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Charlotte Bleh’s Collection of Favourite  Nursery  Rhymes, Poems and Prose Book
Exploration


 

Times and Rhymes for Exploration

I saw three ships come sailing in,
Come sailing in, Come sailing in,
I saw three ships come sailing in,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And what do you think was in them then,
Was in them then, Was in them then?
And what do you think was in them then,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

Three pretty young maids were in them then,
Were in them then, Were in them then;
Three pretty young maids were in the then
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And one could whistle, and one could sing,
And one could play the violin;
Oh, joy there was at my wedding,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

***

Dance to your Daddy,
My bonnie bairnie!
Dance to your Daddy,
My wee bit lamb.

Ye shall have a fishie,
In a wee bit dishie:
Ye shall have a fishie,
When the boat comes in!

Dance to your daddie,
My bonnie bairnie!
Dance to your daddie,
My bonnie lamb!

And ye’ll get a coatie,
And a pair o’ breekies –
Ye shall get a whippie
And a soppie tam.

***

There were three gypsies a-come to my door,
And downstairs ran this lady, O.
One sang high and another sang low,
And the other sang “Bonnie, Bonnie, Biscay, O.”

Then she pulled off her silken gown,
And put on hose of leather, O.
With the ragged, ragged rags about her door,
She’s off with the Raggle, Taggle Gypsies, O.

Twas late last night when my lord came home,
Inquiring for his lady, O.
The servants said on every hand,
“She’s gone with the Raggle, Taggle Gypsies, O.”

“Oh, saddle for me my milk white steed,
Oh, saddle for me my pony, O.
That I may ride and seek my bride
Who’s gone with the Raggle, Taggle Gypsies, O.”

Oh, he rode high and he rode low,
He rode through woods and copses, O.
Until he came to an open field,
And there he espied his lady, O.

“What makes you leave your house and lands?
What makes you leave your money, O?
What makes you leave your new-wedded lord
To go with the Raggle, Taggle, Gypsies, O?”

“What care I for my house and lands?
What care I for my money, O?
What care I for my new-wedded lord?
I’m off with the Raggle, Taggle, Gypsies, O.”

“Last night you slept on a goose-feather bed,
With the sheet turned down so bravely, O.
Tonight you will sleep in the cold, open field,
Along with the Raggle Taggle Gypsies, O.”

“What care I for your goose feather bed,
With the sheet turned down so bravely, O?
For tonight I shall sleep in a cold, open field,
Along with the Raggle, Taggle Gypsies, O.”

***

They went to sea in a sieve, they did,
In a sieve they went to sea;
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
In a sieve they went to sea.
And when the sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, “You’ll all be drowned!”
They called aloud, “Our sieve ain’t big;
But we don’t care a button, we don’t care a fig:
In a sieve we’ll go to sea!”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live:
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a sieve.

They sailed away in a sieve, they did,
In a sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a ribbon, by way of a sail,
To a small tobacco-pipe mast.
And every one said, who saw them go,
“Oh! Won’t they be soon upset, you know?
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long;
And, happen what may, it’s extremely wrong
In a sieve to sail so fast.”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live:
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a sieve.

The water it soon came in, it did;
The water it soon came in:
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat;
And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar;
And each of them said, “How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong
While round in our sieve we spin.”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live:
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a sieve.

And all night long they sailed away;
And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song,
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
In the shade of the mountains brown.
“O Timballoo! How happy we are
When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar!
And all night long, in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail
In the shade of the mountains brown.”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live:
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a sieve. 

They sailed to the Western Sea they did, -
To a land all covered with trees:
And they bought an owl, and a useful cart,
And a pound of rice, and a cranberry-tart,
And a hive of silvery bees,
And they bought a pig, and some green jackdaws,
And a lovely monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of ring-bo-ree,
And no end of Stilton cheese.
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live:
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a sieve.

And in twenty years they all came back, -
In twenty years or more;
And every one said, “How tall they’ve grown! 
For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the hills of the Chankly Bore.”
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, “If we only live,
We, too, will go to sea in a sieve,
To the hills of the Chankly Bore.”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live:
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a sieve.

Edward Lear

***

“Is anybody there?” said the Traveler,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence chomped the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor.
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the traveler’s head:
And he smote upon the door a second time;
“Is there anybody there?” he said.
But no one descended to the Traveler;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his gray eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveler’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
‘Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head –
“Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,” he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Aye, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Walter de la Mare

***

Whenever the moon and stars are set
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.

Robert Louis Stevenson,
A Child’s Garden of Verses

***

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child’s Garden of Verses

***

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child’s Garden of Verses

***

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking
And a gray mist on the sea’s face and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield
Sea-Fever
(This was one of my favourite competition poems as a child.)

***

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smokestack
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

John Masefield
(Another favourite competition poem of my school days)

***

I am writing these poems
From inside a lion,
And it’s rather dark in here.
So please excuse the handwriting
Which may not be too clear.
But this afternoon by the lion’s cage
I’m afraid I got too near.
And I’m writing these lines
From inside a lion,
And it’s rather dark in here.

Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends

***

Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird, be an early bird –
But if you’re a worm, sleep late.

Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends

***

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Went for a ride in a flying shoe.
“Hooray!”   “What fun!”   “It’s time we flew!”
Said Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle was captain, and Pickle was crew
And Tickle served coffee and mulligan stew
As higher   And higher   And higher they flew,
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too,
Over the sun and beyond the blue.
“Hold on!”   “Stay in!”    “I hope we do!”
Cried Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Never returned to the world they knew,
And nobody
Knows what’s
Happened to
Dear Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too

Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends


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