i.- I~ ~?- aL
The Baldwin Library
CHILDHOOD'S SONGS OF LONG AGO
CHILDHOOD'S SONGS OF
Being some of the Divine and
by Rev. Isaac Watts, D. D.
Moral Songs writ
E. R. HERRICK & COMPANY
70 FIFTH AVENUE NEW YORK
B. R. HERRICK & COMPANY
Herein are presented such of "The Divine and Moral Songs"
of the Reverend Isaac Watts as seem to lend themselves most
readily to the method of treatment expressed and the understand-
ing of children of the present day. The verses were first pub-
lished in the early part of the eighteenth century and have ever
been accorded commendation beyond that which is recalled in
reference to anything in a similar vein.
Throughout, there is a rich vein of humor and the princi-
ples of poesy have not been entirely submerged, and by our an-
cestors, as well, doubtless, by those of a later generation, the
familiar rhymes are pleasantly recalled, and thus the writer has
obtained a place in our memories and our hearts, among the
most cherished of our childhood's days.
The immediate success of these songs and a like repetition
in later editions, places them beyond peradventure among the
rarest of children's classics. They have attained in the aggregate
an immense circulation and have been admired wherever they
are known; the number of copies that have been issued must
mount up into the millions, but it has not been our pleasure to
discover any edition for sale at the present day, in America, that
seems to fill the requirements or cater to the possibilities and
susceptibilities of these simple rhymes, in reference to their
appropriate dress and embellishment, which is the plea for this
attempt to picture their varied charms in a manner commensu-
rate with their demands.
A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE OF
ISAAC WATTS, D.D.
The tendencies of the early life of Isaac Watts
were towards what afterward proved to be a life of
piety and devotion. Born on the i7th of July, 1764,
at Southampton, England, he was the eldest of
His parents were people of strong religious
views, highly intelligent and of undoubted respect-
Before the lad could even speak plain, we are
told that he would eagerly clamor for a book. Like
many of uncommon genius, this precocity and
early thirst for knowledge was but the forerunner
of what, later in life, proved to be an abnormal ca-
pacity for learning and retaining still further knowl-
edge and information in regard to his favored
While at school he attained great proficiency
in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and French, and likewise
his poetical.genius early showed itself and devel-
oped so rapidly that in his seventh year he was
composing devotional stanzas which would have
done credit to his older contemporaries.
He also soon acquired an easy and correct style
of expressing himself in the essay, which he con-
structed ably on philosophical, moral and theolog-
ical subjects alike.
Passing through the rudimentary stage, it was
during his academic course that Watts mostly cul-
tivated his poetical talents; in his "Miscellanies"
he modestly alludes to his having been "a maker
of verses from the age of fifteen to that of fifty,"
and at the age of seventeen he wrote many of the
verses which are contained in his Hora Lyrice;"
but at this time the unwearied ardor with which
he devoted himself to his studies greatly impaired
his constitution and gave rise to that bodily infirm-
ity from which he so greatly suffered later in life,
and which he referred to in after years in the fol-
lowing words: "Midnight studies are prejudicial
to nature. A painful experience calls me to repent
of the faults of my younger years; and there are
many before me who have had the same call to re-
He completed his academic course at the age
of twenty, and for two years occupied himself even
more intimately with the same subjects, and during
which period he composed many of his "Hymns"
and several of his "Miscellanies."
In 1698, at the age of twenty-four, he preached
his first sermon and was chosen assistant to Dr.
Isaac Chauncy, pastor of the Independent Church
in Mark Lane, London, finally succeeding him as
the regular pastor of the congregation.
At the age of thirty-one Watts published his
first book, which bore the title, Horae Lyrica,"
poems, chiefly lyric and divided into three books,
"Devotion and Piety," "Virtue, Honor and Friend-
ship," and "To the Memory of the Dead." This
work may be said to have entitled the learned
doctor to the honorable distinction of a place
among the British poets. It was received with
the highest favor both in England and America
and procured for its author the esteem and friend-
ship of many eminent literary characters, and
before his death in 1748, at the age of seventy-
five, had run through eight authorized editions.
In 1719 he published his "Imitations of the
Psalms of David," and it is supposed that at this
time were also written and first published his
"Divine and Moral Songs for Children," "which
have been the delight of the youthful mind from
that eventful day unto the present time and prob-
ably will be for ages to come." In these songs is
found a rich vein of poetry, and they have been,
and justly should be, valued for their intrinsic
truths of right and wrong, if not entirely for
their manner or method of expression. But ac-
cording to the lights of the author, which were
undeniably for the right and Christian-like to a
degree, and were probably more forceful than it
would have been possible had they been otherwise
His first volume of sermons was published in
1720 and was dedicated to his congregation; few vol-
umes of its kind have enjoyed the frequent and
deserving reference thereto that has been accorded
this work, one reviewer stating, without reserva-
tion, "that few if any volumes of this nature have
ever exceeded, and seldom equalled, in value and
importance," which in view of the somewhat pro-
lixity of expression and faulty arrangement,
occasionally met with therein, may be considered
an unqualified endorsement.
Other volumes appeared from time to time as
the product of this fertile mind and in 1741 he put
forth the first part of his treatise on "'The Improve-
ment of the Mind," on which we are informed he
had labored for twenty years (the second part of
this work was not published during his life, but
the editors of his works subsequently issued the
same from the MS. which was left as a part of his
estate). Of this masterly book Dr. Johnson says:
"Few books have been perused by me with
greater pleasure. Whoever has the
care of instructing others may be charged with
deficience in his duty if this book is not recom-
Discourses, prose, verse and miscellanies fol-
lowed in rapid succession, his last publications ap-
pearing in 1746, when the venerable man was over
seventy years of age.
His last illness was rather a decay of nature
than any particular disease, beyond what, early
in life, had fastened itself upon him: simply a
wearing out by infirmity and labor. He died on
the 25th November, 1748, in the seventy-fifth year
of his age, "calmly and peacefully."
Two eulogies passed upon the life'of this good
man are worthy of repetition; the first by his biog-
rapher, Dr. Gibbons: "Perhaps very few of the
descendants of Adam have made nearer approaches
to angels in intellectual powers and divine disposi-
tions than Dr. Watts; and among the numerous
stars which have adorned the hemisphere of the
Christian Church, he has shone and will shine as
an orb of the first magnitude."
The other, by Dr. Knox, who thus expresses
himself in his "Christian Philosophy": "For my
own part, I cannot but think that this good man
approached as nearly to Christian perfection as
ever mortal did in this sublunary state, and there-
fore I consider him a better interpreter of the
Christian doctrine than the most learned of crit-
ics *- *.
Against Idleness and Mischief.
AGAINST IDLENESS AND MISCHIEF
HOW doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour;
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labour or of skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be pass'd;
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
V V :
Y ~ ~ ~ 1( ..:' I:"' Ut
Agaznt Prze in lo/Ae
AGAINST PRIDE IN CLOTHES
WHY should our garments (made to hide
Our parents' shame) provoke our pride ?
The art of dress did ne'er begin,
Till Eve our mother learned to sin.
When first she put her -covering on,
Her robe of innocence was gone;
And yet her children vainly boast
In the sad marks of glory lost.
How proud we are! how fond to show
Our clothes, and call them rich and new
When the poor sheep and silk-worm wore
That very clothing long before.
The tulip and the butterfly
Appear in gayer coats than I;
Let me be dress'd fine as I will,
Flies, worms, and flowers exceed me still. -
Then will I set my heart to find
Inward adornings of the mind;
Knowledge and virtue, truth and grace!
These are the robes of richest dress.
No more shall worms with me compare,
This is the raiment angels wear;
The Son of God, when here below,
Put on this best apparel too.
It never fades, it ne'er grows old,
Nor fears the rain, nor moth, nor mould;
It takes no spot, but still refines;
The more 'tis worn the more it shines.
In this on earth would I appear,
Then go to heaven and wear it there;
God will approve it in his sight,
'Tis his own work and his delight.
Obedience to Parents.
OBEDIENCE TO PARENTS
LET children that would fear the Lord,
Hear what their teachers say,
With rev'rence meet their parents' word,
And with delight obey.
Have we not heard what dreadful plagues
Are threatened by the Lord,
To him who breaks his father's law,
Or mocks his mother's word?
That heavy guilt upon him lies!
How cursed is his name!
The ravens shall pick out his eyes,
And eagles eat the same.
But those that worship God, and give
Their parents honour due,
Here on this earth they long shall live,
And live hereafter too.
The Ant or Emmet.
"THE ANT, OR EMMET"
T HESE Emmets, how little they are in our
We tread them to dust, and a troop of them
Without our regard or concern;
Yet, as wise as we are, if we went to their school,
There's many a sluggard and many a fool
Some lessons of wisdom might learn.
They wear not their time out in sleeping or
But gather up corn in a sunshiny day,
And for winter they lay up their stores;
They manage their work in such regular forms
One would think they foresaw all the frosts and the
And so brought their food withindoors.
But I have less sense than a poor creeping Ant
If I take not due care for the things I shall want,
Nor provide against dangers in time;
When death or old age shall once stare in my
What a wretch shall I be in the end of my days,
If I trifle away all their prime!
Now, now, while my strength and my youth are in
Let me think what shall serve me when sickness
And pray that my sins be forgiven;
Let me read in good books, and believe, and obey,
That, when death turns me out of this cottage of
I may dwell in a palace in heaven.
A MORNING SONG
MY God, who makes the sun to know
His proper hour to rise,
And, to give light to all below,
Doth send him round the skies.
When from the chambers of the east
His morning race begins,
He never tires, nor stops to rest,
But round the world he shines.
So. like the sun, would I fulfil
The business of the day;
Begin my work betimes, and still
March on my heavenly way.
Give me, O Lord, thine early grace,
Nor let my soul complain,
That the young morning of my days
Has all been spent in vain.
'TIS the voice of the Sluggard: I heard him com-
"You have waked me too soon! I must slumber
As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed
Turns his sides, and his shoulders, and his heavy
"A little more sleep, and a little more slumber!"
Thus he wastes half his days and his hours without
And when he gets up he sits folding his hands,
Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands.
I passed by his garden and saw the wild brier,
The thorn and the thistle grow broader and higher;
The clothes that hang on him are turning to rags,
And his money still wastes, till he starves or he
I made him a visit, still hoping to find
He had took better care for improving his mind:
He told me his dreams, talk'd of eating and
But he scarce reads his Bible, and never loves
Said I then to my heart, "Here's a lesson for me!
That man's but a picture of what I might be;
But thanks to my friends for their care in my
Who have taught me betimes to love working and
AN EVENING SONG
AND now another day is gone,
I'll sing my Maker's praise;
My comforts every hour make known
His providence and grace.
But how my childhood runs to waste
My sins how great their sum!
Lord, give me pardon for the past,
And strength for days to come.
I lay my body down to sleep,
Let angels guard my head;
And, through the hours of darkness, keep
Their watch around my bed.
With cheerful heart I close my eyes,
Since thou wilt not remove;
And in the morning let me rise
Rejoicing in thy love.
Praise for Mercies.
PRAISE FOR MERCIES, SPIRITUAL AND
WHENE'ER I take my walks abroad,
How many poor I see!
What shall I render to my Lord
For all His gifts to me!
Not more than others I deserve,
Yet God hath given me more;
For I have food, while others starve,
Or beg from door to door.
How many children in the street
Half naked I behold!
While I am clothed from head to feet,
And cover'd from the cold.
While some poor wretches scarce can tell
Where they may lay their head,
I have a home wherein to dwell,
And rest upon my bed.
While others early learn to swear,
And curse, and lie, and steal;
Lord, I am taught Thy name to fear,
And do Thy holy will.
Are these Thy favors, day by day,
To me above the rest?
Then let me love Thee more than they,
And try to serve Thee best.
WHY should I deprive my neighbour
Of his goods against his will?
Hands were made for honest labour,
Not to plunder or to steal.
'Tis a foolish self-deceiving
By such tricks to hope for gain:
All that's ever got by thieving
Turns to sorrow, shame and pain.
Have not Eve and Adam taught us
Their sad profit to compute?
To what dismal state they brought us
When they stole forbidden fruit?
Oft we see a young beginner
Practise little pilfering ways,
Till grown up a harden'd sinner,
Then the gallows ends his days.
Theft will not be always hidden,
Though we fancy none can spy;
When we take a thing forbidden,
God beholds it with his eye.
Guard my heart, O God of heaven,
Lest I covet what's not mine;
Lest I steal what is not given,
Guard my heart and hands from sin.
THO UGH I'm now in younger days,
Nor can tell what shall befall me,
I'll prepare for every place
Where my growing age shall call me.
Should I e'er be rich or great,
Others shall partake my goodness;
I'll supply the poor with meat,
Never shewing scorn or rudeness.
Where I see the blind or lame,
Deaf or dumb, I'll kindly treat them:
I deserve to feel the same
If I mock, or hurt, or cheat them.
If I meet with railing tongues,
Why should I return them railing,
Since I best revenge my wrongs
By my patience never failing?
When I hear them telling lies,
Talking foolish, cursing, swearing,
First I'll try to make them wise,
Or I'll soon go out of hearing.
What though I be low or mean,
I'll engage the rich to love me,
While I'm modest, neat, and clean,
And submit when they reprove me.
If I should be poor and sick,
I shall meet, I hope, with pity;
Since I love to help the weak,
Though they're neither fair nor witty.
I'll not willingly offend,
Nor be easily offended:
What's amiss I'll strive to mend,
And endure what can't be mended.
May I be so watchful still
O'er my humours and my passion,
As to speak and do no ill,
Though it should be all the fashion.
Wicked fashions lead to hell;
Ne'er may I be found complying;
But in life behave so well,
Not to be afraid of dying.
H OW fair is the Rose! What a beautiful flower!
The glory of April and May;
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.
Yet the Rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flowers of the field!
When its leaves are all dead and fine colours are lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!
So frail is the youth and the beauty of man,
Though they bloom and look gay like the Rose;
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain,
Time kills them as fast as he goes.
Then I'll not be proud of my youth and my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade;
But gain a good name by well doing my duty:
This will scent like a Rose when I'm dead.
Praise for Creation and Providence.
PRAISE FOR CREATION AND PROVIDENCE
I SING th' almighty power of God,
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
And built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordain'd
The sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at his command,
And all the stars obey.
I sing the goodness of the Lord,
That fill'd the earth with food;
He form'd the creatures with his word,
And then pronounced them good.
Lord, how thy wonders are displayed
Where'er I turn mine eye!
'If I survey the ground I tread,
Or gaze upon the sky!
There's not a plant or flower below
But makes thy glories known:
And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
By order from thy throne.
Creatures (as numerous as they be)
Are subjects to thy care:
There's not a place where we can flee,
But God is present there.
In heaven he shines with beams of love,
With wrath in hell beneath:
'Tis on his earth I stand or move,
And 'tis his air I breathe.
His hand is my perpetual guard,
He keeps me with his eye:
Why should I then forget the Lord,
Who is for ever nigh?
General Song of Praise.
A GENERAL SONG OF PRAISE TO GOD
SOW glorious is our heavenly King,
SWho reigns above the sky!
How shall a child presume to sing
His dreadful Majesty?
How great His power is none can tell,
Nor think how large His grace:
Not men below, nor saints that dwell
On high before His face.
Not angels, that stand round the Lord,
Can search His secret will;
But they perform His heavenly word,
And sing His praises still:
Then let me join this holy train,
And my first offerings bring;
Th' eternal God will not disdain
To hear an infant sing.
My heart resolves, my tongue obeys,
And angels shall rejoice,
To hear their mighty Maker's praise
Sound from a feeble voice.
H USH, my dear! Lie still, and slumber!
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings, without number,
Gently falling on thy head.
Sleep, my babe! thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care or payment,
All thy wants are well supplied.
How much better thou 'rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven He descended,
And became a child like thee!
Soft and easy is thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When His birthplace was a stable,
And His softest bed was hay.
Blessed Babe! what glorious features,-
Spotless fair, divinely bright!
Must he dwell with brutal creatures?
How could angels bear the sight ?
Was there nothing but a manger
Cursed sinners could afford,
To receive.the heavenly stranger?
Did they thus affront the Lord ?
7" ~ .
Soft, my child! I did not chide thee,
Though my song might sound too hard:
'Tis thy mother sits beside thee,
And her arm shall be thy guard.
Yet to read the shameful story,
How the Jews abused their King,
How they served the Lord of Glory,
Makes me angry while I sing.
See the kinder shepherds round him,
Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought him, there they found him,
With his Virgin-mother by.
See the lovely Babe a-dressing;
Lovely infant, how He smiled!
When He wept, His Mother's blessing
Sooth'd and hush'd the Holy Child.
Lo, he slumbers in a manger,
Where the horned oxen fed!
Peace, my darling! here's no danger:
There's no ox a-near thy bed.
'Twas to save thee, child, from dying,
Save my dear from burning flame,
Bitter groans and endless crying,
That thy blest Redeemer came.
Mayest thou live to know and fear Him,
Trust and love Him all thy days:
Then go dwell for ever near Him,
See His face, and sing His praise!
I could give thee thousand kisses!
Hoping what I most desire;
Not a mother's- fondest wishes
Can to greater joys aspire!
g Innocent Play.
A BROAD in the meadows, to see the young lambs
Run sporting about by the side of their dams,
With fleeces so clean and so white;
Or a nest of young doves in a large open cage,
When they play all in love, without anger or rage,
How much may we learn from the sight!
If we had been ducks, we might dabble in mud;
Or dogs, we might play till it ended in blood:
So foul and so fierce are their natures;
But Thomas and William, and such pretty names,
Should be cleanly and harmless as doves or as lambs,
Those lovely sweet innocent creatures.
Not a thing that we do, nor a word that we say,
Should injure another in jesting or play,
For he's still in earnest that's hurt:
How rude are the boys that throw pebbles and mire;
There's none but a madman will fling about fire,
And tell you, "'Tis all but in sport!"
Examples of Early Piety.
EXAMPLES OF EARLY PIETY
W HAT bless'd examples do I find
Writ in the Word of Truth,
Of children that began to mind
Religion in their youth!
Jesus, who reigns above the sky,
And keeps the world in awe,
Was once a child as young as I,
And kept His Father's law.
At twelve years old He talk'd with men,
(The Jews all wondering stand,)
Yet he obey'd His Mother then,
And came at her command.
Children a sweet hosanna sung,
And blest their Saviour's name:
They gave Him honour with their tongue,
While scribes and priests blaspheme.
Samuel the child was wean'd and brought
To wait upon the Lord:
Young Timothy betimes was taught
To know His Holy Word.
Then why should I so long delay
What others learn so soon?
I would not pass another day,
Without this work begun.
Against QuarrelEing and Fighlifff.
AGAINST QUARRELLING AND FIGHTING
LET dogs delight to bark and bite,
For God hath made them so;
Let bears and lions growl and fight,
For 'tis their nature too:
But children, you should never let
Such angry passions rise;
Your little hands were never made
To tear each other's eyes.
Let love through all your actions run,
And all your words be mild;
Live like the blessed Virgin's Son,
That sweet and lovely Child.
His soul was gentle as a lamb;
And as His stature grew,
He grew in favour both with man
And God His Father too.
Now, Lord of all, He reigns above,
And from His heavenly throne
He sees what children dwell in love,
And marks them for His own.
Love between Brothers and Sisters.
LOVE BETWEEN. BROTHERS AND SISTERS
WHATEVER brawls disturb the street,
There should be peace at home;
Where sisters dwell, and brothers meet,
Quarrels should never come.
Birds in their little nests agree,
And 'tis a shameful sight,
When children of one family
Fall out, and chide, and fight.
Hard names at first, and threatening words
That are but noisy breath,
May grow to clubs and naked swords,
To murder and to death.
The devil tempts one mother's son
To rage against another;
So wicked Cain was hurried on
Till he had kill'd his brother.
The wise will make their anger cool,
At least before 'tis night;
But in the bosom of a fool
It burns till morning light.
Pardon, 0 Lord, our childish rage,
Our little brawls remove;
That, as we grow to riper age,
Our hearts may all be love.
A SUMMER EVENING
HOW fine has the day been! how bright was the
How lovely and joyful the course that be run;
Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun,
And there followed some droppings of rain:
But now the fair traveller's come to the West,
His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best;
He paints the skies gay as he sinks to his rest,
And foretells a bright rising again.
Just such is the Christian. His course he begins,
Like the sun in a mist, when he mourns for his sins,
And melts into tears; then he breaks out and shines,
And travels his heavenly way:
But when he comes nearer to finish his race
Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace,
And gives a sure hope, at the end of his days,
Of rising in brighter array.