poetry friday

“A Lesson for Mamma”
by Sydney Dayre, 1881

Dear Mamma, if you just could be
A tiny little girl like me,
And I your mamma, you would see
     How nice I’d be to you.
I’d always let you have your way;
I’d never frown at you and say,
     ‘You are behaving ill today,
     Such conduct will not do.’

 

I’d always give you jelly-cake
For breakfast, and I’d never shake
My head, and say, ‘You must not take
     So very large a slice.’
I’d never say, ‘My dear, I trust
You will not make me say you must
Eat up your oatmeal’; or ‘The crust
     You’ll find, is very nice.’

I’d buy you candy every day;
I’d go down town with you, and say,
‘What would my darling like?  You may
     Have anything you see.’
I’d never say, ‘My pet, you know
‘Tis bad for health and teeth, and so
I cannot let you have it.  No —
     It would be wrong in me.’

And every day I’d let you wear
Your nicest dress, and never care
If it should get a great big tear;
     I’d only say to you,
‘My precious treasure, never mind,
For little clothes will tear, I find.’
Now, Mamma, wouldn’t that be kind?
     That’s just what I should do.

I’d never say, ‘Well, just a few!”
I’d let you stop your lessons too;
I’d say, ‘They are too hard for you,
     Poor child, to understand.’
I’d put the books and slates away;
You shouldn’t do a thing but play,
And have a party every day.
     Ah-h-h! wouldn’t that be grand!

But, Mamma dear, you cannot grow
Into a little girl, you know,
And I can’t be your mamma; so
     The only thing to do,
Is just for you to try and see
How very, very nice ‘twould be
For you to do all this for me,
     Now, Mamma, couldn’t you?