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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   

 

 

BARBARA FRIETCHIE

"Barbara Frietchie" will be beloved of all times because she was an old woman (not necessarily an old lady) worthy of her years. Old age is honourable if it carries a head that has a halo. (1807-92.)

Up from the meadows rich with corn,

Clear in the cool September morn,


The clustered spires of Frederick stand

Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.


Roundabout them orchards sweep,

Apple and peach tree fruited deep,


Fair as the garden of the Lord

To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,


On that pleasant morn of the early fall

When Lee marched over the mountain-wall,


[97]

Over the mountains winding down,

Horse and foot, into Frederick town.


Forty flags with their silver stars,

Forty flags with their crimson bars,


Flapped in the morning wind: the sun

Of noon looked down, and saw not one.


Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,

Bowed with her fourscore years and ten,


Bravest of all in Frederick town,

She took up the flag the men hauled down.


In her attic window the staff she set,

To show that one heart was loyal yet.


Up the street came the rebel tread,

Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.


Under his slouched hat left and right

He glanced: the old flag met his sight.


"Halt!"—the dust-brown ranks stood fast.

"Fire!"—out blazed the rifle-blast.


It shivered the window, pane and sash;

It rent the banner with seam and gash.


Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff

Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf.


[98]

She leaned far out on the window-sill,

And shook it forth with a royal will.


"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,

But spare your country's flag," she said.


A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,

Over the face of the leader came;


The nobler nature within him stirred

To life at that woman's deed and word:


"Who touches a hair of yon gray head

Dies like a dog! March on!" he said.


All day long through Frederick street

Sounded the tread of marching feet:


All day long that free flag tost

Over the heads of the rebel host.


Even its torn folds rose and fell

On the loyal winds that loved it well;


And through the hill-gaps sunset light

Shone over it with a warm good-night.


Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,

And the rebel rides on his raids no more.


Honour to her! and let a tear

Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.


[99]

Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,

Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!


Peace and order and beauty draw

Round thy symbol of light and law;


And ever the stars above look down

On thy stars below in Frederick town!


JOHN G. WHITTIER.





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