When children are playing alone on the green,
In comes the playmate that never was seen.
When children are happy and lonely and good,
The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.
Nobody heard him and nobody saw,
His is a picture you never could draw,
But he's sure to be present, abroad or at home,
When children are happy and playing alone.
He lies in the laurels, he runs on the grass,
He sings when you tinkle the musical glass;
Whene'er you are happy and cannot tell why,
The Friend of the Children is sure to be by!
He loves to be little, he hates to be big,
'T is he that inhabits the caves that you dig;
'T is he when you play with your soldiers of tin
That sides with the Frenchmen and never can win.
'T is he, when at night you go off to your bed,
Bids you go to your sleep and not trouble you head;
For wherever they're lying, in cupboard or shelf,
'T is he will take care of your playthings himself!
Non sine Dis Animosus Infans
Cum puer in prato vult ludere solus et serenus,
Ludoque felix, tum vidente nullo
Tum subit e silva tacito pede parvulorum amicus;
Sed forma, sed vox, sed latet figura;
Pictori licet haec incognita sint, domi forisque
Soli beato jungitur sodalis.
Hic jacet in lauris, in gramine currit, et canora
Hic voce cantat tinniente vitro.
Si tibi mens soli laetissima, nec patent caussa,
Venisse credas parvulorum amicum.
Esse quidem minimo vult corpore; grandis esse nolit;
Colit cavernas quas fodis; tuorum
Plumbea bellator petit agmina Gallus, et triumphas.
Hic nocte, cum tu jam cubare debes,
Auspice se dicit tutas (tibi nil monet timendum)
Quocumque pupae pegmatum quiescant.
II. My Ship and I
O it's I that am the captain of a tidy little ship,
Of a ship that goes a-sailing on the pond;
And my ship it keeps a-turning all around and all about;
But when I'm a little older, I shall find the secret out
How to send my vessel sailing on beyond.
For I mean to grow as little as the dolly at the helm,
And the dolly I intend to come alive;
And with him beside to help me, it's a-sailing I shall go,
It's a-sailing on the water, when the jolly breezes blow
And the vessel goes a divie-divie dive.
O it's then you'll see me sailing through the rushes and the reeds,
And you'll hear the water singing at the prow;
For beside the dolly sailor, I'm to voyage and explore,
To land upon the island where no dolly was before,
And to fire the penny cannon in the bow.
Fragilemque Mecum Solvat Phaselon
Naviculam mitto nitidam per stagna magister,
Sed verti in gyros semper ubique solet;
Inveniam--dabit hic annus vel proximus--artem
Qua poterit recta cymba natare via.
Pupa reget clavum; fiam non grandior illa;
Pupaque condiscet reddere verba mihi.
Nobile par nautarum ingens iterabimus aequor;
Transiliet ventis acta carina fretum.
Tum calamos tranare ratem juncosque videbis,
Dum sulcat resonum spumea prora vadum.
Insula tum noscet, puparum nescia, nostram,
Cum nos ignotum per mare vela damus.
Torquebit lapidem e prora ballista minacem,
Parvula, sed nobis constitit asse tamen.
III. My Kingdom
Down by a shining water well
I found a very little dell,
No higher than my head.
The heather and the gorse about
In summer blooms were coming out,
Some yellow and some red.
I called the little pool a sea;
The little hills were big to me;
For I am very small.
I made a boat, I made a town,
I searched the caverns up and down,
And named them one and all.
And all about was mine, I said,
The little sparrows overhead,
The little minnows too.
This was the world and I was king;
For me the bees came by to sing,
For me the swallows flew.
I played there were no deeper seas,
Nor any wider plains than these,
Nor other kings than me.
At last I heard my mother call
Out from the house at evenfall,
To call me home to tea.
And I must rise and leave my dell,
And leave my dimpled water well,
And leave my heather blooms.
Alas! and as my home I neared,
How very big my nurse appeared,
How great and cool the rooms!
Hae Latebrae Dulces
Ad puteum invenio vallem; clivique reducti
Vix humeros superant;
Flava genista viget, simul et flos splendet erices
Purpureae per humum.
Hi parvo impendent montes; urbs parvula surgit;
Cymba dolata natat
In stagno; mihi pontus erat; tribuique cavernis
Nomina cuique suum.
Sunt mea regna, inquam; parvis rex piscibus addor,
Mundus erat; regem volitans me novit hirundo,
Murmure mulcet apis;
Regem non alium, mare nullum hoc altius esse,
Rura minora meo
Cetera, sic finxi. Tandem me vespere mater
Alma domum revocat.
Tristior at floresque meos vallemque relinquo
Qua salit unda loquax.
Ut reduci nutrix ingens, ut nostra videtur
Frigida et ampla domus!
IV. Picture-Books in Winter
Summer fading, winter comes--
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.
Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.
All the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the children's eye,
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books.
We may see how all things are,
Seas and cities, near and far,
And the flying fairies' looks,
In the picture story-books.
How am I to sing your praise,
Happy chimney-corner days,
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
Reading picture story-books?
Otium sine Litteris Mors est
Aestas praeterit adventique bruma;
Urit frigore pollices pruina;
Corvorum sibi turma quid facessit?
Vult spectare rubisca per fenestras;
Tu pictis poteris vacare libris.
Stat rivus glacie; putare posses
Nutricem in silice ambulare mecum;
Sed pictis fluit in libris perennis.
Rerum copia quanta pulcriorum est,
Et quidquid pueris valet placere,
Pastores, peda, fraxinos gregesque,
Urbes et maria, exterasque gentes,
Nympharum speciem volaticarum,
In pictis potes invenire libris.
Felicem puerum et dies beatos,
Nostra laude dies beatiores,
Dum sic possit in angulo ad caminum
Pictis se recreare cum libellis.
V. My Treasures
These nuts, that I keep in the back of the nest
Where all my lead soldiers are lying at rest,
Were gathered in autumn by nursie and me
In a wood with a well be the side of the sea.
This whistle we made (and how clearly it sounds!)
By the side of a field at the end of the grounds.
Of a branch of a plane, with a knife of my own,
It was nursie who made it, and nursie alone!
The stone, with the white and the yellow and grey,
We discovered I cannot tell how far away;
And I carried it back although weary and cold,
For though father denies it, I'm sure it is gold.
But of all of my treasures the last is the king,
For there's very few children possess such a thing;
And that is a chisel, both handle and blade,
Which a man who was really a carpenter made.
Intactis Opulentior Thesauris Arabum
In nido recubant nuces virique
(Arma at plumbea, plumbeus maniplus),
Illas ad mare, qua nemus virebat,
Legi, qua puteum potes videre,
Nec nutrix operam suam negabat,
Dum Septembribus evagamur horis.
Illam respice fistulam; sonatque
Argutum satis! Inter arva quondam
Haec facta est prope limitem. Facitque
Nutrix, quae calamos leves recidit,
Nutrix sola, meo sed usa cultro.
Hunc glauco lapidem vides colore,
Flavae quem maculae notant et albae.
Hunc olim procul, a! procul repertum
Aerumna refero geluque tardus.
Etsi incredulus hoc pater refellit,
Aurum maluimus quidem putare.
Thesauri tamen hic tueris ipsum
Florem, delicias decusque nostrum.
Raro nam puero reor datum esse
Scalprum, lamina cui sit apta; et ansam
Vir vere faber arte collocavit.
VI. Block City
What are you able to build with your blocks?
Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
But I can be happy and building at home.
Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
There I'll establish a city for me:
A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride.
Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
A sort of a tower on the top of it all,
And steps coming down in an orderly way
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.
This one is sailing and that one is moored:
Hark to the song of the sailors on board!
And see on the steps of my palace, the kings
Coming and going with presents and things!
Now I have done with it, down let it go!
All in a moment the town is laid low.
Block upon block lying scattered and free,
What is there left of my town by the sea?
Yet as I saw it, I see it again,
The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,
And as long as I live and where'er I may be,
I'll always remember my town by the sea.
Balbus Murum Aedificat
Quid struis laterculis?
Aquas profundunt turbidas procellae
Ceteri foras eant,
Domi beatus construo redemptor
Templa cum palatiis
Casasque. Cernis sigma montis instar;
Sit tapete pro mari;
Nitebit hic urbs, hic mola, hic carinis
Portus, hic palatia
Erunt et aedes splendidae columnis;
Turris insuper novis
Stat alta muris; per gradus at itur
Rite qua dat Noto,
Sed carmina audis laeta navitarum.
Dona per gradus vides
Reges moveri dum ferunt superbos.
Jamque taedet aedium
Et urbis; igne fulmen ut corusco,
Jam citata dextera
Dedit ruinam; per solum cadentes
Manet quid urbis litore in marino?
Templa navitas rates
Domosque videor ut prius videre.
Vita dum superstiti est
Mihi, subibit urbis haec imago.
VII. The Land of Story-Books
At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.
Now with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.
There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.
These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.
I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.
So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backwards looks
At my dear land of Story-books.
Manet Sub Jove Frigido Venator
Jam vesperascit; jamque parentibus
Lychnus paratur; ligna super foco
Ponuntur; at ludos recusant,
Cantibus aut hilares loquella.
Armatus arcu non sine plurimis
Repo sagittis, qua paries nigrat,
Nocturnus in silvas, repertis
Pone torum latebris paternum.
Venator illic, nec videor, catus
Ludo per umbras historias, libris
Siquas in antiquis relegi,
Dum veniat levis hora somni.
Celsique montes et nemus avium,
Stellarum et hic sunt magna silentia,
Raucoque lenimen leoni
Volvit aquas fluvius profundas.
Jam castra cerno (prodidit ignium
Fulgor) parentes qua reficit quies
Secura; at explorator Indus
Invigilo, latitans in herbis.
Me cara nutrix cum vocat ut cubem,
Trans aequor ibo; respiciam tamen
Terras repertas in libellis
Ulterioris amore ripae.
VIII. Armies in the Fire
The lamps now glitter down the street;
Faintly sound the falling feet;
And the blue even slowly falls
About the garden trees and walls.
Now in the falling of the gloom
The red fire paints the empty room:
And warmly on the roof it looks,
And flickers on the backs of books.
Armies march by tower and spire
Of cities blazing, in the fire;--
Till as I gaze with staring eyes,
The armies fade, the lustre dies.
Then once again the glow returns;
Again the phantom city burns;
And down the red-hot valley, lo!
The phantom armies marching go!
Blinking embers, tell me true
Where are those armies marching to,
And what the burning city is
That crumbles in your furnaces!
Plena sunt Imaginum Omnia
Vesper adest; plateis peditum jam turba recessit;
Jam nitet in longis multa lucerna viis;
Jam celant hortos, jam lenta crepuscula muros;
Lapsus per caeli caerula Vesper adest.
Atria per tenebras lustrat, pingitque lacunar
Flamma et dispositos luce micante libros.
Conspicere et videor, sedeo dum parvus ad ignem,
Urbes turritas armaque rubra virum.
Mox ardent urbes; fugiunt mox agmina visum;
Et candore suo nigra favilla caret.
Jam resilit fulgor, jamque urbe flagrante virorum
In rutilis umbras vallibus ire vides.
Quid sibi vult acies? vel quem petit illa locorum?
Quaeve urbs? Carbones, dicite vera mihi!
IX. The Little Land
When at home alone I sit
And am very tired of it,
I have just to shut my eyes
To go sailing through the skies--
To go sailing far away
To the pleasant Land of Play;
To the fairy land afar
Where the Little People are;
Where the clover-tops are trees,
And the rain-pools are the seas,
And the leaves like little ships
Sail about on tiny trips;
And above the daisy tree
Through the grasses,
High o'er head the Bumble Bee
Hums and passes.
In that forest to and fro
I can wander, I can go;
See the spider and the fly,
And the ants go marching by
Carrying parcels with their feet
Down the green and grassy street.
I can in the sorrel sit
Where the ladybird alit.
I can climb the jointed grass;
And on high
See the greater swallows pass
In the sky,
And the round sun rolling by
Heeding no such thing as I.
Through that forest I can pass
Till, as in a looking-glass,
Humming fly and daisy tree
And my tiny self I see,
Painted very clear and neat
On the rain-pool at my feet.
Should a leaflet come to land
Drifting near to where I stand,
Straight I'll board that tiny boat
Round the rain-pool sea to float.
Little thoughtful creatures sit
On the grassy coasts of it;
Little things with lovely eyes
See me sailing with surprise.
Some are clad in armour green--
(These have sure to battle been!)--
Some are pied with ev'ry hue,
Black and crimson, gold and blue;
Some have wings and swift are gone;--
But they all look kindly on.
When my eyes I once again
Open, and see all things plain:
High bare walls, great bare floor;
Great big knobs on drawer and door;
Great big people perched on chairs,
Stitching tucks and mending tears,
Each a hill that I could climb,
And talking nonsense all the time--
O dear me,
That I could be
A sailor on the rain-pool sea,
A climber in the clover tree,
And just come back, a sleepy-head,
Late at night to go to bed.
Parva Sed Apta Mihi
Cum sedeo, taedetque domi solumque sedere,
Lumina si claudo, protinus ales eo.
Tum feror in caelum, liquidumque per aethera vectus
Rura peto ludis commodiora meis;
Rura procul Pygmaea peto, gentemque minutam,
Medica queis silvam bellis et alta facit;
Rura peto, qua pro vasto pluvialia ponto
Stagna jacent; illic frondea cymba natat.
Hic vagor in silvis, qua musca et aranea certant,
Dum polus aetherius murmura mittit apum;
Pondera dum pedibus portat formica ruitque
Qua facilem viridis praebeat herba viam;
Est lapathus statio scarabaeo grataque nobis;
Nodosus, si vis scandere, culmus adest;
Altius in caelo volitat me major hirundo;
Phoebe, procul curris, nec tibi cura mei.
Sic vagor, et stagni mihi reddita in aequore parvi
Magna patet bellis muscaque magna patet.
Parvula et ipsa mihi mea reddita lucet imago;
Effigiem veram dat pluvialis aqua.
Sed mihi si volvunt fluctus ad litora frondem,
Per pluviale fretum navita vela dabo;
Pulcris hic oculis, molli meditantur in herba
Bestiolae, et spectant meque meamque ratem;
Hae virides armis, expertaeque horrida bella;
Plurimus his variat splendida terga color;
Spectat amica cohors, auroque illustris et ostro;
Protinus et, velox est quibus ala, volant.
Tandem oculis rerum formas contemplor apertis,
Imposita et nudo moenia nudo solo;
Ansa fores ingens decorat, neque cista sine ansa est;
Immo instar montis femina quaeque sedet;
Consuit haec tunicam; pannum lacerum illa resarcit;
Dum miscet nugas stulta loquella meras,
Hei! mihi! si possem quos tollit medica ramos
Scandere, et in pluvio fronde natare vado,
Nec mundum petere ingentem dum nocte vocarent
Defessum sera lectus et alta quies.