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WIMIFRED BRUDOHALL

by

Walter de la Mare

This new edition of “A Child’s Day,” which was first published in England in 1912, is sure to find its place quickly with American children, side by side with the author’s “Peacock Pie”and“Down-Adown-Derry.”

Henry Holt and Company



A CHILDJ DAY

SSI A Book, of Rhyteie/’ 88

^WALTER DE1AMAEE

Witfj illustratiozy £y WINIFRED BRUOQHALL

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TiEWYQRR HENR.Y HULT AND OT4PANY

AUTHORIZED EDITION

Firsl Printing May, IQ23 Second Printing June, IQ23

THE PLIMPTON PRESS NORWOOD* MASS - U-S* A

A CHILD’S DAY

A CHILD’S DAY

I sang a song to Rosamond Rose Only the wind in the twilight knows:

I sang a song to Jeanetta Jennie,

She flung from her window a silver penny:

I sang a song to Matilda May,

She took to her heels and ran away:

I sang a song to Susannah Sue,

She giggled the whole of the verses through:

1

A CHILD’S DAY

But nevertheless, as sweet as I can,

I'll sing a song to Elizabeth Ann —

The same little Ann as there you see Smiling as happy as happy can be.

And all that my song is meant to say Is just what she did one long, long day, With her own little self to play with only, Yet never once felt the least bit lonely.

2

_ /s^

A CHILD'S DAY

Softly, drowsily,

Out of sleep;

Into the world again Ann’s eyes peep;

Over the pictures Across the walls One little quivering Sunbeam falls.

A thrush in the garden Seems to say,

Wake, little Ann,

’Tis day, ’tis day!

Faint sweet breezes The casement stir, Breathing of pinks And lavender.

At last from her pillow, ' With cheeks bright red, Up comes her round little Tousled head;

And out she tumbles From her warm bed.

A CHILD'S DAY

Little birds bathe In the sunny dust. Whether they want to, Or not, they must.

Seal and Walrus And Polar Bear One green icy Wash-tub share. Alligator,

Nor Hippopot-Amus ever His bath forgot.

Out of his forest The Elephant tramps

A CHILD’S DAY

To squirt himself In his gloomy swamps.

On crackling fins From the deep sea fly Flying-fish into The air to dry.

Silver Swans In shallows green Their dew-bespangled Pinions preen.

And all day long Wash Duck and Drake In their duckweed pond — For washing’s sake.

So, in her lonesome, Slippety, bare,

Elizabeth Ann’s

Splash — splashing there;

And now from the watery

Waves amonje

Stands slooshing herself

With that ’normous sponge.

9

Puma, Panther, Leopard, and Lion Nothing but green grass have to dry on, Seals and Walruses in a trice Flick their water-drops into Ice;

11

A CHILD'S DAY

Back to his forests the Elephant swings Caked in mud against bites and stings;

As for the plump Hippopotamus,

He steams himself dry to save a fuss;

And the bird that cries to her mate Quack, Quack! Is oily by nature if not by knack,

So the water pearls off her beautiful back.

But sailing the world’s wide ocean round,

In a big broad bale from Turkey bound,

All for the sake of Elizabeth Ann This towel’s been sent by a Mussulman,

And with might and main she must rub — rub — rub —

Till she’s warm and dry from her morning tub.

12

Now twelve above,

And twice six beneath,

She must polish and polish Her small, sharp teeth.

13

A CHILD’S DAY

The picture, you see, Entirely fails To show how nicely She’s nipped her nails.

But it’s perfectly clear With what patient care She has drawn back neatly Her smooth brown hair.

All tiresome things,

I’m bound to say,

For beasts just scratch Their claws away.

And never from Egypt Up to Rome Walked monkey using An ivory comb.

But there, Ann dear,

You’d rather.be A slim-tailed mermaid In the sea:

And she has only One small care —

To sleek and sleek and sleek Her hair.

14


Here all we see Is Ann’s small nose, A smile, two legs, And ten pink toes, Neatly arranged In two short rows.

17

The Queen of Arabia, Uanjinee,

Slaves to dress her had thirty-three; Eleven in scarlet, eleven in rose,

Eleven in orange, as every one knows; And never was lady lovelier than she — The Queen of Arabia, Uanjinee.

18

Yet — though, of course, ’twould be vain to tell a Nother word about Cinderella —

Except for a Mouse on the chimney shelf,

She put on her slippers quite —- quite by herself, And I can’t help thinking the greater pleasure Is to dress in haste, and look lovely at leisure. Certainly summer or winter, Ann Always dresses as quick as she can.

19

A CHILD'S DAY

And there she is (on the other side),

The last button buttoned, the last tape tied.

Her silky hair has perched upon it A flat little two-stringed linen bonnet.

Each plump brown leg that comes out of her frock Hides its foot in a shoe and a sock.

20


But what we wear — O dearie me I —

Is naught but a patch upon what we be.

And rags and tatters often hide A brave little body bunched up inside.

And one thing’s certain; nobody knows

The Good from the Wicked by just their Clothes.

A CHILD’S DAY

England over,

And all June through, Daybreak’s peeping At half-past two. Roses and dewdrops Begin to be Wonderful lovely At half-past three. Gulls and cormorants

24

A CHILD'S DAY

The ravening birds In the farmer’s ricks Are hungry for luncheon At half-past six.

While all the pigs From York to Devon Have finished their wash Before half-past seven. But Elizabeth Ann Gets up so late She has only begun At half-past eight To gobble her porridge up —

Hungry soul —

Tucked up in a bib, Before her bowl.

A CHILD'S DAY

Thousands of years ago,

In good King George’s isles,

Forest — to forest — to forest spread,

For miles and miles and miles.

All kinds of beasts roamed there,

Drank of Teviot and Thames,

Beasts of all shapes and sizes and colors, But without any names.

And snug and shag in his coat,

With green little eyes aglare,

Trod on his paws, with tapping of claws, The beast men now call Bear;

Lurched on his legs and stole Out of the rifts in the trees All the sweet oozy summer-sun comb Of the poor little bees;

Sat in the glades and caught Flies by the hour,

Munched ’em up, just like a dog,

Sweet with the sour.

26

But Time, she nods her head —

Like flights of the butterfly,

Mammoths fade through her hours;

And Man draws nigh.

And it’s ages and ages ago;

Felled are the forests, in ruin;

Gone are the thickets where lived on his lone Old Bruin.

29

A CHILD'S DAY

When safe into the fields Ann got,

She chose a dappled, shady spot,

Beside a green, rush-bordered pool,

Where, over water still and cool,

The little twittering birds did pass,

Like shadows in a looking glass.

Ann slily looked this way, and that;

And then took off her shady hat.

She peeped — and peeped; off came her frock, Followed in haste by shoe and sock.

Then softly, slowly, down she went To where the scented rushes bent,

And all among the fishes put Like a great giant, her little foot,

And paddled slowly to and fro Each little tiny thirsty toe.

Then dabbling in the weeds she drew Her fingers the still water through,

Trying in vain with groping hand To coax a stickleback to land;

But when she had nearly housed him in, Away he’d dart on flickering fin,

The softly wavering stalks between.

30


Then back she climbed into the meadow, And sitting in the sun-flecked shadow, Safely beside old Bruin again,

She wreathed a dainty daisy chain; Please to look and see it there,

Dangling in her fleecy hair.

33

Ij

Soon after in her garden,

While playing with her ball,

Ann heard a distant music On the other side of the wall —

A far-off singing, shrill and sweet,

In the still and sunshine day,

And these the words were of the song That voice did sing and say:—

35

A CHILD’S DAY

“Happy, happy it is to be

Where the greenwood hangs o’er the dark blue sea

To roam in the moonbeams clear and still

And dance with the elves

Over dale and hill;

To taste their cups, and with them roam The fields for dewdrops and honeycomb.

Climb then, and come, as quick as you can, And dwell with the fairies, Elizabeth Ann!”

Ann held her ball, and listened;

The faint song died away;

And it seemed it was a dream she’d dreamed In the hot and sunshine day;

She heard the whistling of the birds,

The droning of the bees;

And then once more the singing came,

And now the words were these:—

37

A CHILD’S DAY

“Never, never, comes tear or sorrow,

In the mansions old where the fairies dwell;

But only the harping of their sweet harp-strings, And the lonesome stroke of a distant bell, Where upon hills of thyme and heather,

The shepherd sits with his wandering sheep; And the curlew wails, and the skylark hovers Over the sand where the conies creep;

Climb then, and come, as quick as you can, And dwell with the fairies, Elizabeth Ann!”

38


A CHILD’S DAY

And just as Ann a-tiptoe crept,

Under the old green wall,

To where a stooping cherry tree Grew shadowy and tall;

Above the fairy’s singing Hollow and shrill and sweet,

That seemed to make her heart stand still, And then more wildly beat,

Came Susan’s voice a-calling “Ann!

Come quick as you are able;

And wash your grubby hands, my dear, For dinner’s on the table!”

A CHILD’S DAY

There was an old woman who lived in the Fens Who had for her breakfast two nice fat hens.

There was an old woman who lived at Licke Whatever she gobbled up gobbled up quick.

There was an old woman who lived at Bow Who waited until her guests should go.

There was an old woman who lived at Ware Supped on red-currant jelly and cold jugged hare.

There was an old woman who lived at Bury Who always ate in a violent hurry.

There was an old woman who lived at Flint Fed her sheep on parsley, her lambs on mint.

42

A CHILD'S DAY

There was an old woman who lived at Cork Lunched with her nevvy on peas and pork.

There was an old woman who lived at Greenwich Went out with a candle to cut herself spinach.

There was an old woman who lived at Hull Who never stopped eating till she was full.

There was an old woman who lived at Diss Who couldn’t abide greens, gristle, or grease.


There was an old woman who lived at Thame Who ate up the courses just as they came.

There was an old woman who lived at Tring At meals did nothing but laugh and sing.


43

There was an old woman who lived at Steep Who still munched on though fast asleep.

There was an old woman who lived at Wick Whose teeth did nothing but clash and click.

There was an old woman who lived at Lundy Always had hash’for dinner on Monday.

There was an old woman who lived at Dover Threw to her pigs whatever was over.

But this little morsel of morsels here —

Just what it is is not quite clear:

It might be pudding, it might be meat,

Cold, or hot, or salt, or sweet;

Baked, or roasted, or broiled, or fried;

Bare, or frittered, or puddinged, or pied; Cooked in a saucepan, jar, or pan —

But it’s all the same to Elizabeth Ann.

For when one’s hungry it doesn’t much matter So long as there’s something on one’s platter.

45

Now fiel O fie! How sly a face! Half greedy joy, and half disgrace; O foolish Ann, O greedy finger,

To long for that forbidden ginger!

47

O Ann, the story I could tell! —

What horrid, horrid things befell Two gluttonous boys who soft did creep, While Cook was in her chair asleep,

49

A CHILD’S DAY

Into a cupboard, there to make A feast on stolen tipsy-cake —

Which over night they had hid themselves,

On one of her store cupboard shelves;

They ate so much, they ate so fast,

They both were sadly stuffed at last.

Drowsy and stupid, blowsed and blown,

In sluggish sleep they laid them down,

And soon rose up a stifled snore From where they huddled on the floor.

And, presently, Cook, passing by,

Her cupboard door ajar did spy,

And that all safe her stores might be,

Turned with her thumb the noiseless key.

Night came with blackest fears to wrack Those greedy knaves (named Dick and Jack). They woke; and in the stuffy gloom Waited in vain for Cook to come.

They dared not knock, or kick, or shout,

Not knowing who might be about The days dragged on. Their parents said, ‘‘Poor Dick and Jack; they must be dead!” Hungrier and hungrier they grew;

They searched the darksome cupboard through; Candles, and soda, salt, and string,

Soap, glue — they ate up everything:

50

A CHILD’S DAY

Nothing but shadows they seemed to be, Gnawing a stick of wood for tea.

At length, at last, alas! alack!

Jack looked at Dick; and Dick at Jack; And in his woe each famished brother Turned in the dusk and ate the other.

So when Cook came to open the door, Nothing was there upon the floor;

As with her candle she stood there, Ceiling to floor the place was bare;

Not even a little heap of bones That had been two fat brothers once!

A CHILD'S DAY

And see! That foolish Ann’s forgot To put the cover on the pot;

And also smeared — the heedless ninny — Her sticky fingers on her pinny.

And, O dear me! without a doubt,

Mamma has found the culprit out.

And Ann is weeping many a tear;

And shame has turned her back, poor dear; Lonely and angry, in disgrace,

She’s hiding her poor mottled face.

But ginger now will tempt in vain;

She’ll never, never taste again.

52


But as when April showers are gone Shines out again the beauteous sun,

So, too, Ann’s sobbing “Sorry” said,

She was as quickly comforted:

And here, upon the stroke of three,

Half-way ’twixt dinner-time and tea,

Cosily tucked in her four-legged chair,

With nice clean hands and smooth brushed hair, In some small secret nursery nook,

She sits with her big Picture Book.

55

A CHILD'S DAY

There Puss in Boots, with sidelong eye

And bushy tail goes mincing by;

Peering into an empty cupboard

With her old Dog stoops Mother Hubbard;


Beside a bushy bright-green Wood Walks with the Wolf Red Ridinghood;

In their small Cottage the Three Bears, Each at his bowl of Porridge stares;


There’s striking Clock — and scampering Mouse; The King of Hearts’ cool Counting-house;

56

A CHILD’S DAY

There a Fine Lady rides all day,

But never, never rides away;

While Jack and Jill for ever roll;

And drinks to his Fiddlers Old King Cole.

And though Ann’s little busy head Can’t quite get down from A to Z, She is content to sit and look At her bright-colored Picture book.

57

A CHILD’S DAY

As soon as ever twilight comes,

Ann creeps upstairs to pass,

With one tall candle, just an hour Before her looking-glass.

She rummages old wardrobes in,

Turns dusty boxes out;

And nods and curtseys, dances, sings,

And hops and skips about.

Her candle’s lean long yellow beam Shines softly in the gloom,

And through the window’s gathering night Stars peep into the room.

58


Ages and ages and ages ago,

Ann’s great-grandmother dressed just so; In a big poke-bonnet, a Paisley shawl, Climbed into her coach to make a call; And over the cobble-stones jogged away, To drink with her daughter a dish of tay.

61

A CHILD’S DAY

Then nice little boys wore nankeen breeches;

And demure little girls with fine silk stitches Learned to make samplers of beasts and birds And ever so many most difficult words.

Then Anns and Matildas and Sams and Dicks Were snoring in blankets long before six.

And every night with a tallow candle,

And a warming-pan with a four-foot handle,

The maids came up to warm the bed (And burnt a great hole in the sheet instead). Then pretty maids blushed, and said, “My nines!” At hundreds of thousands of Valentines.

Then never came May but danced between Robin and Marion, Jack-in-the-Green;

Then saged and onioned, and stewed in its juice, To table on Michaelmas Day sailed Goose; Gunpowder Treason and Plot to remember, Bonfires blazed on the fifth of November;

And never the Waits did a-carolling go In less than at least a yard of snow.

So — poor little Ann a sigh must smother Because she isn’t her great-grandmother.

62


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But now, dear me! What’s this we see? A dreadful G — H— O — S — T!

65

A CHILD’S DAY

A-glowering with A chalk-white face Out of some dim And dismal place.

Oh, won’t poor Nurse Squeal out, when she Comes up, that dreadful Shape to see!

She’ll pant and say,

“O la! Miss Ann,

I thought you was A bogey-man!

Now! look at them Untidy clo’es!

And, did you ever,

What a nose!

If you was in A smock, Miss Ann,

They’d take you for The Miller’s man.

To see the mischief You have done,

And me not twenty minutes gone!”

66

“But now, my dear, for gracious sake,

Eat up this slice of currant cake;

Though, certain sure, you’ll soon be screaming For me to come — and find you dreaming.

67

A CHILD'S DAY

In my young days in bed we’d be Once we had swallowed down our tea.

And cake! — we’d dance if mother spread A scrap of butter on our bread!

Except my brother, little Jack,

Who was, poor mite, a humptyback.

But there! times change; he’s grown a man; And I’m no chick meself, Miss Ann.

Now, don’t ’ee move a step from here,

I sha’n’t be gone for long, my dear!”

But soon as Nurse’s back was turned Ann's idle thumbs for mischief yearned.

See now, those horrid scissors, oh,

If they should slip an inch or so!

If Ann should jog or jerk — suppose They snipped off her small powdery nose!

If she should sneeze, or cough, or laugh, They might divide her quite in half;

They might this best of little daughters Slice into four quite equal quaughters.

And though she plagues her nurse, poor soul, She’d much prefer Miss Mischief whole, Would wring her hands in sad distraction O’er each belov’d but naughty fraction.

68

This then had been our last, last rhyme, Had Nurse not just returned in time. For when Ann heard her on the stairs She hid in haste those wicked shears; And there as meek as “Little Jimmie” Was seated smiling in her shimmie.

69

The King in slumber when he lies down Hangs up in a cupboard his golden crown;

The Lord High Chancellor snores in peace Out of his Garter and Golden Fleece;

No Plenipotentiary lays him flat Till he’s dangled on bedpost his gold Cockhat; And never to attic has Page-boy mounted Before his forty-four buttons are counted;

70

But higgledy-piggledy Slovenly Ann Jumps out of her clothes As fast as she can;

And with frock, sock, shoe Flung anywhere,

Slips from dressedupedness Into her bare.

71

A CHILD'S DAY

Now, just as when the day began,

Without one clo’, sits little Ann,

A-toasting in this scant attire Her cheeks before the nursery fire.

Golden palaces there she sees,

With fiery fountains, flaming trees;

Through darkling arch and smouldering glen March hosts of little shimmering men,

To where beneath the burning skies A blazing salamander lies,

Breathing out sparks and smoke the while He watches them with hungry smile.

72


A CHILD'S DAY

Now, through the dusk With muffled bell The Dustman comes The world to tell,

Night’s elfin lanterns Burn and gleam In the twilight, wonderful World of Dream.

Hollow and dim Sleep’s boat doth ride, Heavily still At the waterside.

Patter, patter,

The children come, Yawning and sleepy,

Out of the gloom.

75

A CHILD’S DAY

Like droning bees In a garden green,

Over the thwarts They clamber in.

And lovely Sleep With long-drawn oar Turns away

From the whispering shore.

Over the water Like roses glide Her hundreds of passengers Packed inside,

To where in her garden Tremble and gleam The harps and lamps Of the World of Dream.

i

76


LOB LIE BY THE FIRE

He squats by the fire On his three-legged stool, When all in the house With slumber are full.

79

A CHILD'S DAY

And he warms his great hands, Hanging loose from each knee, And he whistles as soft As the night wind at sea.

For his work is now done;

All the water is sweet;

He has turned each brown loaf, And breathed magic on it.

The milk in the pan,

And the bacon on beam

He has “spelled” with his thumb,

And bewitched has the dream.

Not a mouse, not a moth,

Not a spider but sat,

And quaked as it wondered What next he’d be at.

But his heart, O, his heart —

It belies his great nose;

And at gleam of his eye Not a soul would suppose

80

A CHILD'S DAY

He had stooped with great thumbs, And big thatched head,

To tuck his small mistress More snugly in bed.

Who would think, now, a throat So lank and so thin Might make birds seem to warble In the dream she is ini

Now, hunched by the fire,

While the embers burn low,

He nods until daybreak,

And at daybreak he’ll go.

Soon the first cock will ’light From his perch and point high His beak at the Ploughboy Grown pale in the sky;

And crow will he shrill;

Then, meek as a mouse,

Lob will rouse up and shuffle Straight out of the house.

81

A CHILD'S DAY

His supper for breakfast;

For wages his work;

And to warm his great hands Just an hour in the mirk.

82

tr3s>

Sadly, O sadly, the sweet bells of Baddeley Played in their steeples when Robin was gone, Killed by an arrow,

Shot by Cock Sparrow,

Out of a Maybush, fragrant and wan.

83

A CHILD'S DAY

Grievedly, grievedly, tolled distant Shieveley, When the Dwarfs laid poor Snow-white asleep on the hill,

Drowsed by an apple,

The Queen, sly and subtle,

Had cut with her knife on the blossomy sill.

O then, mourn Baddeley; O then, toll Shieveley; This brief day now over; Life’s but a span.

Tell how my heart aches, Tell how my heart breaks, To bid now farewell To Elizabeth Ann.

84


A CHILD'S DAY

Lullay O, lullaby,

Sing this sad roundelay,

Muted the strings;

Since Sorrow began,

The World’s said goodbye, Ann, And so too, must I, Ann;

Child of one brief day,

Elizabeth Ann.

87



Illustrated in color and line by Dorothy P. Lathrop

BOOKS OF POETRY FOR CHILDREN BY


WALTER DE LA MARE


“A collection of fairy poems by the greatest romantic poet now living in England . . . illustrated by a young American artist who is able to meet him on his own ground and really collaborate with him.”—Llewellyn Jones.

Illustrated in color and line by W. Heath Robinson

‘Contains more inspired and unforgettable nursery rhymes and nonsense lyrics than were ever collected anywhere except in Mother Goose’s own anthology.”—Louis TJntermeyer.

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

19 WEST 44th STREET    NEW    YORK