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Preface The Romantic poets rediscovered a pastoral and Biblical dream: that a child was the most innocent and the wisest of us all. Wordsworth hailed him as "Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!" And in the next generation Victorian novelists took that dream seriously enough to make children the heroes and heroines of their most searching fictions. There had been no "children's literature" to speak of before, except for the oral and "popular" tradition,... more...

THE THREE CHERRY TREES There were three cherry trees once,Grew in a garden all shady;And there for delight of so gladsome a sight,Walked a most beautiful lady,Dreamed a most beautiful lady. Birds in those branches did sing,Blackbird and throstle and linnet,But she walking there was by far the most fair—Lovelier than all else within it,Blackbird and throstle and linnet. But blossoms to berries do come,All hanging on stalks light and... more...

UP AND DOWN   Down the Hill of Ludgate,     Up the Hill of Fleet,  To and fro and East and West     With people flows the street;  Even the King of England     On Temple Bar must beat  For leave to ride to Ludgate     Down the Hill of Fleet. MRS. EARTH   Mrs. Earth makes silver... more...

CHAPTER I On the borders of the Forest of Munza-mulgar lived once an old grey fruit-monkey of the name of Mutt-matutta. She had three sons, the eldest Thumma, the next Thimbulla, and the youngest, who was a Nizza-neela, Ummanodda. And they called each other for short, Thumb, Thimble, and Nod. The rickety, tumble-down old wooden hut in which they lived had been built 319 Munza years before by a traveller, a Portugall or Portingal, lost in the... more...

CHAPTER ONE The churchyard in which Arthur Lawford found himself wandering that mild and golden September afternoon was old, green, and refreshingly still. The silence in which it lay seemed as keen and mellow as the light—the pale, almost heatless, sunlight that filled the air. Here and there robins sang across the stones, elvishly shrill in the quiet of harvest. The only other living creature there seemed to Lawford to be his own rather... more...


Oh, what land is the Land of Dream? —WILLIAM BLAKE. I lived, then, in the great world once, in an old, roomy house beside a little wood of larches, with an aunt of the name of Sophia. My father and mother died a few days before my fourth birthday, so that I can conjure up only fleeting glimpses of their faces by which to remember what love was then lost to me. Both were youthful at death, but my Aunt Sophia was ever elderly. She was... more...

THE FAIRIES DANCING I heard along the early hills,Ere yet the lark was risen up,Ere yet the dawn with firelight fillsThe night-dew of the bramble-cup,—I heard the fairies in a ringSing as they tripped a lilting roundSoft as the moon on wavering wing.The starlight shook as if with sound,As if with echoing, and the starsPrankt their bright eyes with trembling gleamsWhile red with war the gusty MarsRained upon earth his ruddy beams.He shone... more...

SLEEPYHEAD As I lay awake in the white moonlight,I heard a faint singing in the wood,      "Out of bed,      Sleepyhead,    Put your white foot, now;      Here are we      Beneath the tree    Singing round the root now." I looked out of window, in the white moonlight,The leaves were like... more...

THEY TOLD ME They told me Pan was dead, but I  Oft marvelled who it was that sangDown the green valleys languidly  Where the grey elder-thickets hang. Sometimes I thought it was a bird  My soul had charged with sorcery;Sometimes it seemed my own heart heard  Inland the sorrow of the sea. But even where the primrose sets  The seal of her pale loveliness,I found amid the violets  Tears... more...