Mary Howitt (1799-1888)
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:
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1999.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/7
Other poems by Mary Howitt