Little Boy Blue lost his way in a wood–
Sing apples and cherries, roses and honey:
He said, “I would not go back if I could,
It’s all so jolly and funny!”
He sang, “This wood is all my own–
Apples and cherries, roses and honey!
Here I will sit, a king on my throne,
All so jolly and funny!”
A little snake crept out of a tree–
Apples and cherries, roses and honey:
“Lie down at my feet, little snake,” said he–
All so jolly and funny!
A little bird sang in the tree overhead–
“Apples and cherries, roses and honey:”
“Come and sing your song on my finger,” he said,
All so jolly and funny.
Up coiled the snake; the bird came down,
And sang him the song of Birdie Brown.
But little Boy Blue found it tiresome to sit
Though it was on a throne: he would walk a bit!
He took up his horn, and he blew a blast:
“Snake, you go first, and, birdie, come last.”
Waves of green snake o’er the yellow leaves went;
The snake led the way, and he knew what he meant:
But by Boy Blue’s head, with flutter and dart,
Flew Birdie Brown, her song in her heart.
Boy Blue came where apples grew fair and sweet:
“Tree, drop me an apple down at my feet.”
He came where cherries hung plump and red:
“Come to my mouth, sweet kisses,” he said.
And the boughs bow down, and the apples they dapple
The grass, too many for him to grapple;
And the cheeriest cherries, with never a miss,
Fall to his mouth, each a full-grown kiss.
He met a little brook singing a song:
“Little brook,” he said, “you are going wrong,
“You must follow me, follow me, follow, I say,
Do as I tell you, and come this way.”
And the song-singing, sing-songing forest brook
Leapt from its bed and after him took;
And the dead leaves rustled, yellow and wan,
As over their beds the water ran.
He called every bird that sat on a bough;
He called every creature with poop and prow–
I mean, with two ends, that is, nose and tail:
With legs or without, they followed full sail;
Squirrels that carried their tails like a sack,
Each his own on his little brown humpy back;
Snails that drew their own caravans,
Poking out their own eyes on the point of a lance,
And houseless slugs, white, black, and red–
Snails too lazy to build a shed;
And butterflies, flutterbys, weasels, and larks,
And owls, and shrew-mice, and harkydarks,
Cockchafers, henchafers, cockioli-birds,
Cockroaches, henroaches, cuckoos in herds;
The dappled fawns fawning, the fallow-deer following;
The swallows and flies, flying and swallowing–
All went flitting, and sailing, and flowing
After the merry boy running and blowing.
The spider forgot, and followed him spinning,
And lost all his thread from end to beginning;
The gay wasp forgot his rings and his waist–
He never had made such undignified haste!
The dragon-flies melted to mist with their hurrying;
The mole forsook his harrowing and burrowing;
The bees went buzzing, not busy but beesy,
And the midges in columns, upright and easy.
But Little Boy Blue was not content,
Calling for followers still as he went,
Blowing his horn, and beating his drum,
And crying aloud, “Come all of you, come!”
He said to the shadows, “Come after me;”
And the shadows began to flicker and flee,
And away through the wood went flattering and fluttering,
Shaking and quivering, quavering and muttering.
He said to the wind, “Come, follow; come, follow
With whistle and pipe, with rustle and hollo;”
And the wind wound round at his desire,
As if Boy had been the gold cock on the spire;
And the cock itself flew down from the church
And left the farmers all in the lurch.