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AO Poems August AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline Year 1 Poetry Anthology August

Compiled and arranged by the AmblesideOnline Advisory, April, 2005 with revisions made Oct, 2011

     01 At the Sea-side, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
     02 A bird came down the walk, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886
     03 Sea-shell, by Amy Lowell, 1874-1925
     04 The Little Turtle, by Vachel Lindsay, 1879-1931
     05 Laughing Song, by William Blake, 1757-1827
     06 Five Little Chickens, a traditional English rhyme
     07 Seven Times One, by Jean Ingelow, 1820-1897
     08 If No One Ever Marries Me, by Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1836-1912
     09 The Little Elf, by John Kendrick Bangs, 1862-1922
     10 God Moves in Mysterious Ways, by William Cowper 1731-1800
     11 Hopping frog, hop here by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
     12 The Little Green Orchard, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
     13 Let Dogs Delight to Bark and Bite, by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
     14 Choosing A Name, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834
     15 Nod, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956


01 At the Sea-side, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
     To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
     Till it could come no more.


02 A bird came down the walk, by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

A bird came down the walk:
      He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
      And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
      From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
      To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
      That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
      He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
      I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
      And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
      Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
      Leap, splashless, as they swim.


03 Sea-shell, by Amy Lowell, 1874-1925
      from A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, 1912

Sea-shell, Sea-shell,
Sing me a song, oh! Please!
A song of ships, and sailormen,
And parrots, and tropical trees;
Of islands lost in the Spanish Main,
Which no man ever may find again,
Of fishes and corals under the waves,
And seahorses stabled in great green caves.
Oh, Sea-shell, Sea-shell,
Sing of the things you know so well.


04 The Little Turtle, by Vachel Lindsay, 1879-1931
      from The Golden Whales of California, 1923

There was a little turtle.
      He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
      He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
      He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
      And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
      He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
      But he didn't catch me.


05 Laughing Song, by William Blake, 1757-1827

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing 'Ha ha he!'

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of 'Ha ha he!'


06 Five Little Chickens, a traditional English rhyme

Said the first little chicken,
With a strange little squirm,
"I wish I could find
A fat little worm."

Said the second little chicken,
With an odd little shrug,
"I wish I could find
A fat little bug."

Said the third little chicken,
With a sharp little squeal,
"I wish I could find
Some nice yellow meal."

Said the fourth little chicken,
With a sigh of grief,
"I wish I could find
A little green leaf."

Said the fifth little chicken,
With a faint little moan,
"I wish I could find
A wee gravel stone."

"Now see here," said the mother,
From the green garden patch,
"If you want any breakfast,
Just come here and SCRATCH!"


07 Seven Times One, by Jean Ingelow, 1820-1897

There's no dew left on the daisies and clover,
There's no rain left in heaven:
I've said my "seven times" over and over,
Seven times one are seven.

I am old, so old, I can write a letter,
My birthday lessons are done,
The lambs play always, they know no better,
They are only one times one.

O moon! in the night I have seen you sailing
And shining so round and low,
You were bright! ah, bright! but your light is failing--
You are nothing now but a bow.

You moon, have you done something wrong in heaven
That God has hidden your face?
I hope if you have you will soon be forgiven,
And shine again in your place.

O velvet bee, you're a dusty fellow,
You've powdered your legs with gold!
O brave marsh marybuds, rich and yellow,
Give me your money to hold!

O columbine, open your folded wrapper,
Where two twin turtledoves dwell!
O cuckoo-pint, toll me the purple clapper
That hangs in your clear, green bell!

And show me your nest with the young ones in it,
I will not steal them away,
I am old! You may trust me, linnet, linnet--
I am seven times one today.


08 If No One Ever Marries Me, by Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1836-1912

If no one ever marries me--
And I don't see why they should,
For nurse says I'm not very pretty,
And I'm seldom very good--

If no one ever marries me
I shan't mind very much,
I shall buy a squirrel in a cage
And a little rabbit hutch;

I shall have a cottage near a wood,
And a pony all my own
And a little lamb, quite clean and tame,
That I can take to town.

And when I'm getting really old--
At twenty-eight or nine--
I shall buy a little orphan girl
And bring her up as mine.


09 The Little Elf, by John Kendrick Bangs, 1862-1922

I met a little Elf-man, once,
Down where the lilies blow.
I asked him why he was so small,
And why he didn't grow.
He slightly frowned, and with his eye
He looked me through and through.
"I'm quite as big for me," said he,
"As you are big for you."


10 God Moves in Mysterious Ways, By William Cowper, 1731-1800

God moves in a mysterious way
      His wonders to perform
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
      And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
      Of never failing skill
He treasures up his bright designs,
      And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
      The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
      In blessing on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
      But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
      He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
      Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
      But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
      And scan His work in vain:
God is His own interpreter
      And he will make it plain.


11 Hopping frog, hop here and be seen, by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Hopping frog, hop here and be seen,
I'll not pelt you with stick or stone:
Your cap is laced and your coat is green;
Good bye, we'll let each other alone.

Plodding toad, plod here and be looked at,
You the finger of scorn is crooked at:
But though you're lumpish, you're harmless too;
You won't hurt me, and I won't hurt you.


12 The Little Green Orchard, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from Peacock Pie, 1913

Some one is always sitting there,
     In the little green orchard;
Even when the sun is high
In noon's unclouded sky,
And faintly droning goes
The bee from rose to rose,
Some one in shadow is sitting there
     In the little green orchard.

Yes, when the twilight's falling softly
     In the little green orchard;
When the grey dew distills
And every flower-cup fills;
When the last blackbird says,
'What--what!' and goes her way--ssh!
I have heard voices calling softly
     In the little green orchard.

Not that I am afraid of being there,
     In the little green orchard;
Why, when the moon's been bright,
Shedding her lonesome light,
And moths like ghosties come,
And the horned snail leaves home:
I've sat there, whispering and listening there,
     In the little green orchard.

Only it's strange to be feeling there,
     In the little green orchard;
Whether you paint or draw,
Dig, hammer, chop or saw;
When you are most alone,
All but the silence gone
Some one is watching and waiting there,
     In the little green orchard.


13 from Let Dogs Delight to Bark and Bite, by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

Let dogs delight to bark and bite,
     For God hath made them so;
Let bears and lions growl and fight,
     For 'tis their nature too.

But, children, you should never let
     Such angry passions rise;
Your little hands were never made
     To tear each other's eyes.


14 Choosing A Name, by Charles Lamb, 1775-1834

I have got a new-born sister;
I was nigh the first that kissed her.
When the nursing woman brought her
To papa, his infant daughter,
How papa's dear eyes did glisten!--
She will shortly be to christen:
And papa has made the offer,
I shall have the naming of her.

Now I wonder what would please her,
Charlotte, Julia, or Louisa.
Ann and Mary, they're too common;
Joan's too formal for a woman;
Jane's a prettier name beside;
But we had a Jane that died.
They would say, if 'twas Rebecca,
That she was a little Quaker.
Edith's pretty, but that looks
Better in old English books;
Ellen's left off long ago;
Blanche is out of fashion now.

None that I have named as yet
Are so good as Margaret.
Emily is neat and fine.
What do you think of Caroline?
How I'm puzzled and perplext
What to choose or think of next!
I am in a little fever.
Lest the name that I shall give her
Should disgrace her or defame her,
I will leave papa to name her.


15 Nod, by Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956
      from The Listeners and Other Poems, 1912

Softly along the road of evening,
      In a twilight dim with rose,
Wrinkled with age, and drenched with dew,
      Old Nod the shepherd goes.

His drowsy flock streams on before him,
      Their fleeces charged with gold,
To where the sun's last beam leans low
      On Nod the shepherds fold.

The hedge is quick and green with brier,
      From their sand the conies creep;
And all the birds that fly in heaven
      Flock singing home to sleep.

His lambs outnumber a noon's roses,
      Yet, when night shadows fall,
His blind old sheep-dog, Slumber-soon,
      Misses not one of all.

His are the quiet steps of dreamland,
      The waters of no more pain,
His ram's bell rings 'neath an arch of stars,
      "Rest, Rest, and rest again."