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The Children's Book by  Horace E. Scudder
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NEVER PLAY WITH FIRE

My prayers I said, I went to bed,

And soon I fell asleep:

But soon I woke, my sleep was broke,

I through my curtain peep.


I heard a noise of men and boys,

The watchman's rattle too;

And "fire" they cried—and then cried I,

Oh dear! what shall I do?


[140]

A shout so loud came from the crowd

Around, above, below;

And in the street the neighbors meet,

Who would the matter know.


Now down the stairs run threes and pairs

Enough to break their bones;

The firemen swear, the engines tear

And thunder o'er the stones.


The roof and wall, and stair and all,

And rafters tumble in;

Red flames and blaze now all amaze,

And make a dreadful din!


And horrid screams, when bricks and beams

Come tumbling on their heads;

And some are smashed, and some are crashed;

Some leap on feather beds.


Some burn, some choke with fire and smoke!

And oh, what was the cause

My heart's dismayed, last night I played

With Tommy, lighting straws!

Adelaide Taylor


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