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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   




Girls always love "Lady Clare" and "The Lord of Burleigh." They like to think that it is enough to be a splendid woman without title or wealth. They want to be loved, if they are loved at all, for their good hearts and graces of mind. Tennyson (1809-92) makes this point repeatedly through his poems.

It was the time when lilies blow

And clouds are highest up in air;

Lord Ronald brought a lily-white doe

To give his cousin, Lady Clare.

I trow they did not part in scorn:

Lovers long-betroth'd were they:

They too will wed the morrow morn:

God's blessing on the day!

"He does not love me for my birth,

Nor for my lands so broad and fair;

He loves me for my own true worth,

And that is well," said Lady Clare.

In there came old Alice the nurse;

Said: "Who was this that went from thee?"

"It was my cousin," said Lady Clare;

"To-morrow he weds with me."


"O God be thank'd!" said Alice the nurse,

"That all comes round so just and fair:

Lord Ronald is heir of all your lands,

And you are not the Lady Clare."

"Are ye out of your mind, my nurse, my nurse,"

Said Lady Clare, "that ye speak so wild?"

"As God's above," said Alice the nurse,

"I speak the truth: you are my child.

"The old Earl's daughter died at my breast;

I speak the truth, as I live by bread!

I buried her like my own sweet child,

And put my child in her stead."

"Falsely, falsely have ye done,

O mother," she said, "if this be true,

To keep the best man under the sun

So many years from his due."

"Nay now, my child," said Alice the nurse,

"But keep the secret all ye can."

She said: "Not so: but I will know

If there be any faith in man."


"Nay now, what faith?" said Alice the nurse,

"The man will cleave unto his right,"

"And he shall have it," the lady replied,

"Tho' I should die to-night."

"Yet give one kiss to your mother dear!

Alas! my child, I sinn'd for thee."

"O mother, mother, mother," she said,

"So strange it seems to me.

"Yet here's a kiss for my mother dear,

My mother dear, if this be so,

And lay your hand upon my head,

And bless me, mother, ere I go."

She clad herself in a russet gown,

She was no longer Lady Clare:

She went by dale, and she went by down,

With a single rose in her hair.

The lily-white doe Lord Ronald had brought

Leapt up from where she lay,

Dropt her head in the maiden's hand,

And follow'd her all the way.

Down stept Lord Ronald from his tower:

"O Lady Clare, you shame your worth!

Why come you drest like a village maid,

That are the flower of the earth?"

"If I come drest like a village maid,

I am but as my fortunes are:

I am a beggar born," she said,

"And not the Lady Clare."


"Play me no tricks," said Lord Ronald,

"For I am yours in word and in deed.

Play me no tricks," said Lord Ronald,

"Your riddle is hard to read."

O and proudly stood she up!

Her heart within her did not fail:

She look'd into Lord Ronald's eyes,

And told him all her nurse's tale.

He laugh'd a laugh of merry scorn:

He turn'd and kiss'd her where she stood:

"If you are not the heiress born?

And I," said he, "the next in blood—

"If you are not the heiress born,

And I," said he, "the lawful heir,

We two will wed to-morrow morn,

And you shall still be Lady Clare."


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