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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   




[165] I learned "A Modest Wit" as a reading-lesson when I was a child. It has clung to me and so I cling to it. It is just as good as it ever was. It is a sharp thrust at power that depends on externalities. Selleck Osborne. (——.)

A supercilious nabob of the East—

Haughty, being great—purse-proud, being rich—

A governor, or general, at the least,

I have forgotten which—

Had in his family a humble youth,

Who went from England in his patron's suit,

An unassuming boy, in truth

A lad of decent parts, and good repute.

This youth had sense and spirit;

But yet with all his sense,

Excessive diffidence

Obscured his merit.

One day, at table, flushed with pride and wine,

His honour, proudly free, severely merry,

Conceived it would be vastly fine

To crack a joke upon his secretary.

"Young man," he said, "by what art, craft, or trade,

Did your good father gain a livelihood?"—

"He was a saddler, sir," Modestus said,

"And in his time was reckon'd good."

"A saddler, eh! and taught you Greek,

Instead of teaching you to sew!

Pray, why did not your father make

A saddler, sir, of you?"


Each parasite, then, as in duty bound,

The joke applauded, and the laugh went round.

At length Modestus, bowing low,

Said (craving pardon, if too free he made),

"Sir, by your leave, I fain would know

Your father's trade!"

"My father's trade! by heaven, that's too bad!

My father's trade? Why, blockhead, are you mad?

My father, sir, did never stoop so low—

He was a gentleman, I'd have you know."

"Excuse the liberty I take,"

Modestus said, with archness on his brow,

"Pray, why did not your father make

A gentleman of you?"


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