A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Boys and the Apple-Tree." by Adelaide O'Keeffe (1776-1855)
Publication: Taylor, Jane & Taylor, Ann. Little Ann and Other Poems. London, New York: George Routledge & Sons, 1883. pp. 9-11.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

THE BOYS AND THE APPLE-TREE.

As William and Thomas were walking one day,
  They came by a fine orchard's side:
They would rather eat apples than spell, read, or play,
  And Thomas to William then cried:

"O brother, look yonder! what clusters hang there!
  I'll try and climb over the wall:
I must have an apple; I will have a pear;
  Although it should cost me a fall!"

Said William to Thomas, "To steal is a sin,
  Mamma has oft told this to thee:
I never have stolen, nor will I begin,
  So the apples may hang on the tree. "

"You are a good boy, as you ever have been,"
  Said Thomas, "let's walk on, my lad:
We'll call on our schoolfellow, Benjamin Green,
  Who to see us I know will be glad.

[Page 10]

They came to the house, and ask'd at the gate,
  "Is Benjamin Green now at home?"
But Benjamin did not allow them to wait,
  And brought them both into the room.

And he smiled, and he laugh'd, and caper'd with joy,
  His little companions to greet:
"And we too are happy, " said each little boy,
  "Our playfellow dear thus to meet. "

"Come, walk in our garden, this morning so fine,
  We may, for my father gives leave;
And more, he invites you to stay here and dine:
  And a most happy day we shall have!"

But when in the garden, they found 'twas the same
  They saw as they walk'd in the road;
And near the high wall when those little boys came,
  They started as if from a toad:

"That large ring of iron, you see on the ground,
  With terrible teeth like a saw,"
Said their friend, "the guard of our garden is found,
  And it keeps all intruders in awe.

[Page 11]

"If any the warning without set at naught,
  Their legs then this man-trap must tear:"
Said William to Thomas, "So you'd have been caught,
  If you had leapt over just there. "

Cried Thomas in terror of what now he saw,
  "With my faults I will heartily grapple;
For I learn what may happen by breaking a law,
  Although but in stealing an apple. "

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom