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William Brighty Rands

The Cat of Cats

I am the cat of cats. I am
The everlasting cat!
Cunning, and old, and sleek as jam,
The everlasting cat!
I hunt vermin in the night-
The everlasting cat!
For I see best without the light-
The everlasting cat!

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The Dream of a Boy Who Lived at Nine-Elms

Nine grenadiers, with bayonets in their guns;
Nine bakers' baskets, with hot cross buns;
Nine brown elephants standing in a row;
Nine new velocipedes, good ones to go;
Nine knickerbocker suits, with buttons all complete;
Nine pairs of skates with straps for the feet;
Nine clever conjurors eating hot coals;
Nine sturdy mountaineers leaping on their poles;
Nine little drummer-boys beating on their drums;
Nine fat aldermen sitting on their thumbs;
Nine new knockers to our front door;
Nine new neighbours that I never saw before;
Nine times running I dreamt it all plain;
With bread and cheese for supper I could dream it all again!

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The Flowers

When Love arose in heart and deed
To wake the world to greater joy,
'What can she give me now?' said Greed,
Who thought to win some costly toy.

He rose, he ran, he stoop'd, he clutch'd;
And soon the Flowers, that Love let fall,
In Greed's hot grasp were fray'd and smutch'd,
And Greed said, 'Flowers! Can this be all?'

He flung them down and went his way,
He cared no jot for thyme or rose;
But boys and girls came out to play,
And some took these and some took those—

Red, blue, and white, and green and gold;
And at their touch the dew return'd,
And all the bloom a thousandfold—
So red, so ripe, the roses burn'd!

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The Dream of a Girl Who Lived at Seven-Oaks

Seven sweet singing birds up in a tree;
Seven swift sailing ships white upon the sea;
Seven bright weather-cocks shining in the sun;
Seven slim race-horses ready for a run;
Seven gold butterflies, flitting overhead;
Seven red roses blowing in a garden bed;
Seven white lilies, with honey bees inside them;
Seven round rainbows with clouds to divide them;
Seven pretty little girls with sugar on their lips;
Seven witty little boys, whom everybody tips;
Seven nice fathers, to call little maids joys;
Seven nice mothers, to kiss the little boys;
Seven nights running I dreamt it all plain;
With bread and jam for supper I could dream it all again!

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Cuckoo in the Pear-Tree

The Cuckoo sat in the old pear-tree,
Cuckoo!
Raining or snowing, nought cared he.
Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, nought cared he.

The Cuckoo flew over a housetop high.
Cuckoo!
"Dear, are you at home, for here am I?
Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, here am I."

"I dare not open the door to you.
Cuckoo!
Perhaps you are not the right cuckoo?
Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cukoo, the right Cuckoo!"

"I am the right Cuckoo, the proper one.
Cuckoo!

[...] Read more

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Polly

Brown eyes,
Straight nose;
Dirt pies,
Rumpled clothes;

Torn books,
Spoilt toys;
Arch looks,
Unlike a boy's;

Little rages,
Obvious arts;
(Three her age is,)
Cakes, tarts;

Falling down
Off chairs;
Breaking crown
Down stairs;

[...] Read more

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Great, Wide, Beautiful, Wonderful World

Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful World,
With the wonderful water round you curled,
And the wonderful grass upon your breast--
World, you are beautifully drest.

The wonderful air is over me,
And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree,
It walks on the water, and whirls the mills,
And talks to itself on the tops of the hills.

You friendly Earth! how far do you go,
With the wheat-fields that nod and the rivers that flow,
With cities and gardens, and cliffs, and isles,
And people upon you for thousands of miles?

Ah, you are so great, and I am so small,
I tremble to think of you, World, at all;
And yet, when I said my prayers to-day,
A whisper inside me seemed to say,
"You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot:

[...] Read more

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Topsy-Turvy World

IF the butterfly courted the bee,
And the owl the porcupine;
If churches were built in the sea,
And three times one was nine;
If the pony rode his master,
If the buttercups ate the cows,
If the cats had the dire disaster
To be worried, sir, by the mouse;
If mamma, sir, sold the baby
To a gypsy for half a crown;
If a gentleman, sir, was a lady,—
The world would be Upside-down!
If any or all of these wonders
Should ever come about,
I should not consider them blunders,
For I should be Inside-out!

Chorus

Ba-ba, black wool,

[...] Read more

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Little Ditties I

Winifred Waters sat and sighed
Under a weeping willow;
When she went to bed she cried,
Wetting all the pillow;

Kept on crying night and day,
Till her friends lost patience;
"What shall we do to stop her, pray?"
So said her relations.

Send her to the sandy plains,
In the zone called torrid:
Send her where it never rains,
Where the heat is horrid.

Mind that she has only flour
For her daily feeding;
Let her have a page an hour
Of the driest reading,--

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Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore

Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore —
No doubt you have heard the name before —
Was a boy who never would shut a door!

The wind might whistle, the wind might roar,
And teeth be aching and throats be sore,
But still he never would shut the door.

His father would beg, his mother implore,
'Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore,
We really do wish you would shut the door!'

Their hands they wrung, their hair they tore;
But Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore
Was deaf as the buoy out at the Nore.

When he walked forth the folks would roar,
'Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore,
Why don't you think to shut the door?'

[...] Read more

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