A is for Apt little Annie,
Who lives down in Maine with her grannie.
Such pies she can make
And such doughnuts and cake!
Oh, we like to make visits to Grannie!
B is for Bad little Bridget,
Who is morn, noon, and night in a fidget.
Her dresses she tears,
And she tumbles down-stairs,
And her mother’s most worn to a midget.
C is for Curious Charlie,
Who lives on rice, oatmeal, and barley.
He once wrote a sonnet
On his mother’s best bonnet;
And he lets his hair grow long and snarley.
D is for Dear little Dinah,
Whose manners grow finer and finer.
She smiles and she bows
To the pigs and the cows,
And she calls the old cat Angelina.
E is for Erring young Edward,
Who never can bear to go bedward.
Every evening at eight
He bewails his hard fate,
And they’re all quite discouraged with
F is for Foolish Miss Florence,
Who of spiders has such an abhorrence
That she shivers with dread
When she looks overhead,
For she lives where they’re plenty—at Lawrence.
G is for. Glad little Gustave,
Who says that a monkey he must have;
But his mother thinks not,
And says that they ’ye got
All the monkey they care for in Gustave.
H is for Horrid young Hannah,
Who has the most shocking bad manner.
Once she went out to dine
With a party of nine,
And she ate every single banana.
I is for Ignorant Ida,
Who doesn’t know rhubarb from cider.
Once she drank up a quart,
Which was more than she ought,
And it gave her queer feelings inside her.
J is for Jovial young Jack,
Who goes to the balls in a hack.
He thinks he can dance,
And he’ll caper and prance
Till his joints are half ready to crack.
K is for Kind little Katy,
Who weighs ’most a hundred and eighty;
But she eats every day,
And the doctors all say
That’s the reason she’s growing so weighty.
L is for Lazy young Lester,
Who works for a grocer in Chester;
But he says he needs rest,
And he finds it is best
To rest very often, does Lester.
M is for Mournful Miss Molly,
Who likes to be thought melancholy.
She’s as limp as a rag
When her sisters play tag,
For it’s vulgar, she says, to be jolly.
N is for Naughty young Nat,
Who sat on his father’s best hat.
When they asked if he thought
He had done as he ought,
He said he supposed was the cat!
O’s Operatic Olivia,
Who visits her aunt in Bolivia.
She can sing to high C —
But, between you and me,
They don’t care for that in Bolivia.
P is for Poor little Paul,
Who doesn’t like study at all
But he’s learning to speak
In Latin and Greek,
And is going to take German next fall.
Q is for Queer little Queen,
Who’s grown so excessively lean
That she fell in a crack,
And hurt her poor back,
And they say she can hardly be seen.
R is for Rude Master Ruby,
Who once called his sister a booby!
But a boy who stood by
Heard her piteous cry,
And came and chastised Master Ruby.
S is for Stylish young Sadie,
Whose hat is so big and so shady
That she thought it was night
When the sun was out bright,
And mistook an old cow for a lady.
T is for Turbulent Teddy,
Who never can learn to be steady.
He’ll skip and he’ll hop,
And turn ’round like a top,
And he’s broken his leg twice already.
U is Unhappy Ulrica,
Who takes her tea weaker and weaker;
She sits in the dust
And eats nothing but crust,
And Moses, they say, wasn’t meeker.
V is for Valiant young Vivian,
Who practiced awhile in oblivion;
Till he saw, without doubt, He could turn inside out,
And now they’re all boasting of Vivian.
W is Wise little Willie,
Who lives where the weather is chilly;
But he skates and he slides,
And takes lots of sleigh-rides,
And he coasts on his sled where it’s hilly.
X, Y, Z — each is a baby
Who is going to be wonderful, maybe;
For their mothers all say
To themselves every day,
That there never was quite such a baby.
Sow, sow, sow,
So the farmers sow!
Busy, busy, all the day,
While the children are at play,
Stowing, stowing close away
Baby wheat and rye in bed,
So the children may be fed,
So, so, so.
Sew, sew, sew,
So the mothers sew!
Busy, busy all the day,
While the children are at play,
Sewing, sewing fast away,
So the children may have frocks,
Trousers, coats, and pretty socks,
So, so, so.
Sow, sew, so,
So they sow and sew;
S, and 0, and W,
This is what the farmers do;
Put an E in place of 0,
This is how the mothers sew,—
So they sow and sew for you,
So without the W,
So, so, so.
Long, long ago, a Mother said Unto her children small;
“Now Jack and Jill, go up the hill—And she that you don’t fall,
Fetch me a pail of water back, And hurry with a will,”
“Oh, no, mamma,” said Lazy Jack,
“Oh, yes, mamma,” said Jill,
The Mother frowned an angry frown;
They went as she directed—
Alas) she saw them coming down,
Sooner than she Expected!
You know the story, children all?—
If Jack had scorned to grumble,
Perhaps he ’d not have had that fall,
And made his sister tumble.
I know a little maiden who can knit and who can sew,
Who can tuck her little petticoat; and tie a pretty bow;
She can give the thirsty window-plants a cooling drink each day;
And dust the pretty sitting-room, and drive the flies away.
She can fetch Papa his dressing-gown, and warm his slippers well,
And lay the plates, and knives and forks, and ring the supper-bell;
She can learn her lessons carefully, and say them with a smile,
Then put away her books and slate and atlas, in a pile;
She can feed the bright canary, and put water in his cage;
And soothe her little brother when he flies into a rage.
She can dress and tend her dollies like a mother, day or night,—
Indeed, one-half the good she does, I cannot now recite;
And yet there are some things, I’m told, this maiden cannot do.
She cannot say an ugly word, or one that is not true;—
Who can this little maiden be? I wonder if it’s you.
There was once a small child who would never say please,
I believe, if you even went down on your knees.
But, her arms on the table, would sit at her ease,
And call out to her mother in words such as these:
“I want some potatoes!” “Give me some peas!”
“Hand me the butter!” “Cut me some cheese!”
So the fairies, this very rude daughter to tease,
Once blew her away in a powerful breeze,
Over the mountains, and over the seas,
To a valley where never a dinner she sees,
But down with the ants, the wasps, and the bees,
In the woods she must live till she learns to say please.