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- Love-Songs of Childhood - 1/10 -


Love-Songs of Childhood

by Eugene Field

To Mrs. Belle Angler

Dearest Aunt:

Many years ago you used to rock me to sleep, cradling me in your arms and singing me petty songs. Surely you have not forgotten that time, and I recall it with tenderness. You were very beautiful then. But you are more beautiful now; for, in the years that have come and gone since then, the joys and the sorrows of maternity have impressed their saintly grace upon the dear face I used to kiss, and have made your gentle heart gentler still.

Beloved lady, in memory of years to be recalled only in thought, and in token of my gratitude and affection, I bring you these little love-songs, and reverently I lay them at your feet.

Eugene Field Chicago, November 1, 1894

THE LOVE-SONGS

By Eugene Field

THE ROCK-A-BY LADY "BOOH"! GARDEN AND CRADLE THE NIGHT WIND KISSING TIME JEST 'FORE CHRISTMAS BEARD AND BABY THE DINKEY-BIRD THE DRUM THE DEAD BABE THE HAPPY HOUSEHOLD So, so, ROCK-A-BY SO! THE SONG OF LUDDY-DUD THE DUEL GOOD-CHILDREN STREET THE DELECTABLE BALLAD OF THE WALLER LOT THE STORK THE BOTTLE TREE GOOGLY-GOO THE BENCH-LEGGED FYCE LITTLE MISS BRAG THE HUMMING TOP LADY BUTTON-EYES THE RIDE TO BUMPVILLE THE BROOK PICNIC-TIME SHUFFLE-SHOON AND AMBER-LOCKS THE SHUT-EYE TRAIN LITTLE-OH-DEAR THE FLY-AWAY HORSE SWING HIGH AND SWING LOW WHEN I WAS A BOY AT PLAY A VALENTINE LITTLE ALL-ALONEY SEEIN' THINGS THE CUNNIN' LITTLE THING THE DOLL'S WOOING INSCRIPTION FOR MY LITTLE SON'S SILVER PLATE FISHERMAN JIM'S KIDS "FIDDLE-DEE-DEE" OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY

THE ROCK-A-BY LADY

The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby street Comes stealing; comes creeping; The poppies they hang from her head to her feet, And each hath a dream that is tiny and fleet - She bringeth her poppies to you, my sweet, When she findeth you sleeping!

There is one little dream of a beautiful drum - "Rub-a-dub!" it goeth; There is one little dream of a big sugar-plum, And lo! thick and fast the other dreams come Of popguns that bang, and tin tops that hum, And a trumpet that bloweth!

And dollies peep out of those wee little dreams With laughter and singing; And boats go a-floating on silvery streams, And the stars peek-a-boo with their own misty gleams, And up, up, and up, where the Mother Moon beams, The fairies go winging!

Would you dream all these dreams that are tiny and fleet? They'll come to you sleeping; So shut the two eyes that are weary, my sweet, For the Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby street, With poppies that hang from her head to her feet, Comes stealing; comes creeping.

"BOOH!"

On afternoons, when baby boy has had a splendid nap, And sits, like any monarch on his throne, in nurse's lap, In some such wise my handkerchief I hold before my face, And cautiously and quietly I move about the place; Then, with a cry, I suddenly expose my face to view, And you should hear him laugh and crow when I say "Booh"!

Sometimes the rascal tries to make believe that he is scared, And really, when I first began, he stared, and stared, and stared; And then his under lip came out and farther out it came, Till mamma and the nurse agreed it was a "cruel shame" - But now what does that same wee, toddling, lisping baby do But laugh and kick his little heels when I say "Booh!"

He laughs and kicks his little heels in rapturous glee, and then In shrill, despotic treble bids me "do it all aden!" And I - of course I do it; for, as his progenitor, It is such pretty, pleasant play as this that I am for! And it is, oh, such fun I and sure that we shall rue The time when we are both too old to play the game "Booh!"

GARDEN AND CRADLE

When our babe he goeth walking in his garden, Around his tinkling feet the sunbeams play; The posies they are good to him, And bow them as they should to him, As fareth he upon his kingly way; And birdlings of the wood to him Make music, gentle music, all the day, When our babe he goeth walking in his garden.

When our babe he goeth swinging in his cradle, Then the night it looketh ever sweetly down; The little stars are kind to him, The moon she hath a mind to him And layeth on his head a golden crown; And singeth then the wind to him A song, the gentle song of Bethlem-town, When our babe he goeth swinging in his cradle.

THE NIGHT WIND

Have you ever heard the wind go "Yooooo"? 'T is a pitiful sound to hear! It seems to chill you through and through With a strange and speechless fear. 'T is the voice of the night that broods outside When folk should be asleep, And many and many's the time I've cried To the darkness brooding far and wide Over the land and the deep: Whom do you want, O lonely night, That you wail the long hours through?" And the night would say in its ghostly way: "Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo!"

My mother told me long ago (When I was a little tad) That when the night went wailing so, Somebody had been bad; And then, when I was snug in bed, Whither I had been sent, With the blankets pulled up round my head, I'd think of what my mother'd said, And wonder what boy she meant! And "Who's been bad to-day?" I'd ask Of the wind that hoarsely blew, And the voice would say in its meaningful way: "Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo!"

That this was true I must allow - You'll not believe it, though! Yes, though I'm quite a model now, I was not always so.


Love-Songs of Childhood - 1/10

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