Project Gutenberg's A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Title: A Child's Garden of Verses

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Illustrator: E. Mars
             M. H. Squire

Release Date: May 27, 2008 [EBook #25617]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Christine D. and the Online
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[Pg 1]

There are several editions of this ebook in the Project Gutenberg collection. Various characteristics of each ebook are listed to aid in selecting the preferred file.
Click on any of the filenumbers below to quickly view each ebook.

19722(Published in 1916; Black and White illustrations by M. Sheldon)
25608 (Published in 1905; Single Tone illustratons by B. C. Pease)
25609 (Published in 1905; Illustrations in Color by J. W. Smith)
25610 (Published in 1895; Black and White illustrations by C.Robins)
25611 (Publication date unknown; Black and White illustrations)
25617 (Published in 1900; Illustrations in Color by Mars and Squire)
28722 (Published in 1919; Illustrations in Color by Maria L. Kirk)


[Pg 2]

A Child's Garden A Child's Garden

[Pg 3]




[Pg 4]

Copyright, 1900, by
Robert Howard Russell
Copyright, 1902, by
Rand McNally & Company
All rights reserved
Edition of 1928

Made in U. S. A. Made in U.S.A.

[Pg 5]


Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson, or Robert Louis Stevenson, as the world knows him, was still a boy when he published this rare volume of "A Child's Garden of Verses," although by the calendar he was thirty-five years old. You and I have sighed, no doubt, to be a boy again, but here was one who, while he outgrew his knickerbockers, never outgrew the quick sympathy, the brave heart, the fresh outlook, the confident faith and buoyant spirit of the little Scotch boy who roamed the hills 'round Edinburgh. Better than any man of any time he was able to enter into the heart of a boy, to view things with a boy's eyes, and to write of them in simple verse, touched with the warmth and color of his rich imagination. In these "Verses" he writes as a child rather than about children, and in this lies much of the charm which they possess for little readers. There is in them the surprise of reality, the beauty of a simple rhythm, and the mysterious flavor of magic that grips a boy's heart and will not let him go until the book has become a part of him. Surely this is a rare quality in schoolbooks.

The Stevensons had been famous engineers for more than a hundred years, building lighthouses along the Scottish coast, and it was natural that his father should have expected Robert Louis to follow in the family footsteps. But the slim boy with brown eyes, who at eight had written a "History of Moses," and illustrated it with his own pen; who was slow to learn from books, but quick to understand things that he saw and felt; the boy who carried a volume of history in one pocket and a notebook in another, had other plans for himself, and even his father came to see the wisdom of his son's choice of a literary life. As early as[Pg 6] 1873, when only twenty-three years old, Stevenson was ordered south for the winter by his physician, to ward off impending consumption. For more than twenty years, or until his death in Samoa late in 1894, he was never far from this pursuing enemy. It followed him over tossing seas and through many lands as he journeyed in search of health; yet through all these years he carried a brave and happy heart, and wrote at the end this Requiem, the last three lines of which are upon his tomb on the mountain-top in Samoa;

"Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
"This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill."

Robert Louis Stevenson's first book, "An Inland Voyage," was published in 1878, when he was twenty-eight years old, and is a fresh and charming account of a canoe trip up the rivers of Holland. It was during this journey that he wrote: "If we were charged so much a head for sunsets, or if God sent around a drum before the hawthorn came into flower, what a work we should make about their beauty! But these things, like good companions, stupid people early cease to observe."

The next year came his "Travels With a Donkey," which told in the same naïve style the story of his journey through the Cevennes Mountains with no other companion than a donkey, whose gait he describes as being "As much slower than a walk as a walk is slower than a run."

He first visited America in 1879, in search of health, returning in 1880 to Scotland with Mrs. Stevenson, whom he had married in California. In 1887 he came again with the hope that a dry winter in the Adirondack Mountains would stand off the hand of[Pg 7] Death. But he was little benefited, and took up his search for health by chartering a yacht for a voyage through the South Seas. It was on this trip that he fell in love with the beauty of the scenery and the healthful climate of Samoa, and in 1890 he took up his home there, never again to leave the island except for occasional visits to Honolulu and Sydney. And when the time came for him to die, the natives, with their knives and axes cut a path up the steep mountain-side and carried him on their broad shoulders to his grave on the mountain-top.

"A Child's Garden of Verses" was first published in London in 1885, and long ago became a children's classic; yet it is now for the first time made available as a supplementary reader for the primary grades in a suitable form and at a possible price. There have been many and beautiful editions, but they have all appealed to "grown-ups" rather than to boys and girls to whom the book really belongs. To put such a book, with its simple style, its wise observations, its kindly sympathy, and fanciful humor into the hands of a boy or girl, is not only to make him happy, it is to start him on the straight path to culture.

This volume contains all the poems originally appearing under the title "A Child's Garden of Verses." The poems grouped under "The Child Alone," "Garden Days," and "Envoys" have been omitted, as many of them are too philosophical to be understood by children in the primary grades.

The illustrations in this book are used by special arrangement with Harper & Brothers of New York City, who publish the complete "Verses" in a beautiful edition suitable for the home or the library.

So with Stevenson's own words the book is yours:

"Go little book, and wish to all,
Flowers in the garden, meat in the hall,
A living river by the door,
A nightingale in the sycamore."

E. O. G.

[Pg 8]

To Alison Cunningham From Her BOY
For the long nights you lay awake
And watched for my unworthy sake:
For your most comfortable hand
That 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!
And grant it, Heaven, that all who read
May 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 voice
As made my childish days rejoice!

R. L. S.

[Pg 9]

By Way of Introduction5
To Alison Cunningham8
Bed in Summer13
Young Night Thought15
My Shadow17
Time To Rise20
At the Seaside21
Windy Nights22
Pirate Story24
Whole Duty of Children27
Foreign Lands28
A Good Play32
The Land of Counterpane33
A Good Boy34
Looking Forward36
The Swing37
Good and Bad Children38
Marching Song40
Where Go the Boats?46
Escape at Bedtime48
[Pg 10]
From a Railway Carriage50
The Wind52
Auntie's Skirts54
Happy Thought55
The Cow56
My Bed Is a Boat58
The Land of Nod60
Fairy Bread61
Keepsake Mill62
Looking-glass River66
The Sun's Travels69
The Lamplighter70
Foreign Children73
The Moon74
The Hayloft77
Farewell To the Farm78
A Thought80
North-west Passage
I. Good-night82
II. Shadow March84
III. In Port86
To My Mother88
Guide To Pronunciation89
A Word List90

[Pg 11]

A Child's Garden of Verses


[Pg 12]

"I have to go to bed by day." "I have to go to bed by day."

[Pg 13]


In winter I get up at night
And 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 see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still 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 14]

"So fine a show was never seen." "So fine a show was never seen."

[Pg 15]


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 seen
At the great circus on the green;
For every kind of beast and man
Is marching in that caravan.
At first they move a little slow,
But still the faster on they go,
And still beside them close I keep
Until we reach the Town of Sleep.

[Pg 16]


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 17]


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.

[Pg 18]

"I have a little shadow." "I have a little shadow."

[Pg 19]

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!
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 20]

Time to Rise.

A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
'Ain't you shamed, you sleepy-head?'

[Pg 21]

At the Seaside.

When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To 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 22]


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?
[Pg 23]
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 then
By he comes back at the gallop again.

[Pg 24]


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?

[Pg 25]

"Three of us afloat." "Three of us afloat."

[Pg 26]

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 harbor and the garden is the shore.

[Pg 27]


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

[Pg 28]

"I looked abroad on foreign lands." "I looked abroad on foreign lands."


Up into the cherry tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad on foreign lands.
[Pg 29]
I saw the next door garden lie,
Adorned with flowers, before my eye,
And many pleasant places more
That I had never seen before.
I saw the dimpling river pass
And be the sky's blue looking-glass;
The dusty roads go up and down
With people tramping into town,
If I could find a higher tree
Farther and farther I should see,
To where the grown-up river slips
Into the sea among the ships.
To where the roads on either hand
Lead onward into fairy land,
Where all the children dine at five,
And all the playthings come alive.

[Pg 30]


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 31]

"I get an orange after food." "I get an orange after food."

[Pg 32]


We built a ship upon the stairs,
All made of the back-bedroom chairs,
And filled it full of sofa pillows
To 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 take
An apple and a slice of cake";—
Which was enough for Tom and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.
We sailed along for days and days,
And had the very best of plays;
But Tom fell out and hurt his knee,
So there was no one left but me.

[Pg 33]


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

[Pg 34]

"I was happy all the day." "I was happy all the day."


I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.
[Pg 35]
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 fair.
And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.
I know that, till tomorrow 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 36]


When I am grown to man's estate
I shall be very proud and great,
And tell the other girls and boys
Not to meddle with my toys.

[Pg 37]

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 thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over 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 38]


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 39]
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 grow up as geese and gabies,
Hated, as their age increases,
By their nephews and their nieces.

[Pg 40]


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 manner
Marching 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 41]

"Marching double-quick." "Marching double-quick."

[Pg 42]


I should like to rise and go
Where the golden apples grow;—
Where below another sky
Parrot islands anchored lie,
And, watched by cockatoos and goats,
Lonely Crusoes building boats;—
Where in sunshine reaching out
Eastern cities, miles about,
Are with mosque and minaret
Among sandy gardens set,
And the rich goods from near and far
Hang 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;—

[Pg 43]

"Where the red flamingo flies." "Where the red flamingo flies."

[Pg 44]

Where are forests, hot as fire,
Wide as England, tall as a spire,
Full of apes and cocoa-nuts
And the negro hunters' huts;—
Where the knotty crocodile
Lies and blinks in the Nile,
And the red flamingo flies
Hunting fish before his eyes;—
Where in jungles, near and far,
Man-devouring tigers are,
Lying close and giving ear
Lest the hunt be drawing near,
Or a comer-by be seen
Swinging in a palanquin;—
Where among the desert sands
Some 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,
[Pg 45] In all the town no spark of light.
There I'll come when I'm a man
With a camel caravan;
Light a fire in the gloom
Of some dusty dining room;
See the pictures on the walls,
Heroes, fights and festivals;
And in a corner find the toys
Of the old Egyptian boys.

[Pg 46]

"Boats of mine a-boating." "Boats of mine a-boating."


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?
[Pg 47]
On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill,
Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.

[Pg 48]


The lights from the parlor and kitchen shone out
Through 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 glistened and winked in the dark.
[Pg 49]
The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shown in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would 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 50]


Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches,
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
[Pg 51]
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 daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

[Pg 52]


I saw you toss the kites on high
And 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 53]

"I felt you push, I heard you call." "I felt you push, I heard you call."

[Pg 54]

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.

[Pg 55]


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

[Pg 56]


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 pass
And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass
And eats the meadow flowers.

[Pg 57]

"She walks among the meadow grass." "She walks among the meadow grass."

[Pg 58]


My bed is like a little boat;
Nurse helps me in when I embark;
She girds me in my sailor's coat
And starts me in the dark.
At night, I go on board and say
Good-night to all my friends on shore;
I shut my eyes and sail away
And see and hear no more.
[Pg 59]
And sometimes things to bed I take,
As prudent sailors have to do;
Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake,
Perhaps a toy or two.
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 60]


From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the Land of Nod.
All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do—
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-side of dreams.
The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till 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 clear
The curious music that I hear.

[Pg 61]


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

[Pg 62]


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—
Marvelous 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.
[Pg 63]
Years may go by, and the wheel in the river
Wheel as it wheels for us, children, to-day,
Wheel and keep roaring and foaming for ever—
Long after all 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.
You with the bean that I gave when we quarreled,
I with your marble of Saturday last,
Honored and old and all gaily appareled,
Here we shall meet and remember the past.

[Pg 64]


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 sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silvery sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

[Pg 65]

"The cold wind burns my face." "The cold wind burns my face."

[Pg 66]


Smooth it slides 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 wishes
To live down there!
We can see our colored faces
Floating on the shaken pool
Down in cool places,
Dim and very cool;
Till a wind or water wrinkle,
Dipping marten, plumping trout,
Spreads in a twinkle
And blots all out.

[Pg 67]

"We can see our colored faces." "We can see our colored faces."

[Pg 68]

See the rings pursue each other;
All below grows black as night,
Just as if mother
Had blown out the light!
Patience, children, just a minute—
See the spreading circles die;
The stream and all in it
Will clear by-and-by.

[Pg 69]


The sun is not a-bed, when I
At 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-head
Is 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 West
Are getting up and being dressed.

[Pg 70]


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.
[Pg 71]
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 O, before you hurry by with ladder and with light,
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!

[Pg 72]

"Don't you wish that you were me?" "Don't you wish that you were me?"

[Pg 73]


Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanee,
O! don't you wish that you were me?
You have seen the scarlet trees
And 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,
O! don't you wish that you were me?

[Pg 74]


The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbor 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 day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

[Pg 75]

"She shines on thieves on the garden wall." "She shines on thieves on the garden wall."

[Pg 76]

"O what a place for play." "O what a place for play."

[Pg 77]


Through all the pleasant meadow-side
The grass grew shoulder-high,
Till the shining scythes went far and wide
And cut it down to dry.
These green and sweetly smelling crops
They led in wagons home;
And they piled them here in mountain-tops
For 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!
O what a joy to clamber there,
O what a place for play,
With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
The happy hills of hay!

[Pg 78]

"Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!" "Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!"


The coach is at the door at last;
The eager children, mounting fast
And kissing hands, in chorus sing:
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!
[Pg 79]
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 80]


It is very nice to think
The world is full of meat and drink,
With little children saying grace
In every Christian kind of place.

[Pg 81]


Of speckled eggs the birdie sings
And nests among the trees;
The sailor sings of ropes and things
In ships upon the seas.
The children sing in far Japan,
The children sing in Spain;
The organ with the organ man
Is singing in the rain.

[Pg 82]



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.
[Pg 83]
Now we behold the embers flee
About the firelit hearth; and see
Our 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 tread
The long black passage up to bed.
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!

[Pg 84]

"The wicked shadows coming, tramp, tramp, tramp." "The wicked shadows coming, tramp, tramp, tramp."


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.
[Pg 85]
Now my little heart goes a-beating like a drum,
With the breath of Bogie in my hair,
And all round the candle the crooked shadows come,
And go marching along up the stair.
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.

[Pg 86]


Last, to the chamber where I lie
My fearful footsteps patter nigh,
And come from out the cold and gloom
Into my warm and cheerful room.
There, safe arrived, we turn about
To keep the coming shadows out,
And close the happy door at last
On 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 fast
And in the Land of Nod at last.

[Pg 87]

"In the Land of Nod at last." "In the Land of Nod at last."

[Pg 88]


You, too, my mother, read my rhymes
For love of unforgotten times,
And you may chance to hear once more
The little feet along the floor.

[Pg 89]


The following key explains the symbols which are used in the vocabulary of "A Child's Garden of Verses," to indicate the pronunciation of the words. It is based upon the 1901 edition of Webster's International Dictionary.

āas in fāte.       ŏas in nŏt.
ā̍as in pref´ ā̍ce.ôas in lôrd.
ăas in ădd.
äas in fär.ūas in ūse.
ȧas in grȧss.ū̍as in ū̍-nite´.
as in a̤ll.ŭas in ŭp.
ûas in fûrl.
ēas in ē in rṳde.
ē̍as in ē̍-vent´.
ĕas in ĕnd.ȳas in flȳ.
as in hẽ in pit´y̆.
īas in īce.o̅oas in mo̅on.
ĭas in pĭn.ouas in out.
oias in oil.
ōas in rōw.ṉ = ngas in iṉk.
ō̍as in ō̍-bey´.thas in this.

Certain vowels, as a and e, when obscured, are italicized.

[Pg 90]


The definitions given in this list indicate the meanings of the words as used in "A Child's Garden of Verses."

adorned (ȧȧ dôrnd´). Made beautiful.

adventure (ăd vĕn´ tū̍r). Venture; go in search of exciting experiences.

alert (ȧ lẽrt´). Watchful; quick.

anchored (ăn´ kẽrd). Held safely.

ancient (ān´ shent). Earlier; old.

apes (āps). Animals similar to monkeys, but of a higher type.

appareled (ăp păr´ ĕld). Dressed; clothed.

arrant (ăr´ rant). Shameless.

Babylon (Băb´ y̆ lon). A celebrated city of Asia, now in ruins.

balusters (băl´ ŭs tẽrz). The rail which guards the side of a staircase.

bazaar (bȧ zär´). In the far East, a market place where goods are for sale.

bewildering (bē̍ wĭl´ d'rĭng). Excitement; embarrassment.

billows (bĭl´ lōz). Great waves.

Bogie (bō´ gy̆). Goblin; bugbear.

breach (brēch). Break; opening.

broom (bro̅om). A plant from the twigs of which brooms are made.

caravan (kăr´ ȧ văn). A large company traveling together.

cockatoos (kŏk´ ȧ to̅oz´). A bird of the parrot family.

counterpane (koun´ tẽr pān´). A coverlet for a bed.

crocodile (krŏk´ ō̍ dīl). A reptile which grows to the length of 16 or 18
feet, and lives in the large rivers of Africa, Asia, and America.

Crow (krō). The name of a tribe of Indians.
[Pg 91]
Crusoes (krṳ´sōz). Men like the hero of De Foe's great novel, "Robinson Crusoe."

curious (kū´ rĭ ŭs). Strange.

dale (dāl). Valley.

deserted (dē̍ zẽrt´ ĕd). Forsaken; abandoned.

diet (dī´ ĕt). Food.

Dog (dŏg). One of the two ancient constellations lying south of the
zodiac, known as Canis Major and Canis Minor, or the Greater Dog
and the Lesser Dog.

Egyptian (ē̍ jĭp´ shan). A native of Egypt.

emperors (ĕm´ pẽr ẽrz). The rulers of empires.

estate (ĕs tāt´). Condition; state.

flamingo (flȧ mĭṉ´ gō̍). A large bird, usually red or pink in color.

foreign (fŏr´ ĭn). Strange; distant.

gabies (gā´ bĭz). Simpletons; dunces.

Great Wall (grāt wa̤l). Fifteen hundred miles in length, built in 215 b. c.,
along the north frontier of China. It is the most gigantic work of
defense ever made by man.

Grenadier (grĕn´ ȧ dēr´). One of a company attached to each regiment,
taking post on the right of the line, and wearing a peculiar uniform.

harbor (här´ bẽr). Station for rest and safety.

haunted (hänt´ ĕd). Frequented by ghosts.

hearty (härt´ y̆). Bold; active.

Highland bonnet (hī´ land bŏn´ nĕt). A closely woven, seamless wool
cap worn by the Highland Scotchman.

Hunter (hŭnt´ ẽr). A constellation representing a centaur (a monster,
half man and half horse) drawing a bow. It is called the Archer.

increases (ĭn krēs´ ĕz). Grows.

jungles (jŭṉ´ g'lz). Heavy growths of brushwood, grasses and vines,
so dense as to hardly be penetrated.
[Pg 92]

lea (lē). A grassy field.

leaden (lĕ´ 'n). Made of lead.

Leerie (lē̍r´ ĭ). The lamplighter.

Malabar (măl´ a bär´). A district in British India.

man-devouring (măn´-dē̍ vour´ ĭng). Man-eating.

Mars (märz). One of the planets of the solar system. It gives a very
red light.

marten (mär´ tĕn). One of several species of swallows.

martial (mär´ shal). Military; warlike; brave.

marvelous (mär´ vĕl ŭs). Wonderful; strange.

minaret (mĭn´ ȧ rĕt). A high, slender tower attached to a mosque.

moil (moil). Labor; toil.

mosque (mŏsk). A Mohammedan church or place of religious worship.

notion (nō´ shŭn). An idea.

nursery (nûrs´ ẽr y̆). The children's room.

palanquin (păl aṉ kē̍n´). An enclosed carriage about four feet long,
carried on the shoulders of four men by means of two long poles.
It is used in India and China.

perils (pĕr´ ĭlz). Dangers.

pier (pēr). Landing place.

pillage (pĭl´ lā̍j). Plunder; that which is taken from another by force.

pirate (pī´ rā̍t). A robber on the high seas.

Plough (plou). The group of stars commonly called the Dipper.

prudent (prṳ´ dent). Cautious; careful; sensible.

pursue (pûr sū´). Follow; chase.

quays (kēz). Wharfs; landing places.

rear (rēr). The division of an army that marches behind the main body
to protect it.

sages (sāj´ ĕz). Wise men.

scythe (sïth). An instrument for mowing grass and grain.

sedately (sē̍ dāt´ ly̆). Calmly; quietly.
[Pg 93]
Sioux (so̅o). Certain tribes of Indians.

sire (sīr). Father; the head of the family.

sleepsin-by (slēp´ ¦ sĭn-by̆´). The land of sleep.

sluice (slūs). A passage made for water to pass through, fitted with a

squadron (skwŏd´ rŭn). A number of vessels under command of one

star of the sailor. The North Star.

sweep (swēp). As found in "Travel," meaning chimney-sweep.

trundle (trŭn´ d'l). Roll along.

undaunted (ŭn dānt´ ĕd). Fearless; brave.

unduly (ŭn dū´ ly̆). In an extreme manner.

uniform (ū´ nĭ fôrm). Soldier's dress.

wary (wā´ ry̆). Carefully watching; cautious.

wearied (wē´ rĭd). Grown tired.

weir (wēr). A dam in a river used to raise the water back of it.

[Pg 94]


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