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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   

 

 

THE WELL OF ST. KEYNE

[186] I found the Well of St. Keyne in Cornwall, England—not the poem, but the real well. The poem is of the great body of world-lore. Southey (1774-1843).

A well there is in the west country,

And a clearer one never was seen;

There is not a wife in the west-country

But has heard of the Well of St. Keyne.


An oak and an elm tree stand beside,

And behind does an ash tree grow,

And a willow from the bank above

Droops to the water below.


A traveller came to the Well of St. Keyne:

Pleasant it was to his eye,

For from cock-crow he had been travelling

And there was not a cloud in the sky.


He drank of the water so cool and clear,

For thirsty and hot was he,

And he sat down upon the bank,

Under the willow tree.


There came a man from the neighbouring town

At the well to fill his pail;

On the well-side he rested it,

And bade the stranger hail.


"Now, art thou a bachelor, stranger?" quoth he,

"For an if thou hast a wife,

The happiest draught thou hast drunk this day

That ever thou didst in thy life.


[187]

"Or has your good woman, if one you have,

In Cornwall ever been?

For an if she have, I'll venture my life

She has drunk of the Well of St. Keyne."


"I have left a good woman who never was here,"

The stranger he made reply;

"But that my draught should be better for that,

I pray you answer me why."


"St. Keyne," quoth the countryman, "many a time

Drank of this crystal well,

And before the angel summoned her

She laid on the water a spell.


"If the husband of this gifted well

Shall drink before his wife,

A happy man thenceforth is he,

For he shall be master for life.


"But if the wife should drink of it first,

God help the husband then!"

The stranger stoop'd to the Well of St. Keyne,

And drank of the waters again.


"You drank of the well, I warrant, betimes?"

He to the countryman said;

But the countryman smiled as the stranger spake,

And sheepishly shook his head.


[188]

"I hastened as soon as the wedding was done,

And left my wife in the porch,

But i' faith she had been wiser than me,

For she took a bottle to church,"


ROBERT SOUTHEY.





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