J. SAVILLE & CO. LIMITED
5, GOWER STREET, W.C.I
DEDICATED TO FOUR LITTLE BROTHERS
DAVID, BRIAN, PETER
The children of nowadays are different in many of their likes and dislikes, from the children of ten years ago. This change of attitude is noticeable as much in the world of children’s poetry as it is in other things.
In my experience of teaching I have found the children delight in two distinct types of verses. These are the humorous type and the imaginative poetical type—but the humour must be from the child’s point of view and not from the “grown-up’s”—a very different thing. And the imagination in the second type of poem must be clear and whimsical, otherwise the appeal fails and the child does not respond.
As I found a lack of suitable poems of the types I wanted, I began to write them myself for the children under my supervision, taking, in many cases, the ideas, humorous or whimsical, of the children themselves, as the theme of the poems. Finding them to be successful, I continued, until the suggestion was made to me that many children, other than those in my own school, might enjoy hearing and learning the poems. Accordingly this collection of verses is put forward in the hope that it will be a source of sincere enjoyment to the little people of the world.
In the garden very early
And to her surprise she hears
Lots of fairies talking.
She looks around but cannot see
Where they can be hiding;
Not on any butterfly
Nor bee, are they a-riding.
She goes to where the tulips grow
And finds a sight of wonder,
For out pop fairy elves and say,
Once I found a fairy
In my cup of tea.
She was nearly drowned
And wet as wet could be.
I picked her out and dried her
And asked her if she’d stay;
“Oh, no,” she said, “I mustn’t,”
And off she flew away.
My dollies are so naughty,
I’m afraid they’ve gone on strike;
They won’t let me undress them,
But just do what they like.
They say they want a penny
To spend on Saturday,
And ‘less I let them have it,
They’ll not join in my play.
I can’t let them behave so,
They’ll never grow up right—
But I know they will be sorry
When I don’t kiss them good-night.
If you want to see a fairy,
In the middle of the night,
Wrap the blanket round you,
And shut your eyes up tight.
Say “Akral dafarray!”
And open your right eye,
And (if you’ve been a good child)
A fairy flutters by!
A FAIRY NECKLACE
The rain had rained all morning,
And then the sun shone fair,
And all the garden glittered
With raindrops everywhere!
There were raindrops on the grasses,
And raindrops on the trees,
And how they shook and shivered,
Like diamonds, in the breeze!
And oh, I saw a fairy
Come flying right by me;
She shook a score of raindrops,
From off the hazel tree.
She slung them on a spider’s thread,
A necklace made of rain!
She clasped them round her little neck,
And off she flew again!
PAYING A CALL
I put on my hat with the band of blue,
And my frock with the frilly lace,
I took my sunshade, and held it up,
To keep the sun off my face.
I thought I’d go calling like Mother does,
And have pretty cakes for tea,
And sit on the edge of a chair and talk
With a tea-cup on my knee.
I walked all along the sunny road,
Till I came to Mrs. Leroy’s.
I climbed the steps, and I rang the bell—
It made such a jangley noise.
And then I suddenly felt afraid,
And couldn’t think what I would say
When they opened the door—so I jumped
And I ran back home all the way.
Nurse saw me coining in my best frock,
And oh, how she scolded me!
And that’s why I’m wearing an overall now,
And not having jam for tea.
I go round the garden early, when the grass is
bright with dew,
And I have to put goloshes on my feet.
I’ll tell you all I do there, right away from
When the world is half-awake and very
I shake the lady hollyhocks to make the bees
And I see how much they’ve grown since
I pop the fattest fuchsia buds, if gardener’s
And I blow the dandelion clocks away.
I smell the honeysuckle and the lavender as
I take the rose-leaves fallen down beyond;
They’re pink and white and beautiful, just like
a fairy shell,
And I save them up for sailing on the pond.
I stand upon the mossy wall, and smell the
new mown hay,
And I feel the wind that blows the clouds
I think there never, never could be such a
And then, I hear that horrid breakfast gong!
When I am cross as I can be, and nothing’s
Then Mummy says there’s naughty goblins,
hiding out of sight,
Who try to make me do what’s wrong, and try
to make me bad,
They like me to forget things, and make other
I’ve never found them anywhere, I don’t know
where to look,
I’ve only seen them in the pages of my
But oh, I’m sure they’re all about in
Little creepy-crawley things, as quiet as a
When cook forgets to put the sugar in the
And gardener breaks the barrow-wheel, and
loses Daddie’s rake,
And Nurse is very cross indeed, and won’t let
me go out,
I always know those nasty little goblins are
I play next-door with Peter, and there’s
goblins even there,
Altho’ it’s such a lovely house, I can’t think
how they dare,
But often Peter’s Daddie is as grumpy as can
All over nothing, so the goblins must be there,
Whenever things go very wrong, I hide myself
To try and see those goblins, and I’m sure I
shall some day.
And if they bother you at all, you try and
catch them, too,
And will you save them up for me to look at,
if you do?
THE FAIRY’S BEDTIME
Just before they go to bed,
The fairy babes are told
To sit upon their toadstools, and
To be as good as gold.
So down they sit, all in a ring,
It’s supper-time, they know,
For look, their little acorn cups
Are standing in a row.
A fairy fills the little cups,
With dew and honey sweet
And gives one to each little babe
With something nice to eat.
Then off into the trees they fly
And curl themselves up tight
Inside a leaf that’s soft and warm,
And there they sleep all night.
Up the lane behind our house
A little hill you climb,
And at the top on either side
There is in Summer time—
A cornfield waving in the wind,
Where poppies shake their head
And peep at you between the corn,
A glowing dancing red—
I’ll tell you what I did one day
When nurse was cross with me,
And pulled my hair back in a plait,
As tight as tight could be—
I crept up to the swaying corn
And in the poppies there
I sat down by myself, and then
I undid all my hair!
I picked some gleaming poppies red,
The biggest I could find,
I wound them tightly in my curls,
And some hung down behind.
I walked about so very grand
Till it began to rain,
When one by one the poppies fell,
And I went home again.
A QUEER BUTTERFLY
I caught a lovely butterfly,
In Marianna’s net.
It was the sweetest blue and gold,
The prettiest I’d seen yet.
But Marianna came and said
The butterfly should be
Not mine, but hers, because the net
Belonged to her, not me.
We quarrelled hard, and didn’t stop,
Until my frock was torn,
And then she pointed down to where
The net lay, on the lawn.
The butterfly was creeping out
And spread its wings of blue,
And then stood up, just fancy that!
You’d hardly think it true!
We saw then what it really was,
A fairy, come to play,
And all because we quarrelled so,
She fluttered right away.
In my Mummy’s wardrobe, there are lots of
I know because I’ve seen them hanging
There’s purple, and there’s orange, and a frilly
one of blue,
And a yellow that is shiny like her hair.
The satin frocks make Mummy look just like a
But she can’t cuddle me at all in those—
And when she wears a silken frock, it rustles
like the trees—
But I can’t kiss her ‘cos I spoils the bows.
And tho’ I love her pretty dresses, ‘cos she
looks so grand,
What I like really best of all to see,
Is when she’s in the garden, wearing just an
And comes to romp and play about with me.
THE JOLLY WIND
“Hurrah!” says the wind, as he sweeps along,
“Three cheers for the sun to-day,
Just look at him shining away in the sky!
Do come along, children, and play!
I’ll fly your kites on the top of the hill,
And I’ll spin the old weather-cock round!
I’ll send your boats sailing away down the
Till bump! they have all come aground!
Come along while I turn the old windmill about,
And hear how it groans and it creaks;
Just see how I tweak off your bonnets and caps,
And hear all the laughter and shrieks!
I’ll make you run faster than ever before,
I’ll spin you around and about!
Oh, hurry up, children, and come out of school,
“Hurrah!” says the wind, with a shout!
THE WITCH’S BALLOONS
Opposite the nursery sat a woman old and
I should think she was the very oldest person
in the town,
She sold balloons to children as they passed
her corner there,
She was very cross and horrid and she had a
I looked at her one morning, on a very
And she saw me and she stared at me in such
a nasty way,
I felt afraid, and certain sure that she must be
And keep all sorts of stolen treasures hidden
in a ditch.
And as I looked at her, and she was staring up
I saw a fairy flying low from out the chestnut
She held a little knife, and oh, she cut the
strings right through,
That held the big balloons together, then away
And off went all the purple ones and off went
all the pink,
A-flying in the air as high as ever you could
Around the chimney pots, and right away up
in the sky,
Until they bumped into the clouds, a-sailing
And then I looked to see what that old woman
had to say,
But there wasn’t any sign of her, she’d
vanished right away,
She must have been a wicked witch, and by
the fairies slain,
For tho’ I’ve looked each morning, she has
never come again.
I found a little fairy flute
Beneath a harebell blue;
I sat me down upon the moss
And blew a note or two.
And as I blew the rabbits came
Around me in the sun,
And little mice and velvet moles
Came creeping, one by one.
A swallow perched upon my head,
A robin on my thumb,
The thrushes sang in tune with me,
The bees began to hum.
I loved to see them all around
And wished they’d always stay,
When down a little fairy flew
And snatched my flute away!
And then the swallow fluttered off,
And gone were all the bees,
The rabbits ran, and I was left
Alone among the trees!
THE LITTLE FOLK ON THE HILL
Right on the top of the Feraling Hill
There’s a queer little seat made of stone,
And sometimes I climb up the heathery slope.
And sit in the wind all alone.
Nobody knows why the little seat’s there,
(It’s almost too tiny for me)
But I love to squeeze into it on a clear day,
And look over the hills to the sea.
Sometimes I’ve sat there and heard funny
And voices, and tho’ I’ve kept still,
I’ve only seen one of the queer Little Folk
That I know live inside of the hill.
For once I came quietly up to the stone—
And on it sat one of the Folk!
He was looking across all the hills to the sea,
But he vanished away when I spoke.
And that’s how I know why the little seat’s
And why it’s small even for me;
The Folk put it there in the wind, for they love
To look over the hills to the sea.
THE MOON AT TEA-TIME
I was playing in the meadow, where there’s
not a single tree,
I was throwing bits of sorrel at a fat old
And then—I just looked up to see the clouds
go sailing by—
And oh, I saw the moon, in daytime! and I
can’t think why!
Such funny things keep happ’ning, and
they’ve happened all to-day,
First, I found a weeny mouse, all cuddled in
Then at home we’ve got a baby, from I don’t
And now I find the moon at tea-time, sitting in
I’m sure it’s wrong, because the Bible says it’s
meant for night,
And look, it hides behind the clouds—it knows
it isn’t right.
Now there it comes! Oh, silly moon, you make
the sun look fine,
‘Cos bumping up against the clouds has
rubbed off all your shine!
Oh, April brings the cuckoo-bird, and April
brings the rain,
April hangs a hundred sunny raindrops in the
She can wash the sky with woolly clouds of
And gaily dress it up in rainbows, curving out
Oh, April hangs the chestnut trees with spires
of white and pink,
And kisses all the primroses along the river’s
She peeps into the tiny nests where eggs are
And searches out the purple violets growing in
Oh, April swings the apple blossom, sweet
against the sky
And chases all the bob-tail rabbits scuttling
She dances with the meadow cowslips, drooping
heads of gold,
Oh, April is the sweetest month that any year
THE SILENT POOL
Away in the wood where it’s dark,
There’s a pool that is purplish green,
With whispering rushes around,
That murmur of things they have seen.
I once lay and listened all night,
And heard why the pool lies alone;
Not even a fairy goes near
And only the sad rushes moan.
I heard how there once lived a witch,
Who weaved wicked spells night and day,
And used the pool’s purplish deeps
For things which I wouldn’t dare say.
Then one day she vanished and went,
And never was seen any more,
But silent and still lay the pool,
And darker than ever before.
No fairy knows what the pool holds,
And none guesses what secrets lie
Hid safely away in its deeps,
But shuddering, all pass it by.
Take heed when you go through the wood,
And pass where the pool lies alone—
Not even a fairy goes near,
And only the sad rushes moan!
This afternoon is very hot,
And all the sky is blue,
The busy bees are humming loud,
They have a lot to do.
I want to go out in the fields
Where all the daisies grow,
And watch the little breezes bend
The grasses to and fro.
I want to watch the butterflies,
And hear the cuckoo call,
I’d cuckoo back to see if he
Would answer me at all.
The buttercups are shaking gold
Upon the dry brown earth,
And shiny beetles race along
The ground, for all they’re worth.
I want to lie down on the grass
And look up at the sky,
It looks so queer and far away
And wonderfully high.
It’s such a lovely afternoon,
With lovely things to see;
Oh, why must I in my best frock
Be taken out to tea?
Inside of me there’s a Feeling lives,
That wakes when I see a rose,
Or the snow, or sunshine, or daisy fields;
It wakes for a time—and then goes.
When I suddenly see the rainbow shine
Right over the sky so wide,
And the sunshine gleams thro’ the pouring rain,
I get that “Feeling” inside.
When I get out of bed on a winter’s mom,
And look thro’ my window pane,
And find the snow on the trees and fields,
I get the Feeling again.
When a great big wave comes sweeping up
On a stormy and windy tide,
And crashes against the rocks in spray,
I get the Feeling inside.
I once told Nannie just how I felt,
But I’m not going to tell her again.
She didn’t know at all what I meant,
She called my Feeling a pain!
THE NAUGHTY GNOME
A little gnome in Fairyland
Once found a pot of glue,
And he of course began to think
What mischief he could do!
He smeared the toadstools, one and all,
Whereon the fairies sat,
And oh, how cross they were to find
A naughty trick like that!
He dropped some glue upon the grass,
To catch the fairies’ feet,
When there came by the Fairy King
And Queen with all their suite.
The King walked straight upon the glue
And found he couldn’t stir!
Then came the frightened gnome, and cried,
“Oh, please have mercy, Sir!
I didn’t mean to catch your feet
Within my sticky glue,
But please forgive me and I’ll find
Some better thing to do!”
“I’ll pardon you,” the King replied,
“But harken what I say,
Go, use your glue on chestnut buds,
To keep the frost away.”
So in the chestnuts every spring
The gnome works all day long,
And if you touch a bud, you’ll find
His glue is very strong!
We always wake at six o’clock,
When Nurse is still asleep;
She’s hidden under all the clothes,
Her breathes are loud and deep.
We mustn’t talk till seven strikes,
And so we just turn round
And hear the milk-carts going by,
They have a tinny sound.
I look up at the ceiling, and
I count the cracks I see,
And all the flies upon the wall;
Once there were twenty-three!
Teddie pulls out feathers from
The eiderdown, and blows
With all his might, to make them drop
On top of Nurse’s nose.
I breathe on all the brassy nobs
That feel so very cold;
They go quite dull till Teddie rubs,
And makes them shine like gold.
And now I’ve told you all these things,
If you wake early, too,
And mustn’t talk till seven strikes,
You’ll know just what to do.
THE IMP’S MISTAKE
As Anna slept beside the fire
An imp as black as soot
Came down the chimney in a bound,
And landed by her foot!
He looked at her black shining shoe,
A frown came on his face,
He thought it was a piece of coal
A-tumbled from its place!
And so he started tugging hard
To put it back again
Upon the fire, when Anna woke
And gave a cry of pain!
“You naughty little imp,” she cried,
“Just leave my foot alone!”
And in a trice the imp had jumped
And up the chimney flown!
So when you’re sitting by the fire,
It’s better, on the whole,
To keep awake, in case that imp
Should think your shoes are coal!
PUT TO BED
The sun is shining hot and bright,
The gardener’s mowing grass,
He’s doing it with all his might,
I hear his footsteps pass.
Nurse put me here in bed alone
Because I’ve not been good;
I think her heart is hard as stone—
I didn’t think she would.
I haven’t been so very bad,
I’ll tell you what I’ve done.
I took a pencil that I had,
A lovely orange one.
I drew a splendid pattern round
The dining room and hall,
And trees that grew up from the ground,
Right up the nursery wall.
I’d started on a giant’s head,
I know just how they’re made,
When Nurse came in, so cross and red,
It made me feel afraid.
I never had behaved, she said,
So wickedly before;
She made me go upstairs to bed,
And then she banged the door.
She took my toys and books and ball,
And all the bricks I’d built;
There’s nothing here that’s nice at all,
‘Cept Grannie’s patchwork quilt!
THE MERRY BREEZE
Round about the orchard went the merry
Playing with the butterflies and teasing all
Sending showers of apple-blossom down upon
And spilling half the dew-drops from the
grasses all around.
He ruffled up the feathers of the ducks a-sailing
And hustled all the lazy clods that floated in
He swung the beeches to and fro, then darted
To dry the shiny puddles scattered down along
The chimney smoke he twisted in the queerest
kind of way,
Until at last the little breeze was weary of his
He crept back to the orchard, where the
And there it was I found him lying, curled up
We’ve a little summer house
With a pointed top,
And on it, watching us at play,
The fairies often stop.
But now we’ve done a dreadful thing,
And frightened them away,
Because, by accident, our ball
Struck two of them to-day.
It bounced upon the summer house,
And hurt the fairies there;
They flew away with cries of pain,
And said it wasn’t fair.
Each day we watch our summer house
And watch the pointed top.
But now, tho’ fairies fly around,
They never come to stop.
A HAPPY ENDING
I found a ship upon the sea,
All ready waiting there for me,
So in I jumped and off we sped,
To gleaming waters far ahead.
But soon a wind came moaning by
And clouds filled all the sunny sky,
The sea was speckled with the rain,
And my ship rolled and rolled again.
The waves crashed grandly on the deck.
The sails dripped rain-drops down my neck,
Then straight ahead, I spied a rock,
And braced myself to meet the shock—
Crash! we struck, and there we stayed,
While rain and storm around us played;
The ship at once began to fill,
And down and down we sank—until
I yelled in fear and clutched the side,
Half-drowning in the racing tide.
And just as mast and rigging broke,
I found myself in bed—and WOKE!
PRINTED BY GARDEN CITY PRESS,
LETCH WORTH, ENGLAND.