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When lo! upon the threshold met my view,
With head erect, and eyes of fiery hue,
A viper, long as Count de Grasse's queue.
From forth his head his forked tongue he throws,
Darting it full against a kitten's nose;
Who, never having seen in field or house
The like, sat still and silent as a mouse;
Only projecting, with attention due,

Her whiskered face, she asked him, "Who are you?"
On to the hall I went with pace not slow,
But swift as lightning, for a long Dutch hoe;
With which, well armed, I hastened to the spot
To find the viper, but I found him not;
And turning up the leaves and shrubs around,
Found only that he was not to be found;
But still the kittens, sitting as before,
Sat watching close the bottom of the door.
"I hope," said I, "the villain I would kill
Has slipped between the door and the door-sill;
And if I make despatch and follow hard,
No doubt but I shall find him in the yard."
(For long ere now it should have been rehearsed,
'Twas in the garden that I found him first.)
E'en there I found him; there the full-grown cat
His head with velvet paw did gently pat;
As curious as the kittens erst had been
To learn what this phenomenon might mean.
Filled with heroic ardour at the sight,
And fearing every moment he would bite,
And rob our household of our only cat
That was of age to combat with a rat,
With outstretched hoe I slew him at the door,
And so I taught him to come there no more.
COWPER, 1731-1800.


ON the cheerful village green,
Skirted round with houses small,
All the boys and girls are seen,
Playing there with hoop and ball.

Now they frolic hand in hand,
Making many a merry chain ;
Then they form a warlike band,
Marching o'er the level plain.

Now ascends the worsted ball,
High it rises in the air,
Or against the cottage wall,
Up and down it bounces there.

Then the hoop, with even pace,
Runs before the merry crowd;
Joy is seen in every face,

Joy is heard in clamours loud.

Rich array, and mansions proud,
Gilded toys, and costly fare,
Would not make the little crowd
Half so happy as they are.

Then, contented with my state,
Let me envy not the great,
Since true pleasure may be seen
On a cheerful village green.

JANE TAYLOR, 1783-1824.


ERE on my bed my limbs I lay,
God grant me grace my prayers to say;
O God! preserve my mother dear
In health and strength for many a year.
And oh, preserve my father, too,
And may I pay him reverence due;
And may I my best thoughts employ
To be my parents' hope and joy.
And oh, preserve my brothers both,
From evil doings and from sloth;
And may we always love each other,
Our friends, our father, and our mother.
And still, O Lord, to me impart
An innocent and grateful heart,
That after my last sleep I may

Awake to Thine eternal day. Amen.



TURN, turn thy hasty foot aside,
Nor crush that helpless worm:
The frame thy wayward looks deride
Required a God to form.

The common Lord of all that move,
From whom thy being flowed,
A portion of His boundless love
On that poor worm bestowed.

The sun, the moon, the stars He made,
To all His creatures free;

And spreads o'er earth the grassy blade
For worms as well as thee.


Let them enjoy their little day,
Their lowly bliss receive;
Oh! do not lightly take away
The life thou canst not give.

GISBORNE, 1758-1845.


BEFORE the bright sun rises over the hill,
In the corn-fields poor Mary is seen,
Impatient her little blue apron to fill

With the few scattered ears she can glean.

She never leaves off, or goes out of her place
To play, nor to idle or chat,

Except now and then just to wipe her warm face,
And fan herself with her straw hat.

Oh, why not leave off as the others have done,
And sit with them under the tree?

I fear you will faint in the beams of the sun;
How weary and hot you must be !

Oh no, my dear mother lies sick in her bed,
Too feeble to spin or to knit ;

My poor little brothers are crying for bread,
And yet we can't give them a bit.

Then could I be idle, or merry, or play,
While they are so hungry and ill ?

Ah! no, I had rather work hard all the day,
My little blue apron to fill.




LITTLE Jack Toft
Sat up aloft

On the bough of an apple tree.
Little Jane May

Said to him, "Pray

Throw down an apple for me!"

Jack answered, “No ;

All that there grow

Here I shall want for myself;
Any that fall

Yours you may call."
Oh, what a greedy young elf!

Then came a crack-
Crash-and, good lack!

Down tumbled Jacky. But ah!
Kind little Jane

Pitied his pain,

And carried him home to mamma.



ONCE there was a little boy

With curly hair and pleasant eye;
A boy who loved to tell the truth,
And never, never told a lie.

*Taken, together with "The Foolish Mousikin," p. 52, and "Rain," p. 70, from "Jingles and Jokes," by Mr. Tom Hood, and inserted by permission of Messrs. Cassell, Petter, and Galpin.

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