The Kitten

Wanton droll, whose harmless play
Beguiles the rustic’s closing day,
When drawn the evening fire about,
Sit aged crone and thoughtless lout;
Come, show thy tricks and sportive graces,
Thus circled round with merry faces.
Backward coiled, and crouching low,
With glaring eyeballs watch thy foe.
The house wife’s, spindle whirling round,
Or thread, or straw, that on the ground
Its shadow throws, by urchin sly,
Held out to lure thy roving eye.
Then, onward stealing, fiercely spring
Upon the futile, faithless thing.
Now, wheeling round with bootless skill,
Thy bo-peep tail provokes thee still,
As oft beyond thy curving side
Its jetty tip is seen to glide.
Whence hast thou, then, thou witless puss,
The magic power to charm us thus?
Is it that in thy glaring eye,
And rapid movements we descry—
While we at ease, secure from ill,
The chimney corner snugly fill.

Dance, Doggie, Dance

Now, Fido, I have dressed you up
In cap, and coat, and cape;
No, no, indeed my little friend,
You cannot yet escape!

Papa has seen a foreign dog
Dressed up like you in France,
And says that little poodle pup
Was quickly taught to dance.

Come, Fido, now you must be good,
I will not hurt you there;
Now stand upon your hinder-legs
And lift them in the air.

Listen—I will hum the tune
And you must dance with me;
I want both paws, sir, if you please.
Come, Fido—one, two, three!

“Good doggie! as I’ve taught you that—
Oh dear! he’s run away.
The naughty dog! he sees a cat.
Come here, sir! Fido, stay!

There now, he’s off and won’t come back;
We’ll dance no more to-day;
And Fido’s got my dress and cape—
Oh! what will mother say?”

To a Mouse, by Robert Burns

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.

A Farm-Yard Song, by J. T. Trowbridge

Over the hill the farm-boy goes,
His shadow lengthens along the land,
A giant staff in a giant hand;
In the poplar-tree, above the spring,
The katydid begins to sing;
The early dews are falling;—
Into the stone-heap darts the mink;
The swallows skim the river’s brink;
And home to the woodland fly the crows,
When over the hill the farm-boy goes,
Cheerily calling,—
“Co’, boss! co’, boss! co’! co’! co’!”
Farther, farther over the hill,
Faintly calling, calling still,—
“Co’, boss! co’, boss! co’! co’!”

Into the yard the farmer goes,
With grateful heart, at the close of day;
Harness and chain are hung away;
In the wagon-shed stand yoke and plow;
The straw’s in the stack, the hay in the mow;
The cooling dews are falling;—
The friendly sheep his welcome bleat,
The pigs come grunting to his feet,
The whinnying mare her master knows,
When into the yard the farmer goes,
His cattle calling,—
“Co’, boss! co’, boss! co’! co’! co’!”
While still the cow-boy, far away,
Goes seeking those that have gone astray,—
“Co’, boss! co’, boss! co’! co’!”

Now to her task the milkmaid goes.
The cattle come crowding through the gate,
Lowing, pushing, little and great;
About the trough, by the farm-yard pump,
The frolicsome yearlings frisk and jump,
While the pleasant dews are falling;—
The new-milch heifer is quick and shy,
But the old cow waits with tranquil eye;
And the white stream into the bright pail flows,
When to her task the milkmaid goes,
Soothingly calling,—
“So, boss! so, boss! so! so! so!”
The cheerful milkmaid takes her stool,
And sits and milks in the twilight cool,
Saying, “So! so, boss! so! so!”

To supper at last the farmer goes.
The apples are pared, the paper read,
The stories are told, then all to bed.
Without, the crickets’ ceaseless song
Makes shrill the silence all night long;
The heavy dews are falling.
The housewife’s hand has turned the lock;
Drowsily ticks the kitchen clock;
The household sinks to deep repose;
But still in sleep the farm-boy goes.
Singing, calling,—
“Co’, boss! co’, boss! co’! co’! co’!”
And oft the milkmaid, in her dreams,
Drums in the pail with the flashing streams,
Murmuring, “So, boss! so!”

The Flying Squirrel, by Mary E. Burt

Of all the woodland creatures,
The quaintest little sprite
Is the dainty flying squirrel
In vest of shining white,
In coat of silver gray,
And vest of shining white.

His furry Quaker jacket
Is trimmed with stripe of black;
A furry plume to match it
Is curling o’er his back;
New curved with every motion,
His plume curls o’er his back.

No little new-born baby
Has pinker feet than he;
Each tiny toe is cushioned
With velvet cushions three;
Three wee, pink, velvet cushions
Almost too small to see.

Who said, “The foot of baby
Might tempt an angel’s kiss”?
I know a score of school-boys
Who put their lips to this,—
This wee foot of the squirrel,
And left a loving kiss.

The tiny thief has hidden
My candy and my plum;
Ah, there he comes unbidden
To gently nip my thumb,—
Down in his home (my pocket)
He gently nips my thumb.

How strange the food he covets,
The restless, restless wight;—
Fred’s old stuffed armadillo
He found a tempting bite,
Fred’s old stuffed armadillo,
With ears a perfect fright.

The Lady Ruth’s great bureau,
Each foot a dragon’s paw!
The midget ate the nails from
His famous antique claw.
Oh, what a cruel beastie
To hurt a dragon’s claw!

To autographic copies
Upon my choicest shelf,—
To every dainty volume
The rogue has helped himself.
My books! Oh dear! No matter!
The rogue has helped himself.

And yet, my little squirrel,
Your taste is not so bad;
You’ve swallowed Caird completely
And psychologic Ladd.
Rosmini you’ve digested,
And Kant in rags you’ve clad.

Gnaw on, my elfish rodent!
Lay all the sages low!
My pretty lace and ribbons,
They’re yours for weal or woe!
My pocket-book’s in tatters
Because you like it so.

THE DUCK AND THE KANGAROO by Edward Lear

kangaroo

I
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
‘Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!’
Said the duck to the Kangaroo.

II
‘Please give me a ride on your back!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
‘I would sit quite still, and say nothing but “Quack,”
The whole of the long day through!
And we’d go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land and over the sea;–
Please take me a ride! O do!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

III
Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
‘This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you’ll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!’ said the Kangaroo.

IV
Said the Duck ,’As I sate on the rocks,
I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
Which fit my web-feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I’ve bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I’ll smoke,
All to follow my own dear true
Love of a Kangaroo!’

V
Said the Kangaroo,’I'm ready!
All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
And quite at the end of my tail!’
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
And who so happy, — O who,
As the duck and the Kangaroo?