Our Little Ghost by Louisa May Alcott
Oft in the silence of the night,
When the lonely moon rides high,
When wintry winds are whistling,
And we hear the owl's shrill cry;
In the quiet, dusky chamber,
By the flickering firelight,
Rising up between two sleepers,
Comes a spirit all in white.
A winsome little ghost it is,
Rosy-cheeked and bright of eye,
With yellow curls all breaking loose
From the small cap pushed awry;
Up it climbs among the pillows,
For the 'big gark' brings no dread,
And a baby's busy fancy
Makes a kingdom of a bed.
A fearless little ghost it is;
Safe the night as is the day;
The lonely moon to it is fair,
The sighing winds to it are gay.
The solitude is full of friends,
And the hour brings no regrets,
For in this happy little soul
Shines a sun that never sets.
A merry little ghost it is,
Dancing gayly by itself
On the flowery counterpane,
Like a tricksy household elf;
Nodding to the fitful shadows
As they flicker on the wall,
Talking to familiar pictures,
Mimicking the owl's shrill call.
A thoughtful little ghost it is;
And when lonely gambols tire,
With chubby hands on chubby knees,
Sits winking at the fire;
Fancies innocent and lovely
Shine before those baby eyes;
Sunny fields of dandelions,
Brooks, and birds, and butterflies.
A loving little ghost it is,
When crept into its nest,
Its hand on father's shoulder laid,
Its head on mother's breast,
It watches each familiar face
With a tranquil, trusting eye,
And, like a sleepy little bird,
Sings its own soft lullaby.
Then those who feigned to sleep before,
Lest baby play till dawn,
Wake and watch their folded flower,
Little rose without a thorn!
And in the silence of the night,
The hearts that love it most,
Pray tenderly above its sleep,
'God bless our little ghost!'
= = = = = = = = = =
There was an Old Person of Philae by Edward Lear
There was an Old Person of Philae,
Whose conduct was scroobious and wily;
He rushed up a Palm,
When the weather was calm,
And observed all the ruins of Philae.
= = = = = = = = = =
Twice Times by A. A. Milne
There were Two Little Bears who lived in a Wood,
And one of them was Bad and the other was Good.
Good Bear learnt his Twice Times One -
But Bad Bear left all his buttons undone.
They lived in a Tree when the weather was hot,
And one of them was Good, and the other was Not.
Good Bear learnt his Twice Times Two -
But Bad Bear's thingummies were worn right through.
They lived in a Cave when the weather was cold,
And they Did, and they Didn't Do, what they were told.
Good Bear learnt his Twice Times Three -
But Bad Bear never had his hand-ker-chee.
They lived in the Wood with a Kind Old Aunt,
And one said 'Yes'm,' and the other said 'Shan't!'
Good Bear learnt his Twice Times Four -
But Bad Bear's knicketies were terrible tore.
And then quite suddenly (just like Us)
One got Better and the other got Wuss.
Good Bear muddled his Twice Times Three -
But Bad Bear coughed in his hand-ker-chee!
Good Bear muddled his Twice Times Two -
But Bad Bear's thingummies looked like new.
Good Bear muddled his Twice Times One -
But Bad Bear never left his buttons undone.
There may be a Moral, though some say not;
I think there's a moral, though I don't know what.
But if one gets better, as the other gets wuss,
These Two Little Bears are just like Us.
For Christopher remembers up to Twice Times Ten ...
But I keep forgetting where I put my pen.*
* So I have had to write this one in pencil.
= = = = = = = = = =
The Nutcrackers and the Sugar-Tongs by Edward Lear
The Nutcrackers sate by a plate on the table,
The Sugar-tongs sate by a plate at his side;
And the Nutcrackers said, 'Don't you wish we were able
'Along the blue hills and green meadows to ride?
'Must we drag on this stupid existence for ever,
'So idle so weary, so full of remorse,--
'While every one else takes his pleasure, and never
'Seems happy unless he is riding a horse?
'Don't you think we could ride without being instructed?
'Without any saddle, or bridle, or spur?
'Our legs are so long, and so aptly constructed,
'I'm sure that an accident could not occur.
'Let us all of a sudden hop down from the table,
'And hustle downstairs, and each jump on a horse!
'Shall we try? Shall we go! Do you think we are able?'
The Sugar-tongs answered distinctly,'Of course!'
So down the long staircase they hopped in a minute,
The Sugar-tongs snapped, and the Crackers said 'crack!'
The stable was open, the horses were in it;
Each took out a pony, and jumped on his back.
The Cat in a fright scrambled out of the doorway,
The Mice tumbled out of a bundle of hay,
The brown and white Rats, and the black ones from Norway,
Screamed out, 'They are taking the horses away!'
The whole of the household was filled with amazement,
The Cups and the Saucers danced madly about,
The Plates and the Dishes looked out of the casement,
The Saltcellar stood on his head with a shout,
The Spoons with a clatter looked out of the lattice,
The Mustard-pot climbed up the Gooseberry Pies,
The Soup-ladle peeped through a heap of Veal Patties,
And squeaked with a ladle-like scream of surprise.
The Frying-pan said, 'It's an awful delusion!'
The Tea-kettle hissed and grew black in the face;
And they all rushed downstairs in the wildest confusion,
To see the great Nutcracker-Sugar-tong race.
And out of the stable, with screamings and laughter,
(Their ponies were cream-coloured, speckled with brown,)
The Nutcrackers first, and the Sugar-tongs after,
Rode all round the yard, and then all round the town.
They rode through the street, and they rode by the station,
They galloped away to the beautiful shore;
In silence they rode, and 'made no observation',
Save this: 'We will never go back any more!'
And still you might hear, till they rode out of hearing,
The Sugar-tongs snap, and the Crackers say 'crack!'
Till far in the distance their forms disappearing,
They faded away. -- And they never came back!
= = = = = = = = = =
SPOTS OF GREECE by Edward Lear
Papa once went to Greece,
And there I understand
He saw no end of lovely spots
About that lovely land.
He talks about these spots of Greece
To both Mama and me
Yet spots of Greece upon my dress
They can't abear to see!
I cannot make it out at alló
If ever on my Frock
They see the smallest Spot of Greece
It gives them quite a shock!
Henceforth, thereforeóto please them both
These spots of Greece no more
Shall be upon my frock at alló
Nor on my Pinafore.