Friday, November 10, 2006

Tommy's First Speaker

Pieces Suitable for Little Boys to Recite
Baby Is A Sailor
Baby is a sailor boy,
Swing, cradle, swing;
Sailing is the sailor's joy,
Swing, cradle, swing.
Snowy sails and precious freight,
Swing, cradle, swing.
Baby's captain, mother's mate,
Swing, cradle, swing.
Bird's Nests
If ever I see,
On bush or tree,
Young birds in a pretty nest,
I must not, in play,
Steal the young birds away,
To grieve their mother's breast.
My mother, I know,
Would sorrow so,
Should I be stolen away;
So I'll speak to the birds,
In my softest words,
Nor hurt them in my play.
Boys Wanted
Boys of spirit, boys of will,
Boys of muscle, brain and power,
Fit to cope with anything,-
These are wanted every hour.
Not the weak and whining drones,
Who all troubles magnify;
Not the watchword of "I can't,"
But the nobler one, "I'll try."
Do whate'er you have to do
With a true and earnest zeal;
Bend your sinews to the task,
"Put your shoulder to the wheel."
Though your duty may be hard,
Look not on it as an ill;
If it be an honest task,
Do it wil an honest will.
In the workshop, on the farm,
At the desk, where'er you be,
From your future efforts, boys,
Comes a nation's destiny.
Did Not Pass
For Many a Good Boy
"So, John, I hear you did not pass;
You were the lowest in your class,
Got not a prize of merit,
But grumbling now is no avail;
Just tell me how you came to fail,
With all your sense and spirit?"
"Well, sir, I missed, 'mong other things,
The list of Egypt's shepherd kings
(I wonder who does know it.)
An error of three years I made
In dating England's first crusade;
And, as I am no poet,
"I got Euripides all wrong,
And could not write a Latin song;
And as for Roman history,
With Hun and Vandal, Goth and Gaul
And Gibbon's weary 'Rise and Fall',
"Twas all a hopeless mystery.
"But, father, do not fear or sigh
If 'Cram' does proudly pass me by,
And pedagogues ignore me;
I've common sense, I've will and health,
I'll win my way to honest wealth;
The world is all before me.
"And though I'll never be a Grecian,
Know Roman laws or art Phoenician,
Or sing of love and beauty,
I'll plow, or build, or sail, or trade,
And you need never be afraid
But that I'll do my duty."
-Mary E. Burnett

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