CITY 67
THE LAND OF STORY-BOOKS 69
ARMIES IN THE FIRE 71
THE LITTLE LAND 73
GARDEN DAYS
NIGHT AND DAY 79
NEST EGGS 82
THE FLOWERS 84
SUMMER SUN 86
THE DUMB SOLDIER 87
AUTUMN FIRES 89
THE GARDENER 90
HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS 92
ENVOYS
TO WILLIE AND HENRIETTA 97
TO MY MOTHER 98
TO AUNTIE 99
TO MINNIE 100
TO MY NAME-CHILD 103
TO ANY READER 105
[Pg xv]

ILLUSTRATIONS
FROM DRAWINGS IN COLOR
BY JESSIE WILLCOX SMITH

FACING PAGE
Bed in Summer 4
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
Foreign Lands 10
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad on foreign lands.
The Land of Counterpane 18
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
My Shadow 20
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!
Foreign Children 34
Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanee,
Oh! don’t you wish that you were me?
Looking-glass River 42
We can see our coloured faces
Floating on the shaken pool
[Pg xvi]
The Hayloft 48
Oh, what a joy to clamber there,
Oh, what a place for play,
With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
The happy hills of hay!
North-west Passage 50
And face with an undaunted tread
The long black passage up to bed.
Picture-books in Winter 64
Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.
The Little Land 74
I have just to shut my eyes
To go sailing through the skies—
To go sailing far away
To the pleasant Land of Play;
The Flowers 84
All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,
Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.
To Auntie 100
What did the other children do?
And what were childhood, wanting you?
[Pg 1]

A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES

BED IN SUMMER

In winter I get up at nightAnd 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 seeThe birds still hopping on the tree,Or hear the grown-up people’s feetStill 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?

[Pg 4]

 Mary
 Hans

A THOUGHT

It is very nice to thinkThe world is full of meat and drink,With little children saying graceIn every Christian kind of place.
 Biddy
 Fifine

[Pg 5]

 BED IN SUMMER

[Pg 6]

AT THE SEA-SIDE

When I was down beside the seaA wooden spade they gave to meTo dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup.In every hole the sea came up,Till it could come no more.

[Pg 7]

YOUNG NIGHT-THOUGHT

All night long and every night,When my mama puts out the light,I see the people marching by,As plain as day, before my eye.
Armies and emperors and kings,All carrying different kinds of things,And marching in so grand a way,You never saw the like by day.
So fine a show was never seenAt the great circus on the green;For every kind of beast and manIs marching in that caravan.
At first they move a little slow,But still the faster on they go,And still beside them close I keepUntil we reach the town of Sleep.

[Pg 8]

WHOLE DUTY OF CHILDREN

A child should always say what’s trueAnd speak when he is spoken to,And behave mannerly at table;At least as far as he is able.

RAIN

The rain is raining all around,It falls on field and tree,It rains on the umbrellas here,And on the ships at sea.

[Pg 9]

PIRATE STORY

Three of us afloat in the meadow by the swing,Three of us aboard in the basket on the lea.Winds are in the air, they are blowing in the spring,And waves are on the meadow like the waves there are at sea.
Where shall we adventure, to-day that we’re afloat,Wary of the weather and steering by a star?Shall it be to Africa, a-steering of the boat,To Providence, or Babylon, or off to Malabar?
Hi! but here’s a squadron a-rowing on the sea—Cattle on the meadow a-charging with a roar!Quick, and we’ll escape them, they’re as mad as they can be,The wicket is the harbour and the garden is the shore.

[Pg 10]

FOREIGN LANDS

Up into the cherry treeWho should climb but little me?I held the trunk with both my handsAnd looked abroad on foreign lands.
I saw the next door garden lie,Adorned with flowers, before my eye,And many pleasant places moreThat I had never seen before.
I saw the dimpling river passAnd be the sky’s blue looking-glass;The dusty roads go up and downWith people tramping in to town.
If I could find a higher treeFarther and farther I should see,To where the grown-up river slipsInto the sea among the ships,
To where the roads on either handLead onward into fairy land,Where all the children dine at five,And all the playthings come alive.

WINDY NIGHTS

Whenever the moon and stars are set,Whenever the wind is high,All night long in the dark and wet,A man goes riding by.Late in the night when the fires are out,Why does he gallop and gallop about?
Whenever the trees are crying aloud,And ships are tossed at sea,By, on the highway, low and loud,By at the gallop goes he.By at the gallop he goes, and thenBy he comes back at the gallop again.
 FOREIGN LANDS

[Pg 11]

TRAVEL

I should like to rise and goWhere the golden apples grow;—Where below another skyParrot islands anchored lie,And, watched by cockatoos and goats,Lonely Crusoes building boats;—Where in sunshine reaching outEastern cities, miles about,Are with mosque and minaretAmong sandy gardens set,And the rich goods from near and farHang for sale in the bazaar;—Where the Great Wall round China goes,And on one side the desert blows,And with bell and voice and drum,Cities on the other hum;—Where are forests, hot as fire,Wide as England, tall as a spire,Full of apes and cocoa-nutsAnd the negro hunters’ huts;—Where the knotty crocodileLies and blinks in the Nile,And the red flamingo fliesHunting fish before his eyes;—Where in jungles, near and far,Man-devouring tigers are,Lying close and giving earLest the hunt be drawing near,

[Pg 13]

Or a comer-by be seenSwinging in a palanquin;—Where among the desert sandsSome deserted city stands,All its children, sweep and prince,Grown to manhood ages since,Not a foot in street or house,Not a stir of child or mouse,And when kindly falls the night,In all the town no spark of light.There I’ll come when I’m a manWith a camel caravan;Light a fire in the gloomOf some dusty dining-room;See the pictures on the walls,Heroes, fights, and festivals;And in a corner find the toysOf the old Egyptian boys.

[Pg 14]

SINGING

Of speckled eggs the birdie singsAnd nests among the trees;The sailor sings of ropes and thingsIn ships upon the seas.
The children sing in far Japan,The children sing in Spain;The organ with the organ manIs singing in the rain.

[Pg 15]

LOOKING FORWARD

When I am grown to man’s estateI shall be very proud and great,And tell the other girls and boysNot to meddle with my toys.

[Pg 16]

A GOOD PLAY

We built a ship upon the stairsAll made of the back-bedroom chairs,And filled it full of sofa pillowsTo go a-sailing on the billows.
We took a saw and several nails,And water in the nursery pails;And Tom said, “Let us also takeAn apple and a slice of cake;”—Which was enough for Tom and meTo go a-sailing on, till tea.
We sailed along for days and daysAnd had the very best of plays;But Tom fell out and hurt his knee,So there was no one left but me.

[Pg 17]

WHERE GO THE BOATS?

Dark brown is the river,Golden is the sand.It flows along for ever,With trees on either hand.
Green leaves a-floating,Castles of the foam,Boats of mine a-boating—Where will all come home?
On goes the riverAnd out past the mill,Away down the valley,Away down the hill.
Away down the river,A hundred miles or more,Other little childrenShall bring my boats ashore.

[Pg 18]

AUNTIE’S SKIRTS

Whenever Auntie moves around,Her dresses make a curious sound,They trail behind her up the floor,And trundle after through the door.

THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE

When I was sick and lay a-bed,I had two pillows at my head,And all my toys beside me layTo keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or soI watched my leaden soldiers go,With different uniforms and drills,Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleetsAll up and down among the sheets;Or brought my trees and houses out,And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and stillThat sits upon the pillow-hill,And sees before him, dale and plain,The pleasant land of counterpane.
 THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE

[Pg 19]

THE LAND OF NOD

From breakfast on through all the dayAt home among my friends I stay,But every night I go abroadAfar into the land of Nod.
All by myself I have to go,With none to tell me what to do—All alone beside the streamsAnd up the mountain-sides of dreams.
The strangest things are there for me,Both things to eat and things to see,And many frightening sights abroadTill morning in the land of Nod.
Try as I like to find the way,I never can get back by day,Nor can remember plain and clearThe curious music that I hear.

[Pg 20]

MY SHADOW

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!
 MY SHADOW

[Pg 21]

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.

[Pg 23]

SYSTEM

Every night my prayers I say,And get my dinner every day;And every day that I’ve been good,I get an orange after food
The child that is not clean and neat,With lots of toys and things to eat,He is a naughty child, I’m sure—Or else his dear papa is poor.

[Pg 24]

A GOOD BOY

I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.
And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,And I am very happy, for I know that I’ve been good.
My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fairAnd I must be off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.
I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.
But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.

[Pg 25]

ESCAPE AT BEDTIME

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone outThrough the blinds and the windows and bars;And high overhead and all moving about,There were thousands of millions of stars.There ne’er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,Nor of people in church or the Park,As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,And that glittered and winked in the dark.
The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,And the star of the sailor, and Mars,These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wallWould be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,And they soon had me packed into bed;But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,And the stars going round in my head.

[Pg 26]

MARCHING SONG

Bring the comb and play upon it!Marching, here we come!Willie cocks his highland bonnet,Johnnie beats the drum.
Mary Jane commands the party,Peter leads the rear;Feet in time, alert and hearty,Each a Grenadier!
All in the most martial mannerMarching double-quick;While the napkin, like a banner,Waves upon the stick!
Here’s enough of fame and pillage,Great commander Jane!Now that we’ve been round the village,Let’s go home again.

[Pg 27]

THE COW

The friendly cow all red and white,I love with all my heart:She gives me cream with all her might,To eat with apple-tart.
She wanders lowing here and there,And yet she cannot stray,All in the pleasant open air,The pleasant light of day;
And blown by all the winds that passAnd wet with all the showers,She walks among the meadow grassAnd eats the meadow flowers.

[Pg 28]

HAPPY THOUGHT

The world is so full of a number of things,I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

[Pg 29]

THE WIND

I saw you toss the kites on highAnd 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!

[Pg 30]

KEEPSAKE MILL

Over the borders, a sin without pardon,Breaking the branches and crawling below,Out through the breach in the wall of the garden,Down by the banks of the river, we go.
Here is the mill with the humming of thunder,Here is the weir with the wonder of foam,Here is the sluice with the race running under—Marvellous places, though handy to home!
Sounds of the village grow stiller and stiller,Stiller the note of the birds on the hill;Dusty and dim are the eyes of the miller,Deaf are his ears with the moil of the mill.
Years may go by, and the wheel in the riverWheel as it wheels for us, children, to-day,Wheel and keep roaring and foaming for everLong after all of the boys are away.
Home from the Indies and home from the ocean,Heroes and soldiers we all shall come home;Still we shall find the old mill wheel in motion,Turning and churning that river to foam.[Pg 31]
You with the bean that I gave when we quarrelled,I with your marble of Saturday last,Honoured and old and all gaily apparelled,Here we shall meet and remember the past.

[Pg 32]

GOOD AND BAD CHILDREN

Children, you are very little,And your bones are very brittle;If you would grow great and stately,You must try to walk sedately.
You must still be bright and quiet,And content with simple diet;And remain, through all bewild’ring,Innocent and honest children.
Happy hearts and happy faces,Happy play in grassy places—That was how, in ancient ages,Children grew to kings and sages.[Pg 33]
But the unkind and the unruly,And the sort who eat unduly,They must never hope for glory—Theirs is quite a different story!
Cruel children, crying babies,All grew up as geese and gabies,Hated, as their age increases,By their nephews and their nieces.

[Pg 34]

FOREIGN CHILDREN

Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,Little frosty Eskimo,Little Turk or Japanee,Oh! don’t you wish that you were me?
You have seen the scarlet treesAnd the lions over seas;You have eaten ostrich eggs,And turned the turtles off their legs.
Such a life is very fine,But it’s not so nice as mine:You must often, as you trod,Have wearied not to be abroad.
You have curious things to eat,I am fed on proper meat;You must dwell beyond the foam,But I am safe and live at home.Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,Little frosty Eskimo,Little Turk or Japanee,Oh! don’t you wish that you were me?
 FOREIGN CHILDREN

[Pg 35]

THE SUN TRAVELS

The sun is not a-bed, when IAt night upon my pillow lie;Still round the earth his way he takes,And morning after morning makes.
While here at home, in shining day,We round the sunny garden play,Each little Indian sleepy-headIs being kissed and put to bed.
And when at eve I rise from tea,Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea;And all the children in the WestAre getting up and being dressed.

[Pg 37]

THE LAMPLIGHTER

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.
Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,O Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you!
For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight!

[Pg 38]

MY BED IS A BOAT

My bed is like a little boat;Nurse helps me in when I embark;She girds me in my sailor’s coatAnd starts me in the dark.
At night, I go on board and sayGood-night to all my friends on shore;I shut my eyes and sail awayAnd see and hear no more.
And sometimes things to bed I take,As prudent sailors have to do;Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake,Perhaps a toy or two.[Pg 39]
All night across the dark we steer;But when the day returns at last,Safe in my room, beside the pier,I find my vessel fast.

[Pg 40]

THE MOON

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;She shines on thieves on the garden wall,On streets and field and harbour quays,And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.
The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,The howling dog by the door of the house,The bat that lies in bed at noon,All love to be out by the light of the moon.
But all of the things that belong to the dayCuddle to sleep to be out of her way;And flowers and children close their eyesTill up in the morning the sun shall arise.

[Pg 41]

THE SWING

How do you like to go up in a swing,Up in the air so blue?Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thingEver a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,Till I can see so wide,Rivers and trees and cattle and allOver the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,Down on the roof so brown—Up in the air I go flying again,Up in the air and down!

[Pg 42]

TIME TO RISE

A birdie with a yellow billHopped upon the window sill,Cocked his shining eye and said:“Ain’t you ‘shamed, you sleepy-head!”

[Pg 43]

LOOKING-GLASS RIVER

Smooth it glides upon its travel,Here a wimple, there a gleam—O the clean gravel!O the smooth stream!
Sailing blossoms, silver fishes,Paven pools as clear as air—How a child wishesTo live down there!
We can see our coloured facesFloating on the shaken poolDown in cool places,Dim and very cool;
Till a wind or water wrinkle,Dipping marten, plumping trout,Spreads in a twinkleAnd blots all out.[Pg 44]
See the rings pursue each other;All below grows black as night,Just as if motherHad blown out the light!
Patience, children, just a minute—See the spreading circles die;The stream and all in itWill clear by-and-by.

[Pg 45]

FAIRY BREAD

Come up here, O dusty feet!Here is fairy bread to eat.Here in my retiring room,Children, you may dineOn the golden smell of broomAnd the shade of pine;And when you have eaten well,Fairy stories hear and tell.

[Pg 46]

FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;And charging along like troops in a battleAll through the meadows the horses and cattle:All of the sights of the hill and the plainFly as thick as driving rain;And ever again, in the wink of an eye,Painted stations whistle by.Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,All by himself and gathering brambles;Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;And there is the green for stringing the daisiesHere is a cart run away in the roadLumping along with man and load;And here is a mill, and there is a river:Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

[Pg 47]

WINTER-TIME

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;Blinks but an hour or two; and then,A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies,At morning in the dark I rise;And shivering in my nakedness,By the cold candle, bathe and dress.
Close by the jolly fire I sitTo warm my frozen bones a bit;Or with a reindeer-sled, exploreThe colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrapMe in my comforter and cap;The cold wind burns my face, and blowsIts frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod;Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;And tree and house, and hill and lake,Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

[Pg 48]

THE HAYLOFT

Through all the pleasant meadow-sideThe grass grew shoulder-high,Till the shining scythes went far and wideAnd cut it down to dry.
Those green and sweetly smelling cropsThey led in waggons home;And they piled them here in mountain topsFor mountaineers to roam.
Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail,Mount Eagle and Mount High;—The mice that in these mountains dwell,No happier are than I!
Oh, what a joy to clamber there,Oh, what a place for play,With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,The happy hills of hay!
 THE HAYLOFT

[Pg 49]

FAREWELL TO THE FARM

The coach is at the door at last;The eager children, mounting fastAnd kissing hands, in chorus sing:Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!
To house and garden, field and lawn,The meadow-gates we swang upon,To pump and stable, tree and swing,Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!
And fare you well for evermore,O ladder at the hayloft door,O hayloft where the cobwebs cling,Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!
Crack goes the whip, and off we go;The trees and houses smaller grow;Last, round the woody turn we swing:Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

[Pg 50]

NORTH-EST PASSAGE

1. Good-night

When the bright lamp is carried in,The sunless hours again begin;O’er all without, in field and lane,The haunted night returns again.
Now we behold the embers fleeAbout the firelit hearth; and seeOur faces painted as we pass,Like pictures, on the window-glass.
Must we to bed indeed? Well then,Let us arise and go like men,And face with an undaunted treadThe long black passage up to bed.
 NORTH-WEST PASSAGE

[Pg 51]

Farewell, O brother, sister, sire!O pleasant party round the fire!The songs you sing, the tales you tell,Till far to-morrow, fare ye well!

2. Shadow March

All round the house is the jet-black night;It stares through the window-pane;It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light,And it moves with the moving flame.
Now my little heart goes a-beating like a drum,With the breath of the Bogie in my hair;And all round the candle the crooked shadows come,And go marching along up the stair.[Pg 53]
The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp,The shadow of the child that goes to bed—All the wicked shadows coming, tramp, tramp, tramp,With the black night overhead.

3. In Port

Last, to the chamber where I lieMy fearful footsteps patter nigh,And come from out the cold and gloomInto my warm and cheerful room.[Pg 54]
There, safe arrived, we turn aboutTo keep the coming shadows out,And close the happy door at lastOn all the perils that we past.
Then, when mamma goes by to bed,She shall come in with tip-toe tread,And see me lying warm and fastAnd in the Land of Nod at last.

[Pg 55]

THE CHILD ALONE

[Pg 57]

THE UNSEEN PLAYMATE

When children are playing alone on the green,In comes the playmate that never was seen.When children are happy and lonely and good,The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.
Nobody heard him and nobody saw,His is a picture you never could draw,But he’s sure to be present, abroad or at home,When children are happy and playing alone.
He lies in the laurels, he runs on the grass,He sings when you tinkle the musical glass;Whene’er you are happy and cannot tell why,The Friend of the Children is sure to be by![Pg 59]
He loves to be little, he hates to be big,‘Tis he that inhabits the caves that you dig;‘Tis he when you play with your soldiers of tinThat sides with the Frenchmen and never can win.
‘Tis he, when at night you go off to your bed,Bids you go to your sleep and not trouble your head;For wherever they’re lying, in cupboard or shelf,‘Tis he will take care of your playthings himself!

[Pg 60]

MY SHIP AND I

O it’s I that am the captain of a tidy little ship,Of a ship that goes a-sailing on the pond;And my ship it keeps a-turning all around and all about;But when I’m a little older, I shall find the secret outHow to send my vessel sailing on beyond.
For I mean to grow as little as the dolly at the helm,And the dolly I intend to come alive;And with him beside to help me, it’s a-sailing I shall go,It’s a-sailing on the water, when the jolly breezes blowAnd the vessel goes a divie-divie-dive.[Pg 61]
O it’s then you’ll see me sailing through the rushes and the reeds,And you’ll hear the water singing at the prow;For beside the dolly sailor, I’m to voyage and explore,To land upon the island where no dolly was before,And to fire the penny cannon in the bow.

[Pg 62]

MY KINGDOM

Down by a shining water wellI found a very little dell,No higher than my head.The heather and the gorse aboutIn summer bloom were coming out,Some yellow and some red.[Pg 63]
I called the little pool a sea;The little hills were big to me;For I am very small.I made a boat, I made a town,I searched the caverns up and down,And named them one and all.
And all about was mine, I said,The little sparrows overhead,The little minnows too.This was the world and I was king;For me the bees came by to sing,For me the swallows flew.
I played there were no deeper seas,Nor any wider plains than these,Nor other kings than me.At last I heard my mother callOut from the house at evenfall,To call me home to tea.
And I must rise and leave my dell,And leave my dimpled water well,And leave my heather blooms.Alas! and as my home I neared,How very big my nurse appeared.How great and cool the rooms!

[Pg 64]

PICTURE-BOOKS IN WINTER

Summer fading, winter comes—Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,Window robins, winter rooks,And the picture story-books.
Water now is turned to stoneNurse and I can walk upon;Still we find the flowing brooksIn the picture story-books.
All the pretty things put by,Wait upon the children’s eye,Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,In the picture story-books.
We may see how all things are,Seas and cities, near and far,And the flying fairies’ looks,In the picture story-books.
How am I to sing your praise,Happy chimney-corner days,Sitting safe in nursery nooks,Reading picture story-books?

[Pg 65]

 PICTURE-BOOKS IN WINTER

[Pg 66]

MY TREASURES

These nuts, that I keep in the back of the nestWhere all my lead soldiers are lying at rest,Were gathered in autumn by nursie and meIn a wood with a well by the side of the sea.
This whistle we made (and how clearly it sounds!)By the side of a field at the end of the grounds.Of a branch of a plane, with a knife of my own,It was nursie who made it, and nursie alone!
The stone, with the white and the yellow and grey,We discovered I cannot tell how far away;And I carried it back although weary and cold,For though father denies it, I’m sure it is gold.[Pg 67]
But of all my treasures the last is the king,For there’s very few children possess such a thing;And that is a chisel, both handle and blade,Which a man who was really a carpenter made.

[Pg 68]

BLOCK CITY

What are you able to build with your blocks?Castles and palaces, temples and docks.Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,But I can be happy and building at home.
Let the sofa be mountains, the capet be sea,There I’ll establish a city for me:A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride.
Great is the palace with pillar and wall,A sort of a tower on the top of it all,And steps coming down in an orderly wayTo where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.[Pg 69]
This one is sailing and that one is moored:Hark to the song of the sailors on board!And see, on the steps of my palace, the kingsComing and going with presents and things!
Now I have done with it, down let it go!All in a moment the town is laid low.Block upon block lying scattered and free,What is there left of my town by the sea?
Yet as I saw it, I see it again,The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,And as long as I live and where’er I may be,I’ll always remember my town by the sea.

[Pg 70]

THE LAND OF STORY-BOOKS

At evening when the lamp is lit,Around the fire my parents sit;They sit at home and talk and sing,And do not play at anything.
Now, with my little gun, I crawlAll in the dark along the wall,And follow round the forest trackAway behind the sofa back.
There, in the night, where none can spy,All in my hunter’s camp I lie,And play at books that I have readTill it is time to go to bed.
These are the hills, these are the woods,These are my starry solitudes;And there the river by whose brinkThe roaring lions come to drink.[Pg 71]
I see the others far awayAs if in firelit camp they lay,And I, like to an Indian scout,Around their party prowled about.
So, when my nurse comes in for me,Home I return across the sea,And go to bed with backward looksAt my dear land of Story-books.

[Pg 72]

ARMIES IN THE FIRE

The lamps now glitter down the street;Faintly sound the falling feet;And the blue even slowly fallsAbout the garden trees and walls.
Now in the falling of the gloomThe red fire paints the empty room:And warmly on the roof it looks,And flickers on the backs of books.
Armies march by tower and spireOf cities blazing, in the fire;—Till as I gaze with staring eyes,The armies fade, the lustre dies.
Then once again the glow returns;Again the phantom city burns;And down the red-hot valley, lo!The phantom armies marching go![Pg 73]
Blinking embers, tell me trueWhere are those armies marching to,And what the burning city isThat crumbles in your furnaces!

[Pg 74]

THE LITTLE LAND

When at home alone I sit,And am very tired of it,I have just to shut my eyesTo go sailing through the skies—To go sailing far awayTo the pleasant Land of Play;To the fairy land afarWhere the Little People are;Where the clover-tops are trees,And the rain-pools are the seas,And the leaves, like little ships,Sail about on tiny trips;And above the daisy treeThrough the grasses,High o’erhead the Bumble BeeHums and passes.
In that forest to and froI can wander, I can go;See the spider and the fly,And the ants go marching by,Carrying parcels with their feetDown the green and grassy street.I can in the sorrel sitWhere the ladybird alit.I can climb the jointed grassAnd on highSee the greater swallows passIn the sky,And the round sun rolling byHeeding no such things as I.
Through that forest I can passTill, as in a looking-glass,Humming fly and daisy treeAnd my tiny self I see,Painted very clear and neatOn the rain-pool at my feet.Should a leaflet come to landDrifting near to where I stand,Straight I’ll board that tiny boatRound the rain-pool sea to float.[Pg 75]
Little thoughtful creatures sitOn the grassy coasts of it;Little things with lovely eyesSee me sailing with surprise.Some are clad in armour green—(These have sure to battle been!)—Some are pied with ev’ry hue,Black and crimson, gold and blue;Some have wings and swift are gone;—But they all look kindly on.

[Pg 76]

 THE LITTLE LAND
When my eyes I once againOpen, and see all things plain:High bare walls, great bare floor;Great big knobs on drawer and door;Great big people perched on chairs,Stitching tucks and mending tears,Each a hill that I could climb,And talking nonsense all the time—O dear me,That I could beA sailor on the rain-pool sea,A climber in the clover tree,And just come back, a sleepy-head,Late at night to go to bed.

[Pg 77]

[Pg 78]

GARDEN DAYS

[Pg 80]

[Pg 79]

NIGHT AND DAY

When the golden day is done,Through the closing portal,Child and garden, flower and sun,Vanish all things mortal.
As the blinding shadows fallAs the rays diminish,Under evening’s cloak, they allRoll away and vanish.
Garden darkened, daisy shut,Child in bed, they slumber—Glow-worm in the highway rut,Mice among the lumber.
In the darkness houses shine,Parents move with candles;Till on all, the night divineTurns the bedroom handles.[Pg 81]
Till at last the day beginsIn the east a-breaking,In the hedges and the whinsSleeping birds a-waking.
In the darkness shapes of things,Houses, trees and hedges,Clearer grow; and sparrow’s wingsBeat on window ledges.
These shall wake the yawning maid;She the door shall open—Finding dew on garden gladeAnd the morning broken.
There my garden grows againGreen and rosy painted,As at eve behind the paneFrom my eyes it fainted.
Just as it was shut away,Toy-like, in the even,Here I see it glow with dayUnder glowing heaven.
Every path and every plot,Every bush of roses,Every blue forget-me-notWhere the dew reposes.[Pg 82]
“Up!” they cry, “the day is comeOn the smiling valleys:We have beat the morning drum;Playmate, join your allies!”

[Pg 83]

NEST EGGS

Birds all the sunny dayFlutter and quarrelHere in the arbour-likeTent of the laurel.
Here in the forkThe brown nest is seated;Four little blue eggsThe mother keeps heated.
While we stand watching herStaring like gabies,Safe in each egg are theBird’s little babies.
Soon the frail eggs they shallChip, and upspringingMake all the April woodsMerry with singing.[Pg 84]
Younger than we are,O children, and frailer,Soon in blue air they’ll be,Singer and sailor.
We, so much older,Taller and stronger,We shall look down on theBirdies no longer.
They shall go flyingWith musical speechesHigh over head in theTops of the beeches.
In spite of our wisdomAnd sensible talking,We on our feet must goPlodding and walking.

THE FLOWERS

All the names I know from nurse:Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock,And the Lady Hollyhock.
Fairy places, fairy things,Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,Tiny trees for tiny dames—These must all be fairy names!
Tiny woods below whose boughsShady fairies weave a house;Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,Where the braver fairies climb!

[Pg 85]

 THE FLOWERS

[Pg 86]

Fair are grown-up people’s trees,But the fairest woods are these;Where, if I were not so tall,I should live for good and all.

[Pg 87]

SUMMER SUN

Great is the sun, and wide he goesThrough empty heaven without repose;And in the blue and glowing daysMore thick than rain he showers his rays.
Though closer still the blinds we pullTo keep the shady parlour cool,Yet he will find a chink or twoTo slip his golden fingers through.
The dusty attic spider-cladHe, through the keyhole, maketh glad;And through the broken edge of tilesInto the laddered hay-loft smiles.
Meantime his golden face aroundHe bares to all the garden ground,And sheds a warm and glittering lookAmong the ivy’s inmost nook.
Above the hills, along the blue,Round the bright air with footing true,To please the child, to paint the rose,The gardener of the World, he goes.

[Pg 88]

THE DUMB SOLDIER

When the grass was closely mown,Walking on the lawn alone,In the turf a hole I found,And hid a soldier underground.
Spring and daisies came apace;Grasses hide my hiding place;Grasses run like a green seaO’er the lawn up to my knee.
Under grass alone he lies,Looking up with leaden eyes,Scarlet coat and pointed gun,To the stars and to the sun.
When the grass is ripe like grain,When the scythe is stoned again,When the lawn is shaven clear,Then my hole shall reappear.
I shall find him, never fear,I shall find my grenadier;But for all that’s gone and come,I shall find my soldier dumb.
He has lived, a little thing,In the grassy woods of spring;Done, if he could tell me true,Just as I should like to do.[Pg 89]
He has seen the starry hoursAnd the springing of the flowers;And the fairy things that passIn the forests of the grass.
In the silence he has heardTalking bee and ladybird,And the butterfly has flownO’er him as he lay alone.
Not a word will he disclose,Not a word of all he knows.I must lay him on the shelf,And make up the tale myself.

[Pg 90]

AUTUMN FIRES

In the other gardensAnd all up the vale,From the autumn bonfiresSee the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer overAnd all the summer flowers,The red fire blazes,The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!Something bright in all!Flowers in the summer,Fires in the fall!

[Pg 91]

THE GARDENER

The gardener does not love to talk,He makes me keep the gravel walk;And when he puts his tools away,He locks the door and takes the key.
Away behind the currant row,Where no one else but cook may go,Far in the plots, I see him dig,Old and serious, brown and big.
He digs the flowers, green, red, and blue,Nor wishes to be spoken to.He digs the flowers and cuts the hay,And never seems to want to play.[Pg 92]
Silly gardener! summer goes,And winter comes with pinching toes,When in the garden bare and brownYou must lay your barrow down.
Well now, and while the summer stays,To profit by these garden daysO how much wiser you would beTo play at Indian wars with me!

[Pg 93]

HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS

Dear Uncle Jim, this garden groundThat now you smoke your pipe around.Has seen immortal actions doneAnd valiant battles lost and won.
Here we had best on tip-toe tread,While I for safety march ahead,For this is that enchanted groundWhere all who loiter slumber sound.[Pg 94]
Here is the sea, here is the sand,Here is simple Shepherd’s Land,Here are the fairy hollyhocks,And there are Ali Baba’s rocks.
But yonder, see! apart and high,Frozen Siberia lies; where I,With Robert Bruce and William Tell,Was bound by an enchanter’s spell.

[Pg 95]

ENVOYS

[Pg 96]

TO WILLIE AND HENRIETTA

If two may read arightThese rhymes of old delightAnd house and garden play,You too, my cousins, and you only, may.
You in a garden greenWith me were king and queen,Were hunter, soldier, tar,And all the thousand things that children are.
Now in the elders’ seatWe rest with quiet feet,And from the window-bayWe watch the children, our successors, play.
“Time was,” the golden headIrrevocably said;But time which none can bind,While flowing fast away, leaves love behind.

[Pg 99]

TO MY MOTHER

You too, my mother, read my rhymesFor love of unforgotten times,And you may chance to hear once moreThe little feet along the floor.

TO AUNTIE

Chief of our aunts—not only I,But all your dozen of nurselings cry—What did the other children do?And what were childhood, wanting you?

[Pg 100]

 TO AUNTIE

TO MINNIE

The red room with the giant bedWhere none but elders laid their head;The little room where you and IDid for awhile together lieAnd, simple suitor, I your handIn decent marriage did demand;The great day nursery, best of all,With pictures pasted on the wallAnd leaves upon the blindA pleasant room wherein to wakeAnd hear the leafy garden shakeAnd rustle in the wind—And pleasant there to lie in bedAnd see the pictures overhead—The wars about Sebastopol,The grinning guns along the wall,The daring escalade,The plunging ships, the bleating sheep,The happy children ankle-deepAnd laughing as they wade;All these are vanished clean away,And the old manse is changed to-day;It wears an altered face[Pg 101]
And shields a stranger race.The river, on from mill to mill,Flows past our childhood’s garden still;But ah! we children never moreShall watch it from the water-door.Below the yew—it still is there—Our phantom voices haunt the airAs we were still at play,And I can hear them call and say:How far is it to Babylon?[Pg 102]
Ah, far enough, my dear,Far, far enough from here—Yet you have farther gone!Can I get there by candlelight?So goes the old refrain.I do not know—perchance you might—But only, children, hear it right,Ah, never to return again!The eternal dawn, beyond a doubt,Shall break on hill and plain,And put all stars and candles outEre we be young again.[Pg 103]
To you in distant India, theseI send across the seas,Nor count it far across.For which of us forgetsThe Indian cabinets,The bones of antelope, the wings of albatross,The pied and painted birds and beans,The junks and bangles, beads and screens,The gods and sacred bells,And the loud-humming, twisting shells!The level of the parlour floorWas honest, homely, Scottish shore;But when we climbed upon a chair,Behold the gorgeous East was there!Be this a fable; and beholdMe in the parlour as of old,And Minnie just above me setIn the quaint Indian cabinet!Smiling and kind, you grace a shelfToo high for me to reach myself.Reach down a hand, my dear, and takeThese rhymes for old acquaintance’ sake!

[Pg 104]

TO MY NAME-CHILD

1

Some day soon this rhyming volume, if you learn with proper speed,Little Louis Sanchez, will be given you to read.Then shall you discover, that your name was printed downBy the English printers, long before, in London town.
In the great and busy city where the East and West are met,All the little letters did the English printer set;While you thought of nothing, and were still too young to play,Foreign people thought of you in places far away.
Ay, and while you slept, a baby, over all the English landsOther little children took the volume in their hands;Other children questioned, in their homes across the seas:Who was little Louis, won’t you tell us, mother, please?

[Pg 105]

2

Now that you have spelt your lesson, lay it down and go and play,Seeking shells and seaweed on the sands of Monterey,Watching all the mighty whalebones, lying buried by the breeze,Tiny sandpipers, and the huge Pacific seas.
And remember in your playing, as the sea-fog rolls to you,Long ere you could read it, how I told you what to do;And that while you thought of no one, nearly half the world awaySome one thought of Louis on the beach of Monterey!

TO ANY READER

As from the house your mother seesYou playing round the garden trees,So you may see, if you will lookThrough the windows of this book,Another child, far, far away,And in another garden, play.But do not think you can at all,By knocking on the window, callThat child to hear you. He intentIs all on his play-business bent.He does not hear; he will not look,Nor yet be lured out of this book.For, long ago, the truth to say,He has grown up and gone away,And it is but a child of airThat lingers in the garden there.

THE SCRIBNER ILLUSTRATED CLASSICS

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
Edited by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Illustrated by Maxfield Parrish

THE STORY OF ROLAND
by James Baldwin
Illustrated by Peter Hurd

THE STORY OF SIEGFRIED
by James Baldwin
Illustrated by Peter Hurd

DRUMS
by James Boyd
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

A LITTLE PRINCESS
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Illustrated by Ethel Franklin Betts

THE DEERSLAYER
by James Fenimore Cooper
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
by James Fenimore Cooper
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

ROBIN HOOD
by Paul Creswick
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

THE ENCHANTED BOOK
Edited by Alice Dalgliesh
Illustrated by Concetta Cacciola

ROBINSON CRUSOE
by Daniel Defoe
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

THE CHILDREN OF DICKENS
by Charles Dickens
Edited by Samuel McChord Crothers
Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith

HANS BRINKER
by Mary Mapes Dodge
Illustrated by George W. Edwards

POEMS OF CHILDHOOD
by Eugene Field
Illustrated by Maxfield Parrish

THE LITTLE SHEPHERD OF KINGDOM COME
by John Fox, Jr.
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

GRIMM’S FAIRY TALES
Illustrated by Elenore Abbott

LONE COWBOY
by Will James
Illustrated by the author

SMOKY
by Will James
Illustrated by the author

WESTWARD HO!
by Charles Kingsley
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

THE BOY’S KING ARTHUR
by Sidney Lanier
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

THE SCOTTISH CHIEFS
by Jane Porter
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

THE YEARLING
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

QUENTIN DURWARD
by Sir Walter Scott
Illustrated by C. B. Chambers

THE CHILDREN’S BIBLE
by Henry Sherman and Charles Kent
Illustrated by various artists

HEIDI
by Johanna Spyri
Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith

A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith

THE BLACK ARROW
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

DAVID BALFOUR
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

KIDNAPPED
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

TREASURE ISLAND
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
by Jules Verne
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA
by Jules Verne
Illustrated by W. J. Aylward