'Our governess is not in school,
So we may talk a bit;
Sit down upon this little stool,
Come, little Mary, sit:

'And, my dear playmate, tell me why
In dismal black you're drest?
Why does the tear stand in your eye?
With sobs why heaves your breast?

'When we're in grief, it gives relief
Our sorrows to impart;
When you've told why, my dear, you cry,
'Twill ease your little heart.'

'O, it is trouble very bad
Which causes me to weep;
All last night long we were so sad,
Not one of us could sleep.

'Beyond the seas my father went,
'Twas very long ago;
And he last week a letter sent
(I told you so, you know)

'That he was safe in Portsmouth bay,
And we should see him soon,
Either the latter end of May,
Or by the first of June.

'The end of May was yesterday,
We all expected him;
And in our best clothes we were dressed,
Susan, and I, and Jim.

'O how my poor dear mother smiled,
And clapped her hands for joy;
She said to me, 'Come here, my child,
And Susan, and my boy.

''Come all, and let us think,' said she,
'What we can do to please
Your father, for to-day will he
Come home from off the seas.

''That you have won, my dear young son,
A prize at school, we'll tell,
Because you can, my little man,
In writing all excel:

''And you have made a poem, nearly
All of your own invention:
Will not your father love you dearly
When this to him I mention?

''Your sister Mary, she can say
Your poetry by heart;
And to repeat your verses may
Be little Mary's part.

''Susan, for you, I'll say you do
Your needlework with care,
And stitch so true the wristbands new
Dear father's soon to wear!'

''O hark!' said James; 'I hear one speak;
'Tis like a seaman's voice.'-
Our mother gave a joyful shriek;
How did we all rejoice!

''My husband's come!' 'My father's here!'
But O, alas, it was not so;
It was not as we said:
A stranger seaman did appear,
On his rough cheek there stood a tear,
For he brought to us a tale of woe,-
Our father dear was dead.'


About Charles Lamb


Charles Lamb was an English essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced with his sister, Mary Lamb. Lamb has been referred to by E.V. Lucas, his principal biographer, as the most lovable figure in English literature. Lamb was honoured by The Latymer School, a grammar school in Edmonton, a suburb of London where he lived for a time; it has six houses, one of which, "Lamb", is named after Charles. Youth and Schooling Lamb was the son of Elizabeth Field and John Lamb. Lamb was the youngest child,... Read more...

Poet of the day

Arthur Clement Hilton was born in 1851 and educated at Marlborough College and St. John's College, Cambridge, where he published in 1872 The Light Green, a collection of verse parodies.

After graduating from Wells Theological College in January 1873, Hilton was ordained deacon on March 1, 1874, became curate of...
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Poem of the day


There was the day we swam in a river, a lake, and an ocean.
And the day I quit the job my father got me.
And the day I stood outside a door,
and listened to my girlfriend making love
to someone obviously not me, inside,

...
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