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A Collection of Short Poems by Eugene Field

Below you'll find a variety of shorter poems by Eugene Field. This assortment includes, "The Advertiser," "A Christmas Verse," "The Duel," "A Dutch Lullaby" (a.k.a. "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod"), "Lost Chords," "The Rock-a-By Lady," "Utah," "The Warrior," and "Winter Joys."

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.

Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, poem or story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a classic poem or short story for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic poetic works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.

"The Advertiser" by Eugene Field

The Advertiser

by Eugene Field

I am an advertiser great!
In letters bold
The praises of my wares I sound,
Prosperity is my estate;
The people come,
The people go
In one continuous,
Surging flow.
They buy my goods and come again
And I'm the happiest of men;
And this the reason I relate,
I'm an advertiser great!

There is a shop across the way
Where ne'er is heard a human tread,
Where trade is paralyzed and dead,
With ne'er a customer a day.
The people come,
The people go,
But never there.
They do not know
There's such a shop beneath the skies,
Because he does not advertise!
While I with pleasure contemplate
That I'm an advertiser great.

The secret of my fortune lies
In one small fact, which I may state,
Too many tradesmen learn too late,
If I have goods, I advertise.
Then people come
And people go
In constant streams,
For people know
That he who has good wares to sell
Will surely advertise them well;
And proudly I reiterate,
I am an advertiser great!

"A Christmas Verse" by Eugene Field

A Christmas Verse

by Eugene Field

Why do the bells of Christmas ring?
Why do little children sing?

Once a lovely shining star,
Seen by shepherds from afar,
Gently moved until its light
Made a manger's cradle bright.

There a darling baby lay,
Pillowed soft upon the hay.
And its mother sung and smiled:
"This is Christ, the holy Child!"

Therefore bells for Christmas ring,
Therefore little children sing.

"The Duel" by Eugene Field

The Duel

by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!

The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimneyplace
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw--
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate!
I got my news from the Chinese plate!

Next morning, where the two had sat,
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.

"Lost Chords" by Eugene Field

Lost Chords

by Eugene Field

One autumn eve, when soft the breeze
Came sweeping through the lattice wide,
I sat me down at organ side
And poured my soul upon the keys.

It was, perhaps by heaven's design,
That from my half unconscious touch,
There swept a passing chord of such
Sweet harmony, it seemed divine.

In one soft tone it seemed to say
The sweetest words I ever heard,
Then like a truant forest bird,
It soared from me to heaven away.

Last eve, I sat at window whence
I sought the spot where erst had stood
A cord--a cord of hick'ry wood,
Piled up against the back yard fence.

Four dollars cost me it that day,
Four dollars earned by sweat of brow,
Where was the cord of hick'ry now?
The thieves had gobbled it away!

Ah! who can ever count the cost,
Of treasures which were once our own,
Yet now, like childhood dreams are flown,
Those cords that are forever lost.

"The Rock-a-By Lady" by Eugene Field

The Rock-a-By Lady

by Eugene Field

The Rock-a-By Lady from Hush-a-by Street
Comes stealing; comes creeping;
The poppies they hang from her head to her feet,
And each hath a dream that is tiny and fleet--
She bringeth her poppies to you, my sweet,
When she findeth you sleeping!

There is one little dream of a beautiful drum--
"Rub-a-dub!" it goeth;
There is one little dream of a big sugar-plum,
And lo! thick and fast the other dreams come
Of popguns that bang, and tin tops that hum,
And a trumpet that bloweth!

And dollies peep out of those wee little dreams
With laughter and singing;
And boats go a-floating on silvery streams,
And the stars peek-a-boo with their own misty gleams,
And up, up, and up, where the Mother Moon beams,
The fairies go winging!

Would you dream all these dreams that are tiny and fleet?
They'll come to you sleeping;
So shut the two eyes that are weary, my sweet,
For the Rock-a-By Lady from Hush-a-by Street,
With poppies that hang from her head to her feet,
Comes stealing; comes creeping.

"Utah" by Eugene Field


by Eugene Field

Bowed was the old man's snow-white head,
A troubled look was on his face,
"Why come you, sir," I gently said,
"Unto this solemn burial place?"

"I come to weep a while for one
Whom in her life I held most dear,
Alas, her sands were quickly run,
And now she lies a sleeping here."

"Oh, tell me of your precious wife,
For she was very dear, I know,
It must have been a blissful life
You led with her you treasure so?"

"My wife is mouldering in the ground,
In yonder house she's spinning now,
And lo! this moment may be found
A driving home the family cow;

"And see, she's standing at the stile,
And leans from out the window wide,
And loiters on the sward a while,
Her forty babies by her side."

"Old man, you must be mad!" I cried,
"Or else you do but jest with me;
How is it that your wife has died
And yet can here and living be?

"How is it while she drives the cow
She's hanging out her window wide,
And loiters, as you said just now,
With forty babies by her side?"

The old man raised his snowy head,
"I have a sainted wife in Heaven;
I am a Mormon, sir," he said,
"My sainted wife on earth are seven."

"The Warrior" by Eugene Field

The Warrior

by Eugene Field

Under the window is a man,
Playing an organ all the day,
Grinding as only a cripple can,
In a moody, vague, uncertain way.

His coat is blue and upon his face
Is a look of highborn, restless pride,
There is somewhat about him of martial grace
And an empty sleeve hangs at his side.

"Tell me, warrior bold and true,
In what carnage, night or day,
Came the merciless shot to you,
Bearing your good, right arm away?"

Fire dies out in the patriot's eye,
Changed my warrior's tone and mien,
Choked by emotion he makes reply,
"Kansas--harvest--threshing machine!"

"Winter Joys" by Eugene Field

Winter Joys

by Eugene Field

A man stood on the bathroom floor,
While raged the storm without,
One hand was on the water valve,
The other on the spout.

He fiercely tried to turn the plug,
But all in vain he tried,
"I see it all, I am betrayed,
The water's froze," he cried.

Down to the kitchen then he rushed,
And in the basement dove,
Long strived he for to turn the plugs,
But all in vain he strove.

"The hydrant may be running yet,"
He cried in hopeful tone,
Alas, the hydrant too, was froze,
As stiff as any stone.

There came a burst, the water pipes
And plugs, oh, where were they?
Ask of the soulless plumber man
Who called around next day.

"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" (a.k.a. "A Dutch Lullaby")
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

by Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe--
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,"
Said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sung a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea--
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish,
But never afeard are we!"
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam--
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea--
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock on the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

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