Ann Taylor was an English poet and literary critic. She gained long-lasting popularity in her youth as a writer of verse for children. In the years immediately before her marriage, she became an astringent literary critic. However, she is best remembered as the elder sister and collaborator of Jane Taylor.
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Famous Ann Taylor Poems
“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.
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.
The Good-Natured Girls
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Boys And The Apple-Tree
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.
“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.
Come And Play In The Garden
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.
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.
“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. “
Frances Keeps Her Promise
“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.
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.
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.
“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 onenot 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.
To A Little Girl That Has Told A Lie
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.
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.
Well, what’s the matter? there’s a face
What ! has it cut a vein?
And is it quite a shocking place?
Come, let us look again.
I see it bleeds, but never mind
That tiny little drop;
I don’t believe you’ll ever find
That crying makes it stop.
‘Tis sad indeed to cry at pain,
For any but a baby;
If that should chance to cut a vein,
We should not wonder, may be.
But such a man as you should try
To bear a little sorrow:
So run along, and wipe your eye,
‘Twill all be well to-morrow.
The Field Daisy
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.”
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?
The Washing And Dressing
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.
The Vulgar Little Lady
“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.
“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 as 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’.
The Baby’s Dance
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;
Dance little baby, and mother shall sing,
With the merry coral, ding, ding, ding.
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! woeful 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.
About The Little Girl That Beat Her Sister
Go, go, my naughty girl, and kiss
Your little sister dear;
I must not have such things as this,
And noisy quarrels here.
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.
Learning To Go Alone
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.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the trav’ller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often thro’ my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
‘Tis your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the trav’ller in the dark:
Tho’ I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.