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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 FINDING OF THE LYRE

[148] Once a year my pupils teach me "The Finding of the Lyre." By the time I have learned it they know the meaning of every line and have caught the spirit of the verse. There is an ancient "lyre," or violin, made in northern Africa, in the possession of a Boston lady, and I have found the mud-turtle rattle among the Indians on the Indian reservation at Syracuse, New York. They use it as a musical instrument in their Thanksgiving dances. The poem helps to build an interest in history and mythology while it develops a child's reverence and insight. (1819-91.)

There lay upon the ocean's shore

What once a tortoise served to cover;

A year and more, with rush and roar,

The surf had rolled it over,

Had played with it, and flung it by,

As wind and weather might decide it,

Then tossed it high where sand-drifts dry

Cheap burial might provide it.


It rested there to bleach or tan,

The rains had soaked, the sun had burned it;

With many a ban the fisherman

Had stumbled o'er and spurned it;

And there the fisher-girl would stay,

Conjecturing with her brother

How in their play the poor estray

Might serve some use or other.


So there it lay, through wet and dry,

As empty as the last new sonnet,

Till by and by came Mercury,

And, having mused upon it,

"Why, here," cried he, "the thing of things

In shape, material, and dimension!

Give it but strings, and, lo, it sings,

A wonderful invention!"


[149]

So said, so done; the chords he strained,

And, as his fingers o'er them hovered,

The shell disdained a soul had gained,

The lyre had been discovered.

O empty world that round us lies,

Dead shell, of soul and thought forsaken,

Brought we but eyes like Mercury's,

In thee what songs should waken!


JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.





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