| Poems Every Child Should Know|
|by Mary E. Burt|
|An outstanding collection of poems that appeal to both boys and girls, compiled by a teacher who believed in the formative power of learning poetry by heart. 'Children,' she maintains, 'should build for their future — and get, while they are children, what only the fresh imagination of the child can assimilate. They should store up an untold wealth of heroic sentiment; they should acquire the habit of carrying a literary quality in their conversation; they should carry a heart full of the fresh and delightful associations and memories connected with poetry hours to brighten mature years. They should develop their memories while they have memories to develop.' The poems are grouped into six sections (The Budding Moment, The Little Child, The Day's at the Morn, Lad and Lassie, On and On, 'Grow Old Along with Me') to make it easier to locate poems that match a child's maturity. Ages 8-12 |
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TO PUBLISHERS AND AUTHORS
[v] IT sometimes happens that there are people who
do not know that authors are protected by
copyright laws. A publisher once cited to me an
instance of a teacher who innocently put forth a
little volume of poems that she loved and admired,
without asking permission of any one. Her
annoyance was boundless when she found that
she had no right to the poems.
Special permission has been obtained for each
copyrighted poem in this volume, and the right
to publish has been purchased of the author or
publisher, except in those cases where the author
or the publisher has, for reasons of courtesy and
friendship, given the permission.
In addition to the business arrangements which
have been made, we wish to extend our thanks
and acknowledgments to those firms which have
so kindly allowed us to use their material.
TO HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & COMPANY, of Boston,
we are indebted for the use of the following
poems: From the copyrighted works of
Longfellow—"The Arrow and the Song," "A
Fragment of Hiawatha's Childhood," "The
Skeleton in Armour," "The Wreck of the
Hesperus," "The Ship of State," "The Psalm
[vi] of Life," "'The Village Blacksmith." From
Whittier—" Barbara Frietchie" and "The
Three Bells of Glasgow." From Emerson
"The Problem." From Burroughs—" My
Own Shall Come to Me." From Lowell—
"The Finding of the Lyre," "The Shepherd of
King Admetus," and a fragment of "The
Vision of Sir Launfal." From Holmes—"The
Chambered Nautilus" and " Old Ironsides."
From James T. Fields—"The Captain's
Daughter." From Bayard Taylor—"The
Song in Camp." From Celia Thaxter—"The
Sandpiper." From J. T. Trowbridge—"
FarmYard Song." From Edith M. Thomas—"The God of Music" and Hermes'
TO CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONSwe are indebted
for the use of the following poems: From the
copyrighted works of Eugene Field
"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod," "Krinken,"
and "The Duel." From Robert Louis
Stevenson—"My Shadow." From James
Whitcomb Riley's poems—"Little Orphant
Annie." From the poems of Sidney Lanier
—"Barnacles" and "The Tournament."
From "The Poems of Patriotism"—" Sheridan's Ride."
We are further indebted to
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS, as well as to
MR. GEORGE W. CABLE, for "The New Arrival," taken from "The.
Cable Story Book," and to
MRS. KATHERINE MILLERand Scribner's Magazine for "Stevenson's Birthday."
[vii] TO J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANYwe are indebted
for the use of "Sheridan's Ride," from the
complete works of T. Buchanan Read.
TO HARPER & BROTHERSfor the use of "Driving
Home the Cows," by Kate Putnam Osgood.
TO LITTLE, BROWN & COMPANY, of Boston, "How
the Leaves Came Down," by Susan Coolidge.
TO THE WHITAKER & RAY COMPANY, of San
Francisco, "Columbus," by Joaquin Miller,
from his complete works published and copyrighted by that company.
TO D. APPLETON & COMPANYfor "The Planting
of the Apple-Tree" and "Robert of Lincoln,"
from the complete works of William Cullen
Bryant; also for "Marco Bozzaris," from the
works of Fitz-Greene Halleck.
TO THE MACMIIIAN COMPANYfor "The Forsaken
Merman," by Matthew Arnold, from the complete volume
of his poems published by that company.
TO THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY PRINT, Washington,
D. C., for Jeremiah Rankin's little poem,
"The Babie," from "Ingleside Rhaims."
To the heirs of MARY EMILY BRADLEY for "A Chrysalis."
TO HENRY HOLCOMB BENNETT for "The Flag Goes By."
TO MCCLURE, PHILLIPS & COMPANY for Edwin
Markham's "The Man With the Hoe."
[ix] IS THIS another collection of stupid poems that
children cannot use? Will they look hopelessly
through this volume for poems that suit them?
Will they say despairingly, "This is too long," and
"That is too hard," and "I don't like that because
it is not interesting"?
Are there three or four pleasing poems and are
all the rest put in to fill up the book? Nay,
verily! The poems in this collection are those
that children love. With the exception of seven,
they are short enough for children to commit to
memory without wearying themselves or losing
interest in the poem. If one boy learns "The
Overland Mail," or "The Recruit," or " Wynken,
Blynken, and Nod," or "The Song in Camp,"
or "Old Ironsides," or " I Have a Little Shadow,"
or "The Tournament," or "The Duel," nine boys
out of ten will be eager to follow him. I know,
because I have tried it a dozen times. Every
boy loves "Paul Revere's Ride" (alas! I have not
been able to include it), and is ambitious to learn
it, but only boys having a quick memory will
persevere to the end. Shall the slower boy be
deprived of the pleasure of reading the whole
poem and getting its inspiring sentiment and
learning as many stanzas as his mind will take?
No, indeed. Half of such a poem is better than
[x] none. Let the slow boy learn and recite as many
stanzas as he can and the boy of quick memory
follow him up with the rest. It does not help the
slow boy's memory to keep it down entirely or
deprive it of its smaller activity because he cannot
learn the whole. Some people will invariably
give the slow child a very short poem. It is often
better to divide a long poem among the children,
letting each child learn a part. The sustained
interest of a long poem is worth while. "The
Merman," "The Battle of Ivry," "Horatius at the
Bridge," "Krinken," "The Skeleton in Armour,"
"The Raven" and "Herve Riel" may all profit
ably be learned that way. Nevertheless, the child
enjoys most the poem that is just long enough, and
there is much to be said in favour of the selection
that is adapted, in length, to the average mind;
for the child hesitates in the presence of quantity
rather than in the presence of subtle thought. I
make claim for this collection that it is made up
of poems that the majority of children will learn
of their own free will. There are people who
believe that in the matter of learning poetry there
is no "ought," but this is a false belief. There is
a duty, even there; for every American citizen
ought to know the great national songs that keep
alive the spirit of patriotism. Children should
build for their future-and get, while they are
children, what only the fresh imagination of the
child can assimilate.
They should store up an untold wealth of heroic
sentiment; they should acquire the habit of
carrying a literary quality in their conversation;
[xi] they should carry a heart full of the fresh and
delightful associations and memories connected
with poetry hours to brighten mature years.
They should develop their memories while they
have memories to develop.
Will the boy who took every poetry hour for a
whole school year to learn "Henry of Navarre"
ever regret it, or will the children who listened to
it? No. It was fresh every week and they brought
fresh interest in listening. The boy will always
love it because he used to love it. There were
boys who scrambled for the right to recite "The
Tournament," "The Charge of the Light Brigade,"
"The Star-Spangled Banner," and so on. The
boy who was first to reach the front had the
privilege. The triumph of getting the chance to
recite added to the zest of it. Will they ever
I know Lowell's "The Finding of the Lyre."
Attention, Sir Knights! See who can learn it
first as I say it to you. But I find that I have
forgotten a line of it, so you may open your books
and teach it to me. Now, I can recite every word
of it. How much of it can you repeat from
memory? One boy can say it all. Nearly every
child has learned the most of it. Now, it will be
easy for you to learn it alone. And Memory, the
Goddess Beautiful, will henceforth go with you
to recall this happy hour.
MARY E. BURT.
The John A. Browning School, 1904.
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