Shadow Poetry Logo
Home Poetry Types Japanese Poetry Handbook Poetry Guide Resources Bookstore
Writing & Publishing Books   |   Classic Reading   |   Movies   |   Famous Poets   |   Magnet Poetry   |   Word Wizard Competition

Famous Poets:

  bullet   Maya Angelou
  bullet   Matthew Arnold
  bullet   Elizabeth Bishop
  bullet   William Blake
  bullet   Anne Bradstreet
  bullet   The Brontė Sisters
  bullet   Robert Browning
  bullet   Lord Byron
  bullet   Lewis Carroll
  bullet   E. E. Cummings
  bullet   Samuel Daniel
  bullet   Emily Dickinson
  bullet   T. S. Eliot
  bullet   Ralph Waldo Emerson
  bullet   Eugene Field
  bullet   Robert Frost
  bullet   Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  bullet   Ernest Hemingway
  bullet   Langston Hughes
  bullet   James Joyce
  bullet   John Keats
  bullet   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  bullet   Sylvia Plath
  bullet   Edgar Allan Poe
  bullet   William Shakespeare
  bullet   Percy Bysshe Shelley
  bullet   Robert Louis Stevenson
  bullet   Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  bullet   Dylan Thomas
  bullet   Walt Whitman
  bullet   William Wordsworth
  bullet   William Butler Yeats

Eugene Field

Born: September 2, 1850 // Died: November 4, 1895

Eugene Field Eugene Field was an unusual poet. He was one of the few poets who wrote only children's poetry. That is how he got his nickname, The Children's Poet. It all started September 2, 1850, at 634 South Broadway in Saint Louis. That's where and when Eugene Field was born. He had one brother named Roswell, who was one year younger than he, and a sister who died soon after her birth. He and his brother were very close, but very different. Eugene took after their mother, Francis, while Roswell took after their father. Eugene was afraid of the dark while his brother wasn't afraid of anything. Eugene hated studying while Roswell loved it. Eugene wrote his first poem at age nine, about their cousin's dog, Fido.

In 1895, Eugene Field died. He had written many poems, and had accomplished everything he had wished to accomplish.

Eugene Field will be remembered mostly for being a children's poet. Some of his most famous poems are "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod"; "The Duel"; and "Little Boy Blue".

  Eugene Field's Poetry: (click on a title to read a poem)
  At Cheyenne   The Bibliomaniac's Prayer   Chicago Weather
  The Dinkey Bird   Little Boy Blue   Little Willie
  Pittypat and Tippytoe   Shuffle-Shoon and Amber...   Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
  The Duel   The Fly-Away Horse   The Sugar-Plum Tree

At Cheyenne
Young Lochinvar came in from the West,
With fringe on his trousers and fur on his vest;
The width of his hat-brim could nowhere be beat,
His No. 10 brogans were chuck full of feet,
His girdle was horrent with pistols and things,
And he flourished a handful of aces on kings.

The fair Mariana sate watching a star,
When who should turn up but the young Lochinvar!
Her pulchritude gave him a pectoral glow,
And he reined up his hoss with stentorian "Whoa!"
Then turned on the maiden a rapturous grin,
And modestly asked if he might n't step in.

With presence of mind that was marvellous quite,
The fair Mariana replied that he might;
So in through the portal rode young Lochinvar,
Pre-empted the claim, and cleaned out the bar.
Though the justice allowed he wa'n't wholly to blame,
He taxed him ten dollars and costs, just the same.

The Bibliomaniac's Prayer
Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
That I may truths eternal seek;
I need protecting care to-day,--
My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
So banish from my erring heart
All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
Of first editions, and of prints.
Direct me in some godly walk
Which leads away from bookish strife,
That I with pious deed and talk
May extra-illustrate my life.

But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I may be
Most notably beset to-day;
Let my temptation be a book,
Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other men shall look,
They 'll wail to know I got it cheap.
Oh, let it such a volume be
As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.

Chicago Weather
To-day, fair Thisbe, winsome girl!
Strays o'er the meads where daisies blow,
Or, ling'ring where the brooklets purl,
Laves in the cool, refreshing flow.

To-morrow, Thisbe, with a host
Of amorous suitors in her train,
Comes like a goddess forth to coast
Or skate upon the frozen main.

To-day, sweet posies mark her track,
While birds sing gayly in the trees;
To-morrow morn, her sealskin sack
Defies the piping polar breeze.

So Doris is to-day enthused
By Thisbe's soft, responsive sighs,
And on the morrow is confused
By Thisbe's cold, repellent eyes.

The Dinkey Bird
In an ocean, 'way out yonder,
(As all sapient people know)
Is the land of Wonder-Wander,
Whither children love to go;
It's their playing, romping, swinging,
That give great joy to me
While the Dinkey-Bird goes singing
In the amfalula tree!

There the gum-drops grow like cherries,
And taffy's thick as peas--
Caramels you pick like berries
When, and where, and how you please;
Big red sugar-plums are clinging
To the cliffs beside that sea
Where the Dinkey-Bird is singing
In the amfalula tree!

So when children shout and scamper
And make merry all the day,
When there's naught to put a damper
To the ardor of their play;
When I hear their laughter ringing,
Then I'm sure as sure can be
That the Dinkey-Bird is singing
In the amfalula tree!

For the Dinkey-Bird's bravuras
And staccatos are so sweet--
His roulades, appoggiaturas,
And robustos so complete,
That the youth of every nation--
Be they near or far away--
Have especial delectation
In that gladsome roundelay.

Their eyes grow bright and brighter,
Their lungs begin to crow,
Their hearts get light and lighter,
And their cheeks are all aglow;
For an echo cometh bringing
The news to all and me,
That the Dinkey-Bird is singing
In the amfalula tree.

I'm sure you like to go there
To see your feathered friend--
And so many goodies grow there
You would like to comprehend!
Speed, little dreams, your winging
To that land across the sea
Where the Dinkey-Bird is singing
In the amfalula tree!

Little Boy Blue
The Little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And the musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

"Now, don't you go till I come," he said,
"And don't you make any noise!"
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue--
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!

Aye, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place--
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.

Little Willie
When Willie was a little boy,
No more than five or six,
Right constantly he did annoy
His mother with his tricks.
Yet not a picayune cared I
For what he did or said,
Unless, as happened frequently,
The rascal wet the bed.

Closely he cuddled up to me,
And put his hands in mine,
Till all at once I seemed to be
Afloat in seas of brine.
Sabean odors clogged the air,
And filled my soul with dread,
Yet I could only grin and bear
When Willie wet the bed.

'Tis many times that rascal has
Soaked all the bedclothes through,
Whereat I'd feebly light the gas
And wonder what to do.
Yet there he lay, so peaceful like;
God bless his curly head,
I quite forgave the little tyke
For wetting of the bed.

Ah me, those happy days have flown.
And little Willies of his own
Do what he used to do.
And I! Ah, all that's left for me
Is dreams of pleasure fled!
Our boys ain't what they used to be
When Willie wet the bed.

Had I my choice, no shapely dame
Should share my couch with me,
No amorous jade of tarnished fame,
Nor wench of high degree;
But I would choose and choose again
The little curly head,
Who cuddled close beside me when
He used to wet the bed.

Pittypat and Tippytoe
All day long they come and go--
Pittypat and Tippytoe;
Footprints up and down the hall,
Playthings scattered on the floor,
Finger-marks along the wall,
Tell-tale smudges on the door--
By these presents you shall know
Pittypat and Tippytoe.

How they riot at their play!
And a dozen times a day
In they troop, demanding bread--
Only buttered bread will do,
And the butter must be spread
Inches thick with sugar too!
And I never can say "No,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!"

Sometimes there are griefs to soothe,
Sometimes ruffled brows to smooth;
For (I much regret to say)
Tippytoe and Pittypat
Sometimes interrupt their play
With an internecine spat;
Fie, for shame! to quarrel so--
Pittypat and Tippytoe!

Oh the thousand worrying things
Every day recurrent brings!
Hands to scrub and hair to brush,
Search for playthings gone amiss,
Many a wee complaint to hush,
Many a little bump to kiss;
Life seems one vain, fleeting show
To Pittypat and Tippytoe!

And when day is at an end,
There are little duds to mend;
Little frocks are strangely torn,
Little shows great holes reveal,
Little hose, but one day worn,
Rudely yawn at toe and heel!
Who but you could work such woe,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!

On the floor and down the hall,
Rudely smutched upon the wall,
There are proofs in every kind
Of the havoc they have wrought,
And upon my heart you'd find
Just such trade-marks, if you sought;
Oh, how glad I am 'tis so,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!

Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks
Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks
Sit together, building blocks;
Shuffle-Shoon is old and grey,
Amber-Locks a little child,
But together at their play
Age and Youth are reconciled,
And with sympathetic glee
Build their castles fair to see.

(So the wee one's prattle ran),
"I shall build a castle so--
With a gateway broad and grand;
Here a pretty vine shall grow,
There a soldier guard shall stand;
And the tower shall be so high,
Folks will wonder, by-and-by!"

Shuffle-Shoon quoth: "Yes, I know;
Thus I builded long ago!
Here a gate and there a wall,
Here a window, there a door;
Here a steeple wondrous tall
Riseth ever more and more!
But the years have levelled low
What I builded long ago!"

So they gossip at their play,
Heedless of the fleeting day;
One speaks of the Long Ago
Where his dead hopes buried lie;
One with chubby cheeks aglow
Prattleth of the By-and-By;
Side by side, they build their blocks--
Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe--
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea--
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish--
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam--
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea--
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
And Nod

The Duel
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! What shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw-
And, oh! How the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate-
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: They ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

The Fly-Away Horse
Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse-
Perhaps you have seen him before;
Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept
Through the moonlight that floats on the floor.
For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle bright,
That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh
And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane,
Is up on his heels and away!
The moon in the sky,
As he gallopeth by,
Cries: "Oh! What a marvelous sight!"
And the Stars in dismay
Hide their faces away
In the lap of old Grandmother Night.

It is yonder, out yonder, the Fly-Away Horse
Speedeth ever and ever away-
Over meadows and lane, over mountains and plains,
Over streamlets that sing at their play;
And over the sea like a ghost sweepeth he,
While the ships they go sailing below,
And he speedeth so fast that the men on the mast
Adjudge him some portent of woe.
"What ho, there!" they cry,
As he flourishes by
With a whisk of his beautiful tail;
And the fish in the sea
Are as scared as can be,
From the nautilus up to the whale!

And the Fly-Away Horse seeks those far-away lands
You little folk dream of at night-
Where candy-trees grow, and honey-brooks flow,
And corn-fields with popcorn are white;
And the beasts in the wood are ever so good
To children who visit them there-
What glory astride of a lion to ride,
Or to wrestle around with a bear!
The monkeys, they say:
"Come on, let us play,"
And they frisk in the coconut-trees:
While the parrots, that cling
To the peanut-vines sing
Or converse with comparative ease!

Off! scamper to bed- you shall ride him to-night!
For, as soon as you've fallen asleep,
With a jubilant neigh he shall bear you away
Over forest and hillside and deep!
But tell us, my dear, all you see and you hear
In those beautiful lands over there,
Where the Fly-Away Horse wings his far-away course
With the wee one consigned to his care.
Then grandma will cry
In amazement: "Oh, my!"
And she'll think it could never be so.
And only we two
Shall know it is true-
You and I, little precious! shall know!

The Sugar-Plum Tree
Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
'T is a marvel of great renown!
It blooms on the shore of the Lollipop sea
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town;
The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
(As those who have tasted it say)
That good little children have only to eat
Of that fruit to be happy next day.

When you 've got to the tree, you would have a hard time
To capture the fruit which I sing;
The tree is so tall that no person could climb
To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!
But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
And a gingerbread dog prowls below---
And this is the way you contrive to get at
Those sugar-plums tempting you so:

You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
And he barks with such terrible zest
That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
As her swelling proportions attest.
And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
From this leafy limb unto that,
And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground---
Hurrah for that chocolate cat!

There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,
With stripings of scarlet or gold,
And you carry away of the treasure that rains
As much as your apron can hold!
So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
And I 'll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town.

The Poems of Eugene Field, Complete Edition (Toronto: McClelland and Goodchild, 1910): 22-23, 94-95, 486-487. ROBA PS 1665 A2 1910. From Eugene Field, A Little Book of Western Verse (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896). First Publication Date: 1896

Robert Conrow, Field Days: The Life, Times, & Reputation of Eugene Field (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974): 114-16. First Publication Date: in various copies during Field's lifetime; formally, in 1974.

Eugene Field, Lullaby-Land: Poems of Childhood (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1904): 43-46, 87-90, 167-172, 185-188, 139-144. First Publication Date: 1904.

  Back to Top

Writing & Publishing Books   |   Classic Reading   |   Movies   |   Famous Poets   |   Magnet Poetry   |   Word Wizard Competition
Home Poetry Types Japanese Poetry Handbook Poetry Guide Resources Bookstore
Copyright © 2000-2013 Shadow Poetry | Privacy Policy | Contact Us