The Wood-mouse

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.
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,
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. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1999.