by Christina G. Rossetti


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Good poetry for children is rare. Few collections, few single poems in fact, survive beyond a few years of popularity. There are exceptions — the poetry and verse of Walter de la Mare, Lewis Carroll, and Edward Lear come to mind. Still rarer is successful children's poetry by a poet known equally for other work, such as Christina Rossetti.
These verses — deceptively simple, light, often like a nursery rhyme in character — consider such topics as childhood activities, children's cruelty and gentleness, roses and wild flowers, nesting birds and farm animals, cold winter and blossoming spring. Many pose riddles and conundrums ("A hill has no leg, but has a foot;/A wine-glass a stem, but not a root").
This is the only edition in print to reproduce the poems with the illustrations which originally accompanied them. Engravings by Arthur Hughes, one of the best-known illustrators of the Victorian era, catch the mood of each verse.
Sing-Song is a fitting name for this collection: many of the verses capture the cadence of the ballad. Children will enjoy their music. Parents will find the simple content and lyrical language of the verses ideal for reading aloud.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486221076
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 06/01/1968
Series: Dover Children's Classics
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 730,910
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 8 - 14 Years

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Dover Publications, Inc.

All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11993-9



    Angels at the foot,
    And Angels at the head,
    And like a curly little lamb
    My pretty babe in bed.

    Love me,—I love you,
    Love me, my baby;
    Sing it high, sing it low,
    Sing it as may be.

    Mother's arms under you,
    Her eyes above you
    Sing it high, sing it low,
    Love me,—I love you.

    My baby has a father and a mother,
    Rich little baby!
    Fatherless, motherless, I know another
    Forlorn as may be:
    Poor little baby!

    Our little baby fell asleep,
    And may not wake again
    For days and days, and weeks and weeks;
    But then he 'll wake again,
    And come with his own pretty look,
    And kiss Mamma again.

    "Kookoorookoo ! kookoorookoo !"
    Crows the cock before the morn;
    "Kikirikee ! kikirikee !"
    Roses in the east are born.

    "Kookoorookoo ! kookoorookoo !"
    Early birds begin their singing;
    "Kikirikee ! kikirikee !"
    The day, the day, the day is springing.

    Baby cry—
    Oh fie !—
    At the physic in the cup:
    Gulp it twice
    And gulp it thrice,
    Baby gulp it up.

    Eight o'clock;
    The postman's knock !
    Five letters for Papa;
    One for Lou,
    And none for you,
    And three for dear Mamma.

    Bread and milk for breakfast,
    And woollen frocks to wear,
    And a crumb for robin redbreast
    On the cold days of the year.

    There's snow on the fields,
    And cold in the cottage,
    While I sit in the chimney nook
    Supping hot pottage.

    My clothes are soft and warm,
    Fold upon fold,
    But I'm so sorry for the poor
    Out in the cold.

    Dead in the cold, a song-singing thrush,
    Dead at the foot of a snowberry bush,—
    Weave him a coffin of rush,
    Dig him a grave where the soft mosses grow,
    Raise him a tombstone of snow.

    I dug and dug amongst the snow,
    And thought the flowers would never grow;
    I dug and dug amongst the sand,
    And still no green thing came to hand.

    Melt, O snow ! the warm winds blow
    To thaw the flowers and melt the snow;
    But all the winds from every land
    Will rear no blossom from the sand.

    A city plum is not a plum;
    A dumb-bell is no bell, though dumb;
    A statesman's rat is not a rat;
    A sailor's cat is not a cat ;
    A soldier's frog is not a frog ;
    A captain's log is not a log.

    Your brother has a falcon,
    Your sister has a flower ;
    But what is left for mannikin,
    Born within an hour?

    I'll nurse you on my knee, my knee,
    My own little son ;
    I'll rock you, rock you, in my arms,
    My least little one.

    Hear what the mournful linnets say:
    "We built our nest compact and warm,
    But cruel boys came round our way
    And took our summerhouse by storm.

    "They crushed the eggs so neatly laid;
    So now we sit with drooping wing,
    And watch the ruin they have made,
    Too late to build, too sad to sing."

    A baby's cradle with no baby in it,
    A baby's grave where autumn leaves drop sere;
    The sweet soul gathered home to Paradise,
    The body waiting here.

    Hop-o'-my-thumb and little Jack Horner,
    What do you mean by tearing and lighting?
    Sturdy dog Trot close round the corner,
    I never caught him growling and biting.

    Hope is like a harebell trembling from its birth,
    Love is like a rose the joy of all the earth;
    Faith is like a lily lifted high and white,
    Love is like a lovely rose the world's delight;
    Harebells and sweet lilies show a thornless growth,
    But the rose with all its thorns excels them both.

    O wind, why do you never rest,
    Wandering, whistling to and fro,
    Bringing rain out of the west,
    From the dim north bringing snow?

    Crying, my little one, footsore and weary?
    Fall asleep, pretty one, warm on my shoulder :
    I must tramp on through the winter night dreary,
    While the snow falls on me colder and colder.

    You are my one, and I have not another;
    Sleep soft, my darling, my trouble and treasure;
    Sleep warm and soft in the arms of your mother,
    Dreaming of pretty things, dreaming of pleasure.

    Growing in the vale
    By the uplands hilly,
    Growing straight and frail,
    Lady Daffadowndilly.

    In a golden crown,
    And a scant green gown
    While the spring blows chilly,
    Lady Daffadown,
    Sweet Daffadowndilly.

    A linnet in a gilded cage,—
    A linnet on a bough,—
    In frosty winter one might doubt
    Which bird is luckier now.

    But let the trees burst out in leaf,
    And nests be on the bough,
    Which linnet is the luckier bird,
    Oh who could doubt it now?

    Wrens and robins in the hedge,
    Wrens and robins here and there;
    Building, perching, pecking, fluttering,
    Everywhere !

    My baby has a mottled fist,
    My baby has a neck in creases;
    My baby kisses and is kissed,
    For he's the very thing for kisses.

    Why did baby die,
    Making Father sigh,
    Mother cry?

    Flowers, that bloom to die,
    Make no reply
    Of "why?"
    But bow and die.


Excerpted from SING-SONG by CHRISTINA G. ROSSETTI, ARTHUR HUGHES. Copyright © 1968 DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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