Poetry for Children



Queen of my tub, I merrily sing,
While the white foam raises high,
And sturdily wash, and rinse, and wring,
And fasten the clothes to dry;
Then out in the free fresh air they swing,
Under the sunny sky.

I wish we could wash from our hearts and our souls
The stains of the week away,
And let water and air by their magic make
Ourselves as pure as they;
Then on the earth there would be indeed
A glorious washing day!

Along the path of a useful life
Will heart\'s-ease ever bloom;
The busy mind has no time to think
Of sorrow, or care, or gloom;
And anxious thoughts may be swept away
As we busily wield a broom.

I am glad a task to me is given
To labor at day by day;
For it brings me health, and strength, and hope,
And I cheerfully learn to say-
\"Head, you may think; heart, you may feel;
But hand, you shall work always!\"

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Louisa May Alcott

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Huge and alert, irascible yet strong,
We make our fitful way 'mid right and wrong.
One time we pour out millions to be free,
Then rashly sweep an empire from the sea!
One time we strike the shackles from the slaves,
And then, quiescent, we are ruled by knaves.
Often we rudely break restraining bars,
And confidently reach out toward the stars.

Yet under all there flows a hidden stream
Sprung from the Rock of Freedom, the great dream
Of Washington and Franklin, men of old
Who knew that freedom is not bought with gold.
This is the Land we love, our heritage,
Strange mixture of the gross and fine, yet sage
And full of promise destined to be great.
Drink to Our Native Land! God Bless the State!

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Robert Bridges

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When Freedom, from her mountain height,
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there!
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure celestial white
With streakings of the morning light,
Then, from his mansion in the sun,
She called her eagle-bearer down,
And gave into his mighty hand
The symbol of her chosen land!

Majestic monarch of the cloud!
Who rear'st aloft thy regal form,
To hear the tempest-tramping loud,
And see the lightning-lances driven,
When stride the warriors of the storm,
And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven!
Child of the sun! to thee 'tis given
To guard the banner of the free,
To hover in the sulphur smoke,
To ward away the battle stroke,
And bid its blendings shine afar,
Like rainbows on the cloud of war,
The harbingers of victory!

Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly,
The sign of hope and triumph high!
When speaks the signal-trumpet tone,
And the long line comes gleaming on,
(Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet,
Has dimmed the glist'ning bayonet),
Each soldier's eye shall brightly turn
To where thy meteor-glories burn,
And, as his springing steps advance,
Catch war and vengeance from the glance!
And when the cannon-mouthings loud
Heave in wild wreaths the battle-shroud,
And gory sabres rise and fall,
Like shoots of flame on midnight's pall!
There shall thy victor-glances glow,
And cowering foes shall shrink beneath,
Each gallant arm that strikes below,
The lovely messenger of death.

Flag of the seas! on ocean's wave
Thy star shall glitter o'er the brave;
When Death, careering on the gale,
Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail,
And frighted waves rush wildly back
Before the broadside's reeling rack,
The dying wanderer of the sea
Shall look, at once, to heaven and thee,
And smile, to see thy splendors fly,
In triumph, o'er his closing eye.

Flag of the free heart's hope and home,
By angel hands to valor given!
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all thy hues were born in heaven!

[And fixed as yonder orb divine,
That saw thy bannered blaze unfurled,
Shall thy proud stars resplendent shine,
The guard and glory of the world.]

Forever float that standard sheet!
Where breathes the foe but falls before us?
With Freedom's soil beneath our feet,
And Freedom's banner streaming o'er us!

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Joseph Rodman Drake

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Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fatal lightning of his terrible swift sword:
His Truth is marching on.

have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
an read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps.
His Day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel:
As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.\'

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat:
Oh! be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Julia Ward Howe

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Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming,
Snatched from the altars of insolent foes,
Burning with star-fires, but never consuming,
Flash its broad ribbons of lily and rose.

Vainly the prophets of Baal would rend it,
Vainly his worshippers pray for its fall;
Thousands have died for it, millions defend it,
Emblem of justice and mercy to all;

Justice that reddens the sky with her terrors,
Mercy that comes with her white-handed train,
Soothing all passions, redeeming all errors,
Sheathing the sabre and breaking the chain.

Borne on the deluge of all usurpations,
Drifted our Ark o\'er the desolate seas,
Bearing the rainbow of hope to the nations,
Torn from the storm-cloud and flung to the breeze!

God bless the Flag and its loyal defenders,
While its broad folds o\'er the battle-field wave,
Till the dim star-wreath rekindle its splendors,
Washed from its stains in the blood of the brave!

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Oliver Wendell Holmes

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You may talk o\' gin and beer
When you\'re quartered safe out \'ere,
An\' you\'re sent to penny-fights an\' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An\' you\'ll lick the bloomin\' boots of \'im that\'s got it.
Now in Injia\'s sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin\' of \'Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was \"Din! Din! Din!
You limpin\' lump o\' brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! slippery hitherao!
Water, get it! Panee lao!
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.\"

The uniform \'e wore
Was nothin\' much before,
An\' rather less than \'arf o\' that be\'ind,
For a piece o\' twisty rag
An\' a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment \'e could find.
When the sweatin\' troop-train lay
In a sidin\' through the day,
Where the \'eat would make your bloomin\' eyebrows crawl,
We shouted \"Harry By!\"
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped \'im \'cause \'e couldn\'t serve us all.
It was \"Din! Din! Din!
You \'eathen, where the mischief \'ave you been?
You put some juldee in it
Or I\'ll marrow you this minute
If you don\'t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!\"

\'E would dot an\' carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An\' \'e didn\'t seem to know the use o\' fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin\' nut,
\'E\'d be waitin\' fifty paces right flank rear.
With \'is mussick on \'is back,
\'E would skip with our attack,
An\' watch us till the bugles made \"Retire\",
An\' for all \'is dirty \'ide
\'E was white, clear white, inside
When \'e went to tend the wounded under fire!
It was \"Din! Din! Din!\"
With the bullets kickin\' dust-spots on the green.
When the cartridges ran out,
You could hear the front-files shout,
\"Hi! ammunition-mules an\' Gunga Din!\"

I shan\'t forgit the night
When I dropped be\'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should \'a\' been.
I was chokin\' mad with thirst,
An\' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin\', gruntin\' Gunga Din.
\'E lifted up my \'ead,
An\' he plugged me where I bled,
An\' \'e guv me \'arf-a-pint o\' water-green:
It was crawlin\' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I\'ve drunk,
I\'m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was \"Din! Din! Din!
\'Ere\'s a beggar with a bullet through \'is spleen;
\'E\'s chawin\' up the ground,
An\' \'e\'s kickin\' all around:
For Gawd\'s sake git the water, Gunga Din!\"

\'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An\' a bullet come an\' drilled the beggar clean.
\'E put me safe inside,
An\' just before \'e died,
\"I \'ope you liked your drink\", sez Gunga Din.
So I\'ll meet \'im later on
At the place where \'e is gone --
Where it\'s always double drill and no canteen;
\'E\'ll be squattin\' on the coals
Givin\' drink to poor damned souls,
An\' I\'ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I\'ve belted you and flayed you,
By the livin\' Gawd that made you,
You\'re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Rudyard Kipling

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I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Borne, like a vapor, on the summer air;
I see her tripping where the bright streams play,
Happy as the daisies that dance on her way.
Many were the wild notes her merry voice would pour,
Many were the blithe birds that warbled them o\'er:
Oh! I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Floating, like a vapor, on the soft summer air.

I long for Jeanie with the daydawn smile,
Radiant in gladness, warm with winning guile;
I hear her melodies, like joys gone by,
Sighing round my heart o\'er the fond hopes that die:
Sighing like the night wind and sobbing like the rain,
Wailing for the lost one that comes not again:
Oh! I long for Jeanie, and my heart bows low,
Never more to find her where the bright waters flow.

I sigh for Jeanie, but her light form strayed
Far from the fond hearts round her native glade;
Her smiles have vanished and her sweet songs flown,
Flitting like the dreams that have cheered us and gone.
Now the nodding wild flowers may wither on the shore
While her gentle fingers will cull them no more:
Oh! I sigh for Jeanie with the light brown hair,
Floating, like a vapor, on the soft summer air.

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Stephen Foster

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And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England\'s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England\'s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England\'s green and pleasant land.

Category: Poetry for Children Author: William Blake

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Oh! say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming;
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze o'er the towering steep
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam;
Its full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is the band who so vauntingly swore,
'Mid the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country they'd leave us no more?
Their blood hath washed out their foul footsteps' pollution;
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation;
Blessed with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, "In God is our trust":
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Francis Scott Key

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My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a da?s of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

Category: Poetry for Children Author: Christina Rossetti

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