Home  |  Authors  |  Books  |  Stories  |  What's New  |  How to Get Involved 
   T h e   B a l d w i n   P r o j e c t
     Bringing Yesterday's Classics to Today's Children                 @mainlesson.com
Search This Site Only
Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt

[Illustration] Hundreds of additional titles available for online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics

Learn More



Front Matter

[Front Cover]



[Copyright Information]


[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' Moly.

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 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 forget it?

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.


The John A. Browning School, 1904.

[Contents Page 1 of 13]

[Contents Page 2 of 13]

[Contents Page 3 of 13]

[Contents Page 4 of 13]

[Contents Page 5 of 13]

[Contents Page 6 of 13]

[Contents Page 7 of 13]

[Contents Page 8 of 13]

[Contents Page 9 of 13]

[Contents Page 10 of 13]

[Contents Page 11 of 13]

[Contents Page 12 of 13]

[Contents Page 13 of 13]

 Table of Contents  |  Index 
Copyright (c) 2000-2017 Yesterday's Classics, LLC. All Rights Reserved.