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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   





"To a Mouse" and "To a Mountain Daisy," by Robert Burns (1759-96), are the ineffable touches of tenderness that illumine the sturdy plowman. The contrast between the strong man and the delicate flower or creature at his mercy makes tenderness in man a vital point in character.

The lines "To a Mouse" seem by report to have been composed while Burns was actually plowing. One of the poet's first editors wrote: "John Blane, who had acted as gaudsman to Burns, and who lived sixty years afterward, had a distinct recollection of the turning up of the mouse. Like a thoughtless youth as he was, he ran after the creature to kill it, but was checked and recalled by his master, who he observed became thereafter thoughtful and abstracted. Burns, who treated his servants with the familiarity of fellow-labourers, soon afterward read the poem to Blane."

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,

Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie!

Thou needna start awa' sae hasty,

Wi' bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin and chase thee,

Wi' murd'ring pattle!


I'm truly sorry man's dominion

Has broken Nature's social union,

And justifies that ill opinion,

Which makes thee startle

At me, thy poor earth-born companion

And fellow-mortal!

I doubtna, whiles, but thou may thieve;

What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!

A daimen icker in a thrave

'S a sma' request:

I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave,

And never miss 't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!

Its silly wa's the win's are strewin'!

And naething now to big a new ane

O' foggage green,

And bleak December's winds ensuin',

Baith snell and keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste,

And weary winter comin' fast,

And cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell,

Till, crash! the cruel coulter passed

Out through thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves and stibble

Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!

Now thou's turned out for a' thy trouble,

But house or hald,

To thole the winter's sleety dribble,

And cranreuch cauld!


But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,

In proving foresight may be vain:

The best-laid schemes o' mice and men

Gang aft a-gley,

And lea'e us naught but grief and pain,

For promised joy.

Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!

The present only toucheth thee:

But, och! I backward cast my e'e

On prospects drear!

And forward, though I canna see,

I guess and fear.


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