Four Stevenson Songs

by Henry Kimball Hadley (1871 - 1937)

Word count: 445

1. My shadow [sung text checked 1 time]

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow --
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The swing [sung text checked 1 time]

How do you like to go up in a swing,
  Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
  Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
  Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
  Over the countryside -

Till I look down on the garden green,
  Down on the roof so brown -
Up in the air I go flying again,
  Up in the air and down!

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Sylvain Labartette) , "La balançoire", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Young night thought [sung text checked 1 time]

All night long and every night,
When my mama puts out the light,
I see the people marching by,
As plain as day, before my eye.

Armies and [emperors]1 and kings,
All carrying different kinds of things,
And marching in so grand a way,
You never saw the like by day.

So fine a show was never seen
At the great circus on the green;
[For]2 every kind of beast and man
Is marching in that caravan.

At first they move a little slow,
But still the faster on they go,
And still beside [them]4 close I keep
Until we reach the town of Sleep.

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Confirmed with Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods, New York, Current Literature, 1913.

1 Hadley: "emperor"
2 omitted by F. Rzewski
4 Hadley: "me"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

4. Where go the boats? [sung text checked 1 time]

Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating -
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Dove vanno le barche?", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry