A Celebration of Women Writers

Little Ann and Other Poems.
By , , and .
Illustrated by Kate Greenaway, 1846-1901.
London: George Routledge and Sons, 1883.

religion, class, gender, disability



Printed in Colours By
Edmund Evans

young woman in bonnet and long dress pulling two young girls in a wagon

young woman in bonnet and long dress pulling two young girls in a wagon


two young girls sitting in the grass, one with blue bow and one with red








[The Illustrations are Copyright.]

two children frolicking in the grass


blue dotA True Story 7
red dotThe Boys and the Apple-Tree 9
red dotSophia's Fool's-Cap 11
red dotFrances Keeps Her Promise 12
red dotCareless Matilda 14
green dotThe Violet 16
green dotThe Orphan 17
green dotThe Disappointment 18
red dotJames and the Shoulder of Mutton 19
green dotThe Good-Natured Girls 21
blue dotTo a Little Girl that has Told a Lie 22
green dotDirty Jim 24
blue dotMeddlesome Matty 25
red dotThe Butterfly 27
black dotThe Gaudy Flower 28
red dotGeorge and the Chimney-Sweep 29
blue dotDeaf Martha 31
blue dotThe Little Cripple's Complaint 33
black dotNegligent Mary 35
green dotThe Spider 36
blue dotFor a Naughty Little Girl 37
red dotThe Child's Monitor 39
blue dotThe Chatterbox 40
blue dotJane and Eliza 41
green dotSleepy Harry 42
blue dotWashing and Dressing 43
blue dotThe Vulgar Little Lady 44
red dotThe Wooden Doll and the Wax Doll 46
blue dotThe Baby's Dance 48
blue dotThe Pin 49
blue dotThe Cow 50
green dotCome and Play in the Garden 50
green dotLittle Girls Must Not Fret 52
blue dotThe Field Daisy 53
blue dotLearning to Go Alone 54
green dotFinery 55
green dotGreedy Richard 56
green dotThe Holidays 58
green dotThe Village Green 59
green dotMischief 61
blue dotAbout the Little Girl that Beat Her Sister 62
green dotThe Apple-Tree 63

yellow flowers

woman walking with girl in winter clothing


LITTLE Ann and her mother were walking one day
    Through London's wide city so fair,
And business obliged them to go by the way
    That led them through Cavendish Square.

And as they pass'd by the great house of a Lord,
    A beautiful chariot there came,
To take some most elegant ladies abroad,
    Who straightway got into the same.

The ladies in feathers and jewels were seen,
    The chariot was painted all o'er,
The footmen behind were in silver and green,
    The horses were prancing before.

Little Ann by her mother walk'd silent and sad,
    A tear trickled down from her eye,
Till her mother said, "Ann, I should be very glad
    To know what it is makes you cry. "

"Mamma," said the child, "see that carriage so fair,
    All cover'd with varnish and gold,
Those ladies are riding so charmingly there
    While we have to walk in the cold.

"You say GOD is kind to the folks that are good,
    But surely it cannot be true;
Or else I am certain, almost, that He would
    Give such a fine carriage to you. "

"Look there, little girl," said her mother, "and see
    What stands at that very coach door;
A poor ragged beggar, and listen how she
    A halfpenny tries to implore.

"All pale is her face, and deep sunk is her eye,
    And her hands look like skeleton's bones;
She has got a few rags, just about her to tie,
    And her naked feet bleed on the stones."

'Dear ladies,' she cries, and the tears trickle down,
    'Relieve a poor beggar, I pray;
I've wander'd all hungry about this wide town,
    And not ate a morsel to-day.

'My father and mother are long ago dead,
    My brother sails over the sea,
And I've scarcely a rag, or a morsel of bread,
    As plainly, I'm sure, you may see.

'A fever I caught, which was terrible bad,
    But no nurse or physic had I;
An old dirty shed was the house that I had,
    And only on straw could I lie.

'And now that I'm better, yet feeble and faint,
    And famish'd, and naked, and cold,
I wander about with my grievous complaint,
    And seldom get aught but a scold.

'Some will not attend to my pitiful call,
    Some think me a vagabond cheat;
And scarcely a creature relieves me, of all
    The thousands that traverse the street.

'Then ladies, dear ladies, your pity bestow:'–
    Just then a tall footman came round,
And asking the ladies which way they would go,
    The chariot turn'd off with a bound.

"Ah! see, little girl," then her mother replied,
    "How foolish those murmurs have been;
You have but to look on the contrary side,
    To learn both your folly and sin.

"This poor little beggar is hungry and cold,
    No mother awaits her return;
And while such an object as this you behold,
    Your heart should with gratitude burn.

"Your house and its comforts, your food and your friends,
    'Tis favour in GOD to confer,
Have you any claim to the bounty He sends,
    Who makes you to differ from her?

"A coach, and a footman, and gaudy attire,
    Give little true joy to the breast;
To be good is the thing you should chiefly desire,
    And then leave to GOD all the rest."


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.

two children in hats pointing at a tree

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.

"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."

child observing two women sitting facing each other


SOPHIA was a little child,
Obliging, good, and very mild,
Yet lest of dress she should be vain,
Mamma still dress'd her well, but plain.
Her parents, sensible and kind,
Wish'd only to adorn her mind;
No other dress, when good, had she,
But useful, neat simplicity.

Though seldom, yet when she was rude,
Or ever in a naughty mood,
Her punishment was this disgrace,
A large fine cap, adorn'd with lace,
With feathers and with ribbons too;
The work was neat, the fashion new,
Yet, as a fool's-cap was its name,
She dreaded much to wear the same.

A lady, fashionably gay,
Did to mamma a visit pay:
Sophia stared, then whisp'ring said,
"Why, dear mamma, look at her head!
To be so tall and wicked too,
The strangest thing I ever knew:
What naughty tricks, pray, has she done,
That they have put that fool's-cap on? "

five children playing


"MY Fanny, I have news to tell,
    Your diligence quite pleases me;
You've work'd so neatly, read so well,
    With cousin Jane you may take tea.

"But pray remember this, my love,
    Although to stay you should incline,
And none but you should think to move,
    I wish you to return at nine."

With many thanks the attentive child
    Assured mamma she would obey:
Whom tenderly she kiss'd, and smiled,
    And with the maid then went away.

Arrived, the little girl was shown
    To where she met the merry band;
And when her coming was made known,
    All greet her with a welcome bland.

They dance, they play, and sweetly sing,
    In every sport each one partakes;
And now the servants sweetmeats bring,
    With wine and jellies, fruit and cakes.

Then comes papa, who says, "My dears,
    The magic lantern if you'd see,
And that which on the wall appears,
    Leave off your play, and follow me."

While Frances too enjoy'd the sight,
    Where moving figures all combine
To raise her wonder and delight,
    She hears, alas! the clock strike nine.

"Miss Fanny's maid for her is come." –
    "Oh dear, how soon!" the children cry;
They press, but Fanny will go home,
    And bids her little friends good bye.

"See, dear mamma, I have not stay'd;"
    "Good girl, indeed," mamma replies,
"I knew you'd do as you had said,
    And now you'll find you've won a prize.

"So come, my love, and see the man
    Whom I desired at nine to call."
Down stairs young Frances quickly ran,
    And found him waiting in the hall.

"Here, Miss, are pretty birds to buy,
    A parrot or macaw so gay;
A speckled dove with scarlet eye:
    A linnet or a chattering jay.

"Would you a Java sparrow love?"
    "No, no, I thank you," said the child;
"I'll have a beauteous cooing dove,
    So harmless, innocent, and mild."

"Your choice, my Fanny, I commend,
    Few birds can with the dove compare:
But lest it pine without a friend,
    I give you leave to choose a pair."

woman scolding girl sitting with cat on her lap


"AGAIN, Matilda, is your work undone!
Your scissors, where are they? your thimble, gone?
Your needles, pins, and thread and tapes all lost;
Your housewife here, and there your workbag toss'd.

"Fie, fie, my child! indeed this will not do,
Your hair uncomb'd, your frock in tatters, too;
I'm now resolved no more delays to grant,
To learn of her, I'll send you to your aunt."
In vain Matilda wept, entreated, pray'd,
In vain a promise of amendment made.

Arrived at Austere Hall, Matilda sigh'd,
By Lady Rigid when severely eyed:
"You read and write, and work well, as I'm told,
Are gentle, kind, good-natured, and not bold;
But very careless, negligent, and wild–
You'll leave me, as I hope, a different child."

The little girl next morn a favour asks;
"I wish to take a walk."–"Go, learn your tasks,"
Replies her aunt, "nor fruitlessly repine:
Your room you'll leave not till you're call'd to dine."
As there Matilda sat, o'erwhelm'd with shame,
A dame appear'd, Disorder was her name:
Her hair and dress neglected–soil'd her face,
Her mien unseemly, and devoid of grace.

"Here, child, " said she, "my mistress sends you this,
A bag of silks–a flower, not work'd amiss–
A polyanthus bright, and wondrous gay,
You'll copy it by noon, she bade me say."
Disorder grinn'd, and shuffling walk'd away.

Entangled were the silks of every hue,
Confused and mix'd were shades of pink, green, blue;
She took a thread, compared it with the flower:
"To finish this is not within my power.
Well-sorted silks had Lady Rigid sent,
I might have work'd, if such was her intent."
She sigh'd, and melted into sobs and tears:
She hears a step, and at the door appears
A pretty maiden, clean, well-dress'd, and neat,
Her voice was soft, her looks sedate, yet sweet.
"My name is Order: do not cry, my love;
Attend to me, and thus you may improve."
She took the silks, and drew out shade by shade,
In separate skeins, and each with care she laid;
Then smiling kindly, left the little maid.

Matilda now resumes her sweet employ,
And sees the flower complete–how great her joy!

She leaves the room–"I've done my task," she cries;
The lady look'd, and scarce believed her eyes;
Yet soon her harshness changed to glad surprise:
"Why, this is well, a very pretty flower,
Work'd so exact, and done within the hour!
And now amuse yourself, and walk, or play."
Thus pass'd Matilda this much dreaded day.
At all her tasks, Disorder would attend;
At all her tasks, still Order stood her friend.
With tears and sighs her studies oft began,
These into smiles were changed by Order's plan.
No longer Lady Rigid seem'd severe:
The negligent alone her eye need fear.

And now the day, the wish'd-for day, is come,
When young Matilda may revisit home.
"You quit me, child, but oft to mind recall
The time you spent with me at Austere Hall.
And now, my dear, I'll give you one of these
To be your maid–take with you which you please.
What! from Disorder do you frighten'd start?"
Matilda clasp'd sweet Order to her heart,
And said, "From thee, best friend, I'll never part."


DOWN in a green and shady bed,
    A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head
    As if to hide from view.

And yet it was a lovely flower,
    Its colour bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
    Instead of hiding there.

Yet thus it was content to bloom,
    In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused a sweet perfume,
    Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go
    This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
    In sweet humility.

girl in black dress sitting on a stoop


MY father and mother are dead,
    Nor friend, nor relation I know;
And now the cold earth is their bed,
    And daisies will over them grow.

I cast my eyes into the tomb,
    The sight made me bitterly cry;
I said, "And is this the dark room,
    Where my father and mother must lie?"

I cast my eyes round me again,
    In hopes some protector to see;
Alas! but the search was in vain,
    For none had compassion on me.

I cast my eyes up to the sky,
    I groan'd, though I said not a word;
Yet GOD was not deaf to my cry,
    The Friend of the fatherless heard.

For since I have trusted his care,
    And learn'd on his word to depend,
He has kept me from every snare,
    And been my best Father and Friend.

surprised-looking child next to seated woman holding hat


IN tears to her mother poor Harriet came,
    Let us listen to hear what she says:
"O see, dear mamma, it is pouring with rain,
    We cannot go out in the chaise.

"All the week I have long'd for this holiday so,
    And fancied the minutes were hours;
And now that I'm dress'd and all ready to go,
    Do look at those terrible showers!"

"I'm sorry, my dear, " her kind mother replied,
    The rain disappoints us to-day;
But sorrow still more that you fret for a ride,
    In such an extravagant way.

"These slight disappointments are sent to prepare
    For what may hereafter befall;
For seasons of real disappointment and care,
    Which commonly happen to all.

"For just like to-day with its holiday lost,
    Is life and its comforts at best:
Our pleasures are blighted, our purposes cross'd,
    To teach us it is not our rest.

"And when those distresses and crosses appear,
    With which you may shortly be tried,
You'll wonder that ever you wasted a tear
    On merely the loss of a ride.

"But though the world's pleasures are fleeting and vain,
    Religion is lasting and true;
Real pleasure and peace in her paths you may gain,
    Nor will disappointment ensue."


YOUNG Jem at noon return'd from school,
    As hungry as could be,
He cried to Sue, the servant-maid,
    "My dinner give to me."

Said Sue, "It is not yet come home;
    Besides, it is not late."
"No matter that, " cries little Jem,
    "I do not like to wait."

Quick to the baker's Jemmy went
    And ask'd, "Is dinner done?"
"It is," replied the baker's man.
    "Then home with it I'll run."

"Nay, Sir, " replied he prudently,
    "I tell you 'tis too hot,
And much too heavy 'tis for you."
    "I tell you it is not."

"Papa, mamma, are both gone out,
    And I for dinner long;
So give it me, it is all mine,
    And baker, hold your tongue.

"A shoulder 'tis of mutton nice!
    And batter-pudding too;
I'm glad of that, it is so good;
    How clever is our Sue! "

boy dropping box of meat as two women and four other children look on

Now near the door young Jem was come,
    He round the corner turn'd,
But oh, sad fate! unlucky chance!
    The dish his fingers burn'd.

Now in the kennel down fell dish,
    And down fell all the meat:
Swift went the pudding in the stream,
    And sail'd along the street.

The people laugh'd, and rude boys grinn'd
    At mutton's hapless fall;
But though ashamed, young Jemmy cried,
    "Better lose part than all."

The shoulder by the knuckle seized,
    His hands both grasp'd it fast,
And deaf to all their gibes and cries,
    He gain'd his home at last.

"Impatience is a fault," cries Jem,
    "The baker told me true;
In future I will patient be,
    And mind what says our Sue."


TWO good little children, named Mary and Ann,
Both happily live, as good girls always can;
And though they are not either sullen or mute,
They seldom or never are heard to dispute.

two young women carrying closed parasols, out for a walk, one with an arm around the other

If one wants a thing that the other would like–
Well,–what do they do? Must they quarrel and strike?
No, each is so willing to give up her own,
That such disagreements are there never known.

If one of them happens to have something nice,
Directly she offers her sister a slice;
And never, like some greedy children, would try
To eat in a corner with nobody by!

When papa or mamma has a job to be done;
These good little children immediately run;
Nor dispute whether this or the other should go,
They would be ashamed to behave themselves so!

Whatever occurs, in their work or their play,
They are willing to yield, and give up their own way:
Then now let us try their example to mind,
And always, like them, be obliging and kind.

flower detail


AND has my darling told a lie?
Did she forget that GOD was by?
That GOD, who saw the things she did,
From whom no action can be hid;
Did she forget that GOD could see
And hear, wherever she might be?

He made your eyes, and can discern
Whichever way you think to turn;
He made your ears, and he can hear
When you think nobody is near;
In every place, by night or day,
He watches all you do and say.

Oh, how I wish you would but try
To act, as shall not need a lie;
And when you wish a thing to do,
That has been once forbidden you,
Remember that, nor ever dare
To disobey–for GOD is there.

young girl clinging to woman's dress as they pass through gate in a blue fence

Why should you fear the truth to tell?
Does falsehood ever do so well?
Can you be satisfied to know,
There's something wrong to hide below?
No! let your fault be what it may,
To own it is the happy way.

So long as you your crime conceal,
You cannot light and gladsome feel:
Your little heart will seem oppress'd,
As if a weight were on your breast;
And e'en your mother's eye to meet,
Will tinge your face with shame and heat.

Yes, GOD has made your duty clear,
By every blush, by every fear;
And conscience, like an angel kind,
Keeps watch to bring it to your mind:
Its friendly warnings ever heed,
And neither tell a lie–nor need.

woman washing young boy's hand as another woman reaches out to hold his other hand


THERE was one little Jim,
'Tis reported of him,
    And must be to his lasting disgrace,
That he never was seen
With hands at all clean,
    Nor yet ever clean was his face.

His friends were much hurt
To see so much dirt,
    And often they made him quite clean;
But all was in vain,
He got dirty again,
    And not at all fit to be seen.

It gave him no pain
To hear them complain,
    Nor his own dirty clothes to survey:
His indolent mind
No pleasure could find
    In tidy and wholesome array.

The idle and bad,
Like this little lad,
    May love dirty ways, to be sure;
But good boys are seen
To be decent and clean,
    Although they are ever so poor.

young girl holding handkerchief looking up at surprised old woman while pair of glasses lies on floor


ONE ugly trick has often spoil'd
    The sweetest and the best;
Matilda, though a pleasant child,
    One ugly trick possess'd,
Which, like a cloud before the skies,
Hid all her better qualities.

Sometimes she'd lift the tea-pot lid,
    To peep at what was in it,
Or tilt the kettle, if you did
    But turn your back a minute.
In vain you told her not to touch,
Her trick of meddling grew so much.

Her grandmamma went out one day,
    And by mistake she laid
Her spectacles and snuff-box gay
    Too near the little maid;
"Ah! well," thought she, "I'll try them on,
As soon as grandmamma is gone. "

Forthwith she placed upon her nose
    The glasses large and wide;
And looking round, as I suppose,
    The snuff-box too she spied:
"Oh! what a pretty box is that;
I'll open it," said little Matt.

"I know that grandmamma would say,
    'Don't meddle with it, dear;'
But then, she's far enough away,
    And no one else is near:
Besides, what can there be amiss
In opening such a box as this?"

So thumb and finger went to work
    To move the stubborn lid,
And presently a mighty jerk
    The mighty mischief did;
For all at once, ah! woful case,
The snuff came puffing in her face.

Poor eyes, and nose, and mouth, beside
    A dismal sight presented;
In vain, as bitterly she cried,
    Her folly she repented.
In vain she ran about for ease;
She could do nothing now but sneeze.

She dash'd the spectacles away,
    To wipe her tingling eyes,
And as in twenty bits they lay,
    Her grandmamma she spies.
"Heyday! and what's the matter now?"
Says grandmamma, with lifted brow.

Matilda, smarting with the pain,
    And tingling still, and sore,
Made many a promise to refrain
    From meddling evermore.
And 'tis a fact, as I have heard,
She ever since has kept her word.

girl sitting at table writing


THE Butterfly, an idle thing,
Nor honey makes, nor yet can sing,
    As do the bee and bird;
Nor does it, like the prudent ant,
Lay up the grain for times of want,
    A wise and cautious hoard.

My youth is but a summer's day:
Then like the bee and ant I'll lay
    A store of learning by;
And though from flower to flower I rove,
My stock of wisdom I'll improve
    Nor be a butterfly.


WHY does my Anna toss her head,
    And look so scornfully around,
As if she scarcely deign'd to tread
    Upon the daisy-dappled ground?

Does fancied beauty fire thine eye,
    The brilliant tint, the satin skin?
Does the loved glass, in passing by,
    Reflect a graceful form and thin?

woman sitting in garden as girl in hat passes by holding umbrella

Alas! that form, and brilliant fire,
    Will never win beholder's love;
It may, indeed, make fools admire,
    But ne'er the wise and good can move.

So grows the tulip, gay and bold,
    The broadest sunshine its delight;
Like rubies, or like burnish'd gold,
    It shows its petals, glossy bright.

But who the gaudy floweret crops,
    As if to court a sweet perfume!
Admired it blows, neglected drops,
    And sinks unheeded to its doom.

The virtues of the heart may move
    Affections of a genial kind;
While beauty fails to stir our love,
    And wins the eye, but not the mind.

striped yellow and orange tulip


HIS petticoats now George cast off,
    For he ws four years old;
His trousers were of nankeen stuff,
    With buttons bright as gold.
"May I, " said George, "just go abroad,
    My pretty clothes to show?
May I, mamma? but speak the word;"
    The answer was, "No, no."

"Go, run below, George, in the court,
    But go not in the street,
Lest boys with you should make some sport,
    Or gipsies you should meet."
Yet, though forbidden, he went out,
    That other boys might spy,
And proudly there he walk'd about,
    And thought–"How fine am I!"

children playing with hoops in the street with chimneysweep boy in background

But whilst he strutted through the street,
    With looks both vain and pert,
A sweep-boy pass'd, whom not to meet,
    He slipp'd–into the dirt.
The sooty lad, whose heart was kind,
    To help him quickly ran,
And grasp'd his arm, with–"Never mind,
    You're up, my little man."

Sweep wiped his clothes with labour vain,
    And begg'd him not to cry;
And when he'd blacken'd every stain,
    Said, "Little sir, good-bye."
Poor George, almost as dark as sweep,
    And smear'd in dress and face,
Bemoans with sobs, both loud and deep,
    His well-deserved disgrace.

three children staring at old woman with cane


POOR Martha is old, and her hair is turn'd grey,
    And her hearing has left her for many a year;
Ten to one if she knows what it is that you say,
    Though she puts her poor wither'd hand close to her ear.

I've seen naughty children run after her fast,
    And cry, "Martha, run, there's a bullock so bold;"
And when she was frighten'd, –laugh at her at last,
    Because she believed the sad stories they told.

I've seen others put their mouths close to her ear,
    And make signs as if they had something to say;
And when she said, "Master, I'm deaf and can't hear,"
    Point at her and mock her, and scamper away.

Ah! wicked the children poor Martha to tease,
    As if she had not enough else to endure;
They rather should try her affliction to ease,
    And soothe a disorder that nothing can cure.

One day, when those children themselves are grown old,
    And one may be deaf, and another be lame,
Perhaps they may find that some children, as bold,
    May tease them, and mock them, and serve them the same.

Then, when they reflect on the days of their youth,
    A faithful account will their consciences keep,
And teach them, with shame and with sorrow, the truth,
    That "what a man soweth, the same shall he reap."

old-fashioned wash basin and water pump

small child with crutch watching other children running and playing


I'M a helpless cripple child,
    Gentle Christians, pity me;
Once, in rosy health I smiled,
    Blithe and gay as you can be,
And upon the village green
First in every sport was seen.

Now, alas! I'm weak and low,
    Cannot either work or play;
Tottering on my crutches, slow,
    Thus I drag my weary way:
Now no longer dance and sing,
Gaily, in the merry ring.

Many sleepless nights I live,
    Turning on my weary bed;
Softest pillows cannot give
    Slumber to my aching head;
Constant anguish makes it fly
From my heavy, wakeful eye.

And, when morning beams return,
    Still no comfort beams for me:
Still my limbs with fever burn,
    Painful still my crippled knee.
And another tedious day
Passes slow and sad away.

From my chamber-window high,
    Lifted to my easy-chair,
I the village-green can spy,
    Once I used to frolic there,
March, or beat my new-bought drum;
Happy times! no more to come.

There I see my fellows gay,
    Sporting on the daisied turf,
And, amidst their cheerful play,
    Stopp'd by many a merry laugh;
But the sight I scarce can bear,
Leaning in my easy-chair.

Let not then the scoffing eye
    Laugh, my twisted leg to see:
Gentle Christians, passing by,
    Stop awhile, and pity me,
And for you I'll breathe a prayer,
Leaning in my easy-chair.


woman scolding young girl while holding doll


AH, Mary! what, do you for dolly not care?
    And why is she left on the floor?
Forsaken, and cover'd with dust, I declare;
    With you I must trust her no more.

I thought you were pleased, as you took her so gladly,
    When on your birthday she was sent;
Did I ever suppose you would use her so sadly?
    Was that, do you think, what I meant?

With her bonnet of straw you once were delighted,
    And trimm'd it so pretty with pink;
But now it is crumpled, and dolly is slighted:
    Her nurse quite forgets her, I think.

Suppose now–for Mary is dolly to me,
    Whom I love to see tidy and fair–
Suppose I should leave you, as dolly I see,
    In tatters, and comfortless there.

But dolly feels nothing, as you do, my dear,
    Nor cares for her negligent nurse:
If I were as careless as you are, I fear,
    Your lot, and my fault, would be worse.

And therefore it is, in my Mary, I strive
    To check every fault that I see:
Mary's doll is but waxen–mamma's is alive,
    And of far more importance than she.

woman with umbrella and two young girls looking at a spider by a tree


"OH, look at that great ugly spider!" said Ann;
And screaming, she brush'd it away with her fan;
"'Tis a frightful black creature as ever can be,
I wish that it would not come crawling on me. "

"Indeed," said her mother, "I'll venture to say,
The poor thing will try to keep out of your way;
For after the fright, and the fall, and the pain,
It has much more occasion than you to complain.

"But why should you dread the poor insect, my dear?
If it hurt you, there'd be some excuse for your fear;
But its little black legs, as it hurried away,
Did but tickle your arm, as they went, I dare say.

"For them to fear us we must grant to be just,
Who in less than a moment can tread them to dust;
But certainly we have no cause for alarm;
For, were they to try, they could do us no harm.

"Now look! it has got to its home; do you see
What a delicate web it has spun in the tree?
Why here, my dear Ann, is a lesson for you:
Come learn from this spider what patience can do!

"And when at your business you're tempted to play,
Recollect what you see in this insect to-day,
Or else, to your shame, it may seem to be true,
That a poor little spider is wiser than you."

floral detail


MY sweet little girl should be cheerful and mild
    She must not be fretful and cry!
Oh! why is this passion? remember, my child,
    GOD sees you, who lives in the sky.

That dear little face, that I like so to kiss,
    How alter'd and sad it appears!
Do you think I can love you so naughty as this,
    Or kiss you, all wetted with tears?

Remember, though GOD is in Heaven, my love,
    He sees you within and without,
And always looks down, from His glory above,
    To notice what you are about.

woman scolding young girl standing on table while a baby sits on floor

If I am not with you, or if it be dark,
    And nobody is in the way,
His eye is as able your doings to mark,
    In the night as it is in the day.

Then dry up your tears and look smiling again,
    And never do things that are wrong;
For I'm sure you must feel it a terrible pain,
    To be naughty and crying so long.

We'll pray, then, that GOD may your passion forgive,
    And teach you from evil to fly;
And then you'll be happy as long as you live,
    And happy whenever you die.

a red carnation

young girl sitting on the grass outside a gate


THE wind blows down the largest tree,
And yet the wind I cannot see!
Playmates far off, who have been kind,
My thought can bring before my mind;
The past by it is present brought,
And yet I cannot see my thought;
The charming rose scents all the air,
Yet I can see no perfume there.
Blithe Robin's notes how sweet, how clear!
From his small bill they reach my ear,
And whilst upon the air they float,
I hear, yet cannot see a note.
When I would do what is forbid,
By something in my heart I'm chid;
When good, I think, then quick and pat,
That something says, "My child, do that:"
When I too near the stream would go,
So pleased to see the waters flow,

That something says, without a sound,
"Take care, dear child, you may be drown'd:"
And for the poor whene'er I grieve,
That something says, "A penny give."

Thus something very near must be,
Although invisible to me;
Whate'er I do, it sees me still:
O then, good Spirit, guide my will.

woman pouring tea and four children sitting at a table


FROM morning till night it was Lucy's delight
    To chatter and talk without stopping:
There was not a day but she rattled away,
    Like water for ever a-dropping.

No matter at all if the subjects were small,
    Or not worth the trouble of saying,
'Twas equal to her, she would talking prefer
    To working, or reading, or playing.

You'll think now, perhaps, that there would have been gaps,
    If she had not been wonderfully clever:
That her sense was so great, and so witty her pate,
    It would be forthcoming for ever;

But that's quite absurd, for have you not heard
    That much tongue and few brains are connected?
That they are supposed to think least who talk most,
    And their wisdom is always suspected?

While Lucy was young, had she bridled her tongue,
    With a little good sense and exertion,
Who knows, but she might now have been our delight,
    Instead of our jest and aversion?


THERE were two little girls, neither handsome nor plain;
One's name was Eliza, the other's was Jane:
They were both of one height, as I've heard people say,
They were both of one age, I believe, to a day.

'Twas fancied by some, who but slightly had seen them,
That scarcely a difference was there between them;
But no one for long in this notion persisted,
So great a distinction there really existed.

Eliza knew well that she could not be pleasing,
While fretting and fuming, while sulky or teasing;
And therefore in company artfully tried–
Not to break her bad habits, but only to hide.

So when she was out, with much labour and pain,
She contrived to look almost a pleasant as Jane;
But then you might see, that in forcing a smile,
Her mouth was uneasy, and ached all the while.

And in spite of her care, it would sometimes befall,
That some cross event happen'd to ruin it all;
And because it might chance that her share was the worst,
Her temper broke loose, and her dimples dispersed.

But Jane, who had nothing she wanted to hide,
And therefore these troublesome arts never tried,
Had none of the care and fatigue of concealing,
But her face always show'd what her bosom was feeling.

At home or abroad there was peace in her smile,
A cheerful good nature that needed no guile.
And Eliza work'd hard, but could never obtain
The affection that freely was given to Jane.

boy sleeping on couch next to woman sewing and woman standing with candle


"I DO not like to go to bed,"
Sleepy little Harry said;
"Go, naughty Betty, go away,
I will not come at all, I say!"

Oh, silly child! what is he saying?
As if he could be always playing!
Then, Betty, you must come and carry
This very foolish little Harry.

The little birds are better taught,
They go to roosting when they ought:
And all the ducks, and fowls, you know,
They went to bed an hour ago.

The little beggar in the street,
Who wanders with his naked feet,
And has not where to lay his head,
Oh, he'd be glad to go to bed.

woman washing child with towel and basin


AH! why will my dear little girl be so cross,
    And cry, and look sulky, and pout?
To lose her sweet smile is a terrible loss,
    I can't even kiss her without.

You say you don't like to be wash'd and be dress'd,
    But would you not wish to be clean?
Come, drive that long sob from your dear little breast,
    This face is not fit to be seen.

If the water is cold, and the brush hurts your head,
    And the soap has got into your eye,
Will the water grow warmer for all that you've said?
    And what good will it do you to cry?

It is not to tease you and hurt you, my sweet,
    But only for kindness and care,
That I wash you, and dress you, and make you look neat,
    And comb out your tanglesome hair.

I don't mind the trouble, if you would not cry,
    But pay me for all with a kiss;
That's right–take the towel and wipe your wet eye,
    I thought you'd be good after this.

three pears


"BUT, mamma, now, " said Charlotte, "pray, don't you believe
    That I'm better than Jenny, my nurse?
Only see my red shoes, and the lace on my sleeve;
    Her clothes are a thousand times worse.

"I ride in my coach, and have nothing to do,
    And the country folks stare at me so;
And nobody dares to control me but you
    Because I'm a lady, you know.

seated woman talking to child in fancy clothes with red hat, umbrella, and shoes

"Then, servants are vulgar, and I am genteel;
    So really, 'tis out of the way,
To think that I should not be better a deal
    Than maids, and such people ase they."

"Gentility, Charlotte," her mother replied,
    "Belongs to no station or place;
And there's nothing so vulgar as folly and pride,
    Though dress'd in red slippers and lace.

Not all the fine things that fine ladies possess
    Should teach them the poor to despise;
For 'tis in good manners, and not in good dress,
    That the truest gentility lies."

two women and three girls, two of whom are holding dolls


THERE were two friends, a very charming pair,
Brunette the brown, and Blanchidine the fair;
And she to love Brunette did constantly incline,
Nor less did Brunette love sweet Blanchidine.
Brunette in dress was neat, yet always plain;
But Blanchidine of finery was vain.
    Now Blanchidine a new acquaintance made–
A little girl most sumptuously array'd,
In plumes and ribbons, gaudy to behold,
And India frock, with spots of shining gold.
Said Blanchidine, "A girl so richly dress'd,
Should surely be by every one caress'd.
To play with me, if she will condescend,
Henceforth 'tis she alone shall be my friend."
And so for this new friend in silks adorn'd,
Her poor Brunette was slighted, left, and scorn'd.
    Of Blanchidine's vast stock of pretty toys,
A wooden doll her every thought employs,

Its neck so white, so smooth, its cheeks so red–
She kiss'd, she fondled, and she took to bed.
    Mamma now brought her home a doll of wax,
Its hair in ringlets white, and soft as flax;
Its eyes could open and its eyes could shut;
And on it, too, with taste its clothes were put.
"My dear wax doll!" sweet Blanchidine would cry–
Her doll of wood was thrown neglected by.
    One summer's day, 'twas in the month of June,
The sun blazed out all in the heat of noon:
"My waxen doll," she cried, "my dear, my charmer!
What, are you cold? but you shall soon be warmer."
She laid it in the sun–misfortune dire!
The wax ran down as if before the fire!
Each beauteous feature quickly disappear'd,
And melting, left a blank all soil'd and smear'd.
Her doll disfigured, she beheld amazed,
And thus express'd her sorrow as she gazed:
"Is it for you my heart I have estranged
From that I fondly loved, which has not changed?
Just so may change my new acquaintance fine,
For whom I left Brunette, that friend of mine.
No more by outside show will I be lured;
Of such capricious whims I think I'm cured:
To plain old friends my heart shall still be true,
Nor change for every face because 'tis new."
Her slighted wooden doll resumed its charms,
And wronged Brunette she clasp'd within her arms.


woman holding baby in the air with sunflowers in background


DANCE, little baby, dance up high:
Never mind, baby, mother is by;
Crow and caper, caper and crow,
There, little baby, there you go;
Up to the ceiling, down to the ground,
Backwards and forwards, round and round:
Then dance, little baby, and mother shall sing,
While the gay merry coral goes ding-a-ding, ding.

a pincushion


"DEAR me! what signifies a pin!
    I'll leave it on the floor;
My pincushion has others in,
    Mamma has plenty more:
A miser will I never be,"
Said little heedless Emily.

So tripping on to giddy play,
    She left the pin behind,
For Betty's broom to whisk away,
    Or some one else to find;
She never gave a thought, indeed,
To what she might to-morrow need.

Next day a party was to ride,
    To see an air-balloon!
And all the company beside
    Were dress'd and ready soon:
But she, poor girl, she could not stir,
For just a pin to finish her.

'Twas vainly now, with eye and hand,
    She did to search begin;
There was not one–not one, the band
    Of her pelisse to pin!
She cut her pincushion in two,
But not a pin had slidden through!

At last, as hunting on the floor,
    Over a crack she lay,
The carriage rattled to the door,
    Then rattled fast away.
Poor Emily! she was not in,
For want of just–a single pin!

There's hardly anything so small,
    So trifling or so mean,
That we may never want at all,
    For service unforseen:
And those who venture wilful waste,
May woeful want expect to taste.


THANK you, pretty cow, that made
Pleasant milk to soak my bread,
Every day and every night,
Warm, and fresh, and sweet, and white.

Do not chew the hemlock rank,
Growing on the weedy bank;
But the yellow cowslips eat;
They perhaps will make it sweet.

Where the purple violet grows,
Where the bubbling water flows,
Where the grass is fresh and fine,
Pretty cow, go there to dine.

bowl with spoon


LITTLE sister, come away,
And let us in the garden play,
For it is a pleasant day.

On the grass-plat let us sit,
Or, if you please, we'll play a bit,
And run about all over it.

But the fruit we will not pick,
For that would be a naughty trick,
And very likely make us sick.

Nor will we pluck the pretty flowers
That grow about the beds and bowers,
Because you know they are not ours.

two young girls, one with small wagon, playing in a garden in front of a brick wall

We'll take the daisies, white and red,
Because mamma has often said
That we may gather then instead.

And much I hope we always may
Our very dear mamma obey,
And mind whatever she may say.

floral detail

sad girl sitting on woman's lap with her arms around her neck


WHAT is it that makes little Emily cry?
Come then, let mamma wipe the tear from her eye:
There–lay down your head on my bosom–that's right,
And now tell mamma what's the matter to-night.

What! Emmy is sleepy, and tired with play?
Come, Betty, make haste then, and fetch her away;
But do not be fretful, my darling; you know
Mamma cannot love little girls that are so.

She shall soon go to bed and forget it all there–
Ah! here's her sweet smile come again, I declare:
That's right, for I thought you quite naughty before.
Good night, my dear child, but don't fret any more.

two girls holding hands playing in a field


I'M a pretty little thing,
Always coming with the spring;
In the meadows green I'm found,
Peeping just above the ground,
And my stalk is cover'd flat
With a white and yellow hat.

Little Mary, when you pass
Lightly o'er the tender grass,
Skip about, but do not tread
On my bright but lowly head,
For I always seem to say,
"Surely winter's gone away."

woman kneeling next to small child walking


COME, my darling, come away,
Take a pretty walk to-day;
Run along, and never fear,
I'll take care of baby dear:
Up and down with little feet,
That's the way to walk, my sweet.

Now it is so very near,
Soon she'll get to mother dear.
There she comes along at last:
Here's my finger, hold it fast:
Now one pretty little kiss,
After such a walk as this.

two daffodils


IN an elegant frock, trimm'd with beautiful lace,
And hair nicely curl'd, hanging over her face,
Young Fanny went out to the house of a friend,
With a large little party the evening to spend.

"Ah! how they will all be delighted, I guess,
And stare with surprise at my handsome new dress!"
Thus said the vain girl, and her little heart beat,
Impatient the happy young party to meet.

But, alas! they were all too intent on their play
To observe the fine clothes of this lady so gay,
And thus all her trouble quite lost its design;–
For they saw she was proud, but forgot she was fine.

'Twas Lucy, though only in simple white clad,
(Nor trimmings, nor laces, nor jewels, she had,)
Whose cheerful good-nature delighted them more
Than Fanny and all the fine garments she wore.

'Tis better to have a sweet smile on one's face,
Than to wear a fine frock with an elegant lace,
For the good-natured girl is loved best in the main,
If her dress is but decent, though ever so plain.

boy standing in front of counter at a bakery


"I THINK I want some pies this morning,"
Said Dick, stretching himself and yawning;
So down he threw his slate and books,
And saunter'd to the pastry-cook's.

And there he cast his greedy eyes
Round on the jellies and the pies,
So to select, with anxious care,
The very nicest that was there.

At last the point was thus decided:
As his opinion was divided
'Twixt pie and jelly, being loth
Either to leave, he took them both.

Now Richard never could be pleased
To stop when hunger was appeased,
But would go on to eat still more
When he had had an ample store.

"No, not another now," said Dick;
"Dear me, I feel extremely sick:
I cannot even eat this bit;
I wish I had not tasted it."

Then slowing rising from his seat,
He threw his cheesecake in the street,
And left the tempting pastry-cook's
With very discontented looks.

Just then a man with wooden leg
Met Dick, and held his hat to beg;
And while he told his mournful case,
Look'd at him with imploring face.

Dick, wishing to relieve his pain,
His pockets search'd, but search'd in vain;
And so at last he did declare,
He had not left a farthing there.

The beggar turn'd with face of grief,
And look of patient unbelief,
While Richard now his folly blamed,
And felt both sorry and ashamed.

"I wish," said he (but wishing's vain),
"I had my money back again,
And had not spent my last, to pay
For what I only threw away.

"Another time, I'll take advice,
And not buy things because they're nice;
But rather save my little store,
To give to those who want it more."

loaf of bread

three children in winter clothing, one of whom is holding a book and frowning


"AH! don't you remember, 'tis almost December,
    And soon will the holidays come;
Oh, 'twill be so funny, I've plenty of money,
    I'll buy me a sword and a drum."

Thus said little Harry, unwilling to tarry,
    Impatient from school to depart;
But we shall discover, this holiday lover
    Knew little what was in his heart.

For when on returning, he gave up his learning,
    Away from his sums and his books,
Though playthings surrounded, and sweetmeats abounded,
    Chagrin still appear'd in his looks.

Though first they delighted, his toys were now slighted,
    And thrown away out of his sight;
He spent every morning in stretching and yawning,
    Yet went to bed weary at night.

He had not that treasure which really makes pleasure,
    (A secret discover'd by few).
You'll take it for granted, more playthings he wanted;
    Oh no–it was something to do.

We must have employment to give us enjoyment
    And pass the time cheerfully away;
And study and reading give pleasure, exceeding
    The pleasures of toys and of play.

To school now returning–to study and learning
    With eagerness Harry applied;
He felt no aversion to books or exertion,
    Nor yet for the holidays sigh'd.

multicolored ball and birdie


ON the cheerful village green,
    Skirted round with houses small,
All the boys and girls are seen,
    Playing there with hoop and ball.

Now they frolic hand in hand,
    Making many a merry chain;
Then they form a warlike band,
    Marching o'er the level plain.

Now ascends the worsted ball,
    High it rises in the air,
Or against the cottage wall,
    Up and down it bounces there.

Then the hoop, with even pace,
    Runs before the merry throngs;
Joy is seen in every face,
    Joy is heard in cheerful songs.

group of children of varying ages playing

Rich array, and mansions proud,
    Gilded toys, and costly fare,
Would not make the little crowd
    Half so happy as they are.

Then, contented with my state,
    Where true pleasure may be seen,
Let me envy not the great,
    On a cheerful village green.

pitcher with violets


LET those who're fond of idle tricks,
Of throwing stones, and hurling bricks,
    And all that sort of fun,
Now hear a tale of idle Jim,
That warning they may take by him,
    Nor do as he has done.

In harmless sport or healthful play
He did not pass his time away,
    Nor took his pleasure in it;
For mischief was his only joy:
No book, or work, or even toy,
    Could please him for a minute.

A neighbour's house he'd slyly pass,
And throw a stone to break the glass,
    And then enjoy the joke!
Or, if a window open stood,
He'd throw in stones, or bits of wood,
    To frighten all the folk.

If travellers passing chanced to stay,
Of idle Jim to ask the way,
    He never told them right;
And then, quite harden'd in his sin,
Rejoiced to see them taken in,
    And laugh'd with all his might.

He'd tie a string across the street,
Just to entangle people's feet,
    And make them tumble down:
Indeed, he was disliked so much,
That no good boy would play with such
    A nuisance to the town.

At last the neighbours, in despair,
This mischief would no longer bear:
    And so–to end the tale,
This lad, to cure him of his ways,
Was sent to spend some dismal days
    Within the county jail.



GO, go, my naughty girl, and kiss
    Your little sister dear;
I must not have such things as this,
    And noisy quarrels here.

woman with baby on her lap frowning at two little girls

What! little children scratch and fight,
    That ought to be so mild;
Oh! Mary, it's a shocking sight
    To see an angry child.

I can't imagine, for my part,
    The reason for your folly;
She did not do you any hurt
    By playing with your dolly.

See, see, the little tears that run
    Fast from her watery eye:
Come, my sweet innocent, have done,
    'Twill do no good to cry.

Go, Mary, wipe her tears away,
    And make it up with kisses:
And never turn a pretty play
    To such a pet as this is.



OLD John had an apple-tree, healthy and green,
Which bore the best codlins that ever were seen,
    So juicy, so mellow, and red;
And when they were ripe, he disposed of his store,
To children or any who pass'd by his door,
    To buy him a morsel of bread.

Little Dick, his next neighbour, one often might see,
With longing eye viewing this fine apple-tree,
    And wishing a codlin might fall:
One day as he stood in the heat of the sun,
He began thinking whether he might not take one,
    And then he look'd over the wall.

And as he again cast his eye on the tree,
He said to himself, "Oh, how nice they would be,
    So cool and refreshing to-day!
The tree is so full, and one only I'll take,
And John cannot see if I give it a shake,
    And nobody is in the way.

But stop, little boy, take your hand from the bough,
Remember, though John cannot see you just now,
    And no one to chide you is nigh,
There is One, who by night, just as well as by day,
Can see all you do, and can hear all you say,
    From his glorious throne in the sky.

O then little boy, come away from the tree,
Lest tempted to this wicked act you should be:
    'Twere better to starve than to steal;
For the great GOD, who even through darkness can look,
Writes down every crime we commit, in His book;
    Nor forgets what we try to conceal.

three apples on a branch

About This Edition

Provenance of the Text

Little Ann and Other Poems contains poems by Ann Taylor (1782-1866), Jane Taylor (1783-1824), Isaac Taylor (1759-1829), and Adelaide O'Keeffe (1776-1855). It was illustrated by Kate Greenaway (1846-1901) and published in 1883. Both text and illustrations are in the public domain.

The copytext for this on-line edition is a first edition, property of the Carnegie Public Library of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Because of the delicacy of the original, it was not possible to use it for scanning. Some of the illustrations have been scanned in from reproductions. Scanned illustrations may differ somewhat in size and apparent coloration from the originals.

The table of contents originally listed titles in two paralle lists showing titles and pages. The text of Little Ann and Other Poems does not indicate the authorship of individual poems in the collection. However, earlier publications sometimes indicated who wrote each poem. I have annotated the table of contents, using colored dots, to show this information. Most of the poems originally appeared in Original Poems for Infant Minds (1805) by Ann and Jane Taylor and Adelaide O'Keeffe, where authors were identified for each poem, with the textual notations given below. Other poems originally appeared in Rhymes for the Nursery (1806) where they were not identified by author. Attributions for the poems are based on the exceptional Taylor resource: The Taylors of Ongar: An Analytical Bio-Bibliography by Christina Duff Stewart, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York & London, 1975. Stewart identifies authorship of Rhymes for the Nursery, based on a copy belonging to Canon Isaac Taylor, which was annotated to indicate the respective authorship of Ann and Jane. (Canon Isaac was the nephew of Jane and Ann; a son of their brother, Isaac Taylor of Stanford Rivers.) Stewart also confirms attributions of Original Poems based on publisher's records.

The writers are identified as:
"Jane" : green dot Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
"A.T." : blue dot Ann Taylor (1782-1866)
"T." : black dot attributed to Rev. Isaac Taylor (1759-1829), Ann and Jane's father.
"Adelaide" : red dot Adelaide O'Keeffe (1776-1855), another young poet writing for the same publishers.