Page Two




by Lewis Carroll

         "You are old, father William," the young man said,
         "And your hair has become very white;
         And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
         Do you think, at your age, it is right?" 

         "In my youth," father William replied to his son,
         "I feared it might injure the brain;
         But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
         Why, I do it again and again." 

         "You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
         And have grown most uncommonly fat;
         Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
         Pray what is the reason of that?" 

         "In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
         "I kept all my limbs very supple
         By the use of this ointment--one shilling the box-- 
         Allow me to sell you a couple?" 

         "You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
         For anything tougher than suet;
         Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
         Pray, how did you manage to do it?" 

         "In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
         And argued each case with my wife;
         And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
         Has lasted the rest of my life." 

         "You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
         That your eye was as steady as ever;
         Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
         What made you so awfully clever?" 

         "I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
         Said the father. "Don't give yourself airs! 
         Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
         Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!"


 by Robert Southey

       "You are old, father William," the young man cried,
       "The few locks which are left you are grey;
      You are hale, father William, a hearty old man;
       Now tell me the reason, I pray." 

       "In the days of my youth," father William replied,
       "I remember'd that youth would fly fast, 
       And abus'd not my health and my vigour at first,
       That I never might need them at last." 

       "You are old, father William," the young man cried,
       "And pleasures with youth pass away. 
       And yet you lament not the days that are gone;
       Now tell me the reason I pray." 

       "In the days of my youth," father William replied,
       "I remember'd that youth could not last;
       I thought of the future, whatever I did,
       That I never might grieve for the past." 

       "You are old, father William," the young man cried,
       "And life must be hast'ning away;
       You are cheerful and love to converse upon death;
       Now tell me the reason, I pray." 

       "I am cheerful, young man," father William replied,
       "Let the cause thy attention engage;
       In the days of my youth I remember'd my God!
       And He hath not forgotten my age."



by Lewis Carroll

             Speak roughly to your little boy,
             And beat him when he sneezes:
             He only does it to annoy,
             Because he knows it teases. 

             Wow! wow! wow! 

             I speak severely to my boy,
             And beat him when he sneezes:
             For he can thoroughly enjoy
             The pepper when he pleases 

             Wow! wow! wow! 

by David Bates

       Speak gently! It is better far
       To rule by love than fear;
       Speak gently; let no harsh words mar
       The good we might do here! 

       Speak gently! Love doth whisper low
       The vows that true hearts bind;
       And gently Friendship's accents flow;
       Affection's voice is kind. 

       Speak gently to the little child!
       Its love be sure to gain;
       Teach it accents soft and mild;
       It may not long remain. 

       Speak gently to the young, for they
       Will have enough to bear;
       Pass through this life as best they may,
       'Tis full of anxious care! 

       Speak gently to the aged one,
       Grieve not the care-worn heart;
       Whose sands of life are nearly run,
       Let such in peace depart!

       Speak gently to the erring; know
       They may have toiled in vain;
       Perchance unkindness made them so;
       Oh, win them back again! 

       Speak gently! He who gave his life
       To bend man's stubborn will,
       When elements were in fierce strife,
       Said to them, "Peace, be still." 

       Speak gently! 'is a little thing
       Dropped in the heart's deep well;
       The good, the joy, that it may bring,
       Eternity shall tell.


by Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale! 

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws! 


 by Isaac Watts

       How doth the little busy bee
       Improve each shining hour,
       And gather honey all the day
       From every opening flower! 

       How skillfully she builds her cell!
       How neat she spreads the wax!
       And labours hard to store it well
       With the sweet food she makes. 

       In works of labour or of skill,
       I would be busy too;
       For Satan finds some mischief still
       For idle hands to do. 

       In books, or work, or healthful play,
       Let my first years be passed,
       That I may give for every day
       Some good account at last.


by Lewis Carroll

         'Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare
         "You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair."
         As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
         Trims his belt and buttons, and turns out his toes. 
         When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark
         And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark:
         But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,
         His voice has a timid and tremulous sound. 

         I passed by his garden, and marked with one eye,
         How the Owl and Panther were sharing a pie:
         The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy and meat,
         While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat. 
         When the pie was all finished, the Owl as a boon,
         Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon:
         While the Panther received knife and fork with a growl,
         And concluded the banquet by--

by Isaac Watts

       'Tis the voice of the sluggard; I heard him complain,
       "You have wak'd me too soon, I must slumber again."
       As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed,
       Turns his sides and his shoulders and his heavy head. 

       "A little more sleep, and a little more slumber;"
       Thus he wastes half his days, and his hours without number,
       And when he gets up, he sits folding his hands,
       Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands. 

       I pass'd by his garden, and saw the wild brier,
       The thorn and the thistle grown broader and higher;
       The clothes that hang on him are turning to rags;
       And his money still wastes till be starves or he begs. 

       I made him a visit, still hoping to find
       That he took better care for improving his mind:
       He told me his dream, talked of eating and drinking;
       But he scarce reads his Bible, and never loves thinking. 

       Said I then to my heart, "Here's a lesson for me,"
       This man's a picture of what I might be: 
       But thanks to my friends for their care in my breeding,
       Who taught me betimes to love working and reading.


by Lewis Carroll

         I'll tell thee everything I can:
         There's little to relate. 
         I saw an aged aged man,
         A-sitting on a gate. 
         "Who are you, aged man?" I said. 
         "And how is it you live?"
         And his answer trickled through my head,
         Like water through a sieve. 

        He said "I look for butterflies
         That sleep among the wheat:
         I make them into mutton-pies,
         And sell them into the street. 
         I sell them unto men," he said,
         "Who sail on stormy seas;
         And that's the way I get my bread-- 
         A trifle, if you please." 

         But I was thinking of a plan
         To dye one's whiskers green,
         And always use so large a fan
         That they could not be seen. 
         So, having no reply to give
         To what the old man said,
         I cried "Come, tell me how you live!"
         And thumped him on the head. 

         His accents mild took up the tale:
         He said "I go my ways,
         And when I find a mountain-rill,
         I set it in a blaze;
         And thence they make a stuff they call
         Rowland's Macasser-Oil-- 
         Yet twopence-halfpenny is all
         They give me for my toil." 

         But I was thinking of a way
        To feed oneself on batter,
         And so go on from day to day
         Getting a little fatter. 
         I shook him well from side to side,
         Until his face was blue:
         "Come, tell me how you live," I cried,
         "And what it is you do!" 

         He said "I hunt for haddocks' eyes
         Among the heather bright,
         And work them into waistcoat buttons
         In the silent night. 
         And these I do not sell for gold
         Or coin of silvery shine,
         But for a copper halfpenny,
         And that will purchase nine. 

         "I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
         Or set limed twigs for crabs:
         I sometimes search the grassy knolls
         For wheels of Hansom-cabs. 
         And that's the way" (he gave a wink)
         "By which I get my wealth-- 
         And very gladly will I drink
         Your Honour's noble health." 

         I heard him then, for I had just
         Completed my design
         To keep the Menai bridge from rust
         By boiling it in wine. 
         I thanked him much for telling me
         The way he got his wealth,
         But chiefly for his wish that he
         Might drink my noble health. 

         And now, if e'er by chance I put
         My fingers into glue,
         Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
         Into a left-hand shoe,
         Or if I drop upon my toe
         A very heavy weight,
         I weep, for it reminds me so 
         Of that old man I used to know--

         Whose look was mild, whose speech was slow,
         Whose hair was whiter than the snow,
         Whose face was very like a crow,
         With eyes, like cinders, all aglow,
         Who seemed distracted with his woe,
         Who rocked his body to and fro,
         And muttered mumblingly and low,
         As if his mouth were full of dough,
         Who snorted like a buffalo-- 
         That summer evening long ago,
         A-sitting on a gate.

 by William Wordsworth

       There was a roaring in the wind all night;
       The rain came heavily and fell in floods;
       But now the sun is rising calm and bright;
       The birds are singing in the distant woods;
       Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods;
       The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters;
       And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters. 

       All things that love the sun are out of doors;
       The sky rejoices in the morning's birth;
       The grass is bright with rain-drops;--on the moors
       The hare is running races in her mirth;
       And with her feet she from the plashy earth
       Raises a mist; that, glittering in the sun,
       Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run. 

       I was a Traveler then upon the moor;
       I saw the hare that raced about with joy;
       I heard the woods and distant waters roar;
       Or heard them not, as happy as a boy:
       The pleasant season did my heart employ:
       My old remembrances when from me wholly;
       And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy. 

       But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might
       Of joy in minds that can no further go,
       As high as we have mounted in delight
       In our dejection do we sink as low;
       To me that morning did it happen so;
       And fears and fancies thick upon me came;
       Dim sadness--and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor
               could name. 

       I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky;
       And I bethought me of the playful hare:
       Even such a happy Child of earth am I;
       Even as these blissful creatures do I fare;
       Far from the world I walk, and from all care;
       But there may come another day to me-- 
       Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty. 

       My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought,
       As if life's business were a summer mood;
       As if all needful things would come unsought
       To genial faith, still rich in genial good;
       But how can He expect that others should 
       Build for him, sow for him, and at his call
       Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all? 

       I thought of Chatterton, the marvelous Boy,
       The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride;
       Of Him who walked in glory and in joy
       Following his plough, along the mountain-side:
       By our own spirits are we deified:
       We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;
       But thereof come in the end despondency and

       Now, whether it were by peculiar grace,
       A leading from above, a something given,
       Yet it befell that, in this lonely place,
       When I with these untoward thoughts had striven,
       Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven
       I saw a Man before me unawares:
       The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs. 

       As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie
       Couched on the bald top of an eminence;
       Wonder to all who do the same espy,
       By what means it could thither come, and whence;
       So that it seems a thing endued with sense:
       Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf
       Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself; 

       Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead,
       Nor all asleep--in his extreme old age:
       His body was bent double, feet and head
       Coming together in life's pilgrimage;
       As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage
       Of sickness felt by him in times long past,
       A more than human weight upon his frame had cast. 

       Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face,
       Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood:
       And, still as I drew near with gentle pace,
       Upon the margin of that moorish flood
       Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood,
       That heareth not the loud winds when they call:
       And moveth all together, if it move at all. 

       At length, himself unsettling, he the pond
       Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look
       Upon the muddy water, which he conned,
       As if he had been reading a book:
       And no a stranger's privilege I took;
       And, drawing to his side, to him did say, 
       "This morning gives us promise of a glorious day." 

       A gentle answer did the old Man make,
       In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew:
       And him with further words I thus bespake,
       "What occupation do you there pursue?
       This is a lonesome place for one like you."
       Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise
       Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes. 

       His words came feebly, from a feeble chest,
       But each in solemn order followed each,
       With something of a lofty utterance drest-- 
       Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach
       Of ordinary men; a stately speech;
       Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use,
       Religious men, who give to God and man their dues. 

       He told, that to these waters he had come
       To gather leeches, being old and poor:
       Employment hazardous and wearisome!
       And he had many hardships to endure:
       From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor;
       Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance;
       And in this way he gained an honest maintenance. 

       The old Man still stood talking by my side;
       But now his voice to me was like a stream
       Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide;
       And the whole body of the Man did seem 
       Like one whom I had met with in a dream;
       Or like a man from some far region sent,
       To give me human strength, by apt admonishment. 

       My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills;
       And hope that is unwilling to be fed;
       Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills;
       And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
       --Perplexed, and longing to be comforted,
       My question eagerly did I renew,
       "How is it that you live, and what is it you do?" 

       He with a smile did then his words repeat;
       And said that, gathering leeches, far and wide
       He traveled; stirring thus about his feet
       The waters of the pools where they abide. 
       "Once I could meet with them on every side;
       But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
       Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may." 

       While he was talking thus the lonely place,
       The old Man's shape, and speech--all troubled me:
       In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace
       About the weary moors continually,
       Wandering about alone and silently. 
       While I these thoughts within myself pursued,
       He, having made a pause, the same discourse

       And soon with this he other matter blended,
       Cheerfully uttered, with demeanor kind,
       But stately in the main; and, when he ended,
       I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
       In that decrepit Man so firm a mind. 
       "God," said I, "be my help and stay secure; 
       I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!" 



Lewis Carroll, Page One


John Tenniel, Lewis Carroll, Arthur Rackham, A.E. Jackson, Gwynedd Hudson (public domain)
Walt Disney Studios, Alice In Rubberland, Leavenworth Jackson,
 Marshall Vandruff, and Rodney Matthews
Copyright© and not to be reproduced without permission of artist