The Little Match Girl

Original Text: 
William McGonagall, More Poetic Gems, ed. D. W. Smith (Dundee: D. Winter, 1972): 68-69. MCC M34 Z7M35m 1972 Fisher Rare Book Library
2Which filled a poor little match girl's heart with woe,
3Who was bareheaded and barefooted, as she went along the street,
4Crying, "Who'll buy my matches? for I want pennies to buy some meat!"
5When she left home she had slippers on;
6But, alas! poor child, now they were gone.
7For she lost both of them while hurrying across the street,
8Out of the way of two carriages which were near by her feet.
9So the little girl went on, while the snow fell thick and fast;
10And the child's heart felt cold and downcast,
11For nobody had bought any matches that day,
12Which filled her little mind with grief and dismay.
13Alas! she was hungry and shivering with cold;
14So in a corner between two houses she made bold
15To take shelter from the violent storm.
16Poor little waif! wishing to herself she'd never been born.
17And she grew colder and colder, and feared to go home
18For fear of her father beating her; and she felt woe-begone
19Because she could carry home no pennies to buy bread,
20And to go home without pennies she was in dread.
21The large flakes of snow covered her ringlets of fair hair;
22While the passers-by for her had no care,
23As they hurried along to their homes at a quick pace,
24While the cold wind blew in the match girl's face.
25As night wore on her hands were numb with cold,
26And no longer her strength could her uphold,
27When an idea into her little head came:
28She'd strike a match and warm her hands at the flame.
29And she lighted the match, and it burned brightly,
30And it helped to fill her heart with glee;
31And she thought she was sitting at a stove very grand;
32But, alas! she was found dead, with a match in her hand!
33Her body was found half-covered with snow,
34And as the people gazed thereon their hearts were full of woe;
35And many present let fall a burning tear
36Because she was found dead on the last night of the year,
37In that mighty city of London, wherein is plenty of gold --
38But, alas! their charity towards street waifs is rather cold.
39But I hope the match girl's in Heaven, beside her Saviour dear,
40A bright reward for all the hardships she suffered here.

Notes

1] Cf. Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match-Seller" published in 1835 in his "Fairy Tales, Told for Children." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1890
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2002
Rhyme: