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Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt

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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
391 pages $14.95   




"John Barleycorn" is a favourite with boys because it pictures a successful struggle. One editor has made a temperance poem of it, mistaking its true intent. The poem is a strong expression of a plow-man's love for a hardy, food-giving grain which has sprung to life through his efforts. (1759-96.)

There were three kings into the East,

Three kings both great and high;

And they ha'e sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn should die.


They took a plow and plowed him down,

Put clods upon his head;

And they ha'e sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful spring came kindly on,

And showers began to fall;

John Barleycorn got up again,

And sore surprised them all.

The sultry suns of summer came,

And he grew thick and strong;

His head well arm'd wi' pointed spears,

That no one should him wrong.

The sober autumn entered mild,

And he grew wan and pale;

His bending joints and drooping head

Showed he began to fail.

His colour sickened more and more,

He faded into age;

And then his enemies began

To show their deadly rage.

They took a weapon long and sharp,

And cut him by the knee,

Then tied him fast upon a cart,

Like a rogue for forgery.

They laid him down upon his back,

And cudgelled him full sore;

They hung him up before the storm,

And turn'd him o'er and o'er.


They filled up then a darksome pit

With water to the brim,

And heaved in poor John Barleycorn,

To let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,

To work him further woe;

And still as signs of life appeared,

They tossed him to and fro.

They wasted o'er a scorching flame

The marrow of his bones;

But a miller used him worst of all—

He crushed him 'tween two stones.

And they have taken his very heart's blood,

And drunk it round and round;

And still the more and more they drank,

Their joy did more abound.


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