Representative Poetry Online
  Poet Index   Poem Index   Random   Search  
  Introduction   Timeline   Calendar   Glossary   Criticism   Bibliography  
  RPO   Canadian Poetry   UTEL  
by Name
by Date
by Title
by First Line
by Last Line
Short poem

Mary Howitt (1799-1888)

The Wood-mouse

              1D' ye know the little Wood-Mouse,
              2    That pretty little thing,
              3That sits among the forest leaves,
              4    Beside the forest spring?

              5Its fur is red as the red chestnut,
              6    And it is small and slim;
              7It leads a life most innocent
              8    Within the forest dim.

              9'T is a timid, gentle creature,
            10    And seldom comes in sight;
            11It has a long and wiry tail,
            12    And eyes both black and bright.

            13It makes its nest of soft, dry moss,
            14    In a hole so deep and strong ;
            15And there it sleeps secure and warm,
            16    The dreary winter long.

            17And though it keeps no calendar,
            18    It knows when flowers are springing;
            19And waketh to its summer life
            20    When Nightingales are singing.

            21Upon the boughs the Squirrel sits,
            22    The Wood-Mouse plays below;
            23And plenty of food it finds itself
            24    Where the Beech and Chestnut grow.

            25In the Hedge-Sparrow's nest he sits
            26    When its Summer brood is fled,
            27And picks the berries from the bough
            28    Of the Hawthorn over-head.

            29I saw a little Wood-Mouse once,
            30    Like Oberon in his hall,
            31With the green, green moss beneath his feet,
            32    Sit under a Mushroom tall.

            33I saw him sit and his dinner eat,
            34    All under the forest tree;
            35His dinner of Chestnut ripe and red,
            36    And he ate it heartily.

            37I wish you could have seen him there;
            38    It did my spirit good,
            39To see the small thing God had made
            40    Thus eating in the wood.

            41I saw that He regardeth them --
            42    Those creatures weak and small;
            43Their table in the wild is spread,
            44    By Him who cares for all!


30] Oberon: king of the fairies, best known from Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer's Night's Dream.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Mary Howitt, Sketches of Natural History (London: Effingham Wilson, 1834): 120-22. Facsimile Edition, introduction by Carolyn Whiteside (New York: Johnson Reprint, 1970). PR 4809 H2S55 1834a Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1834
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1999.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/7

Rhyme: abcb

Other poems by Mary Howitt