Selected Poems of Phoebe Cary

Poetry Index


Phoebe Cary (September 4, 1824 - July 31, 1871) was an American poet, and the younger sister of poet Alice Cary (1820-1871). The sisters co-published poems in 1849, and then each went on to publish volumes of her own. After their deaths in 1871, joint anthologies of the sisters' unpublished poems were also compiled. (Source: Wikipedia)


List of Poems



HE dwelt among "apartments let,"
About five stories high;
A man I thought that none would get,
And very few would try.

A boulder, by a larger stone
Half hidden in the mud,
Fair as a man when only one
Is in the neighborhood.

He lived unknown, and few could tell
When Jacob was not free;
But he has got a wife,--and O!
The difference to me!


"Keep A Stiff Upper Lip!"

There has something gone wrong
  My brave boy, it appears,
For I see your proud struggle
  To keep back the tears.
That is right. When you cannot
  Give trouble the slip,
Then bear it, still keeping
  "A stiff upper lip!"

Though you cannot escape
  Disappointment and care,
The next best thing to do
  Is to learn how to bear.
If when for life's prizes
  You're running, you trip,
Get up, start again ---
  "Keep a stiff upper lip!"

Let your hands and your conscience
  Be honest and clean;
Scorn to touch or to think of
  The thing that is mean;
But hold on to the pure
  And the right with firm grip,
And though hard be the task,
  "Keep a stiff upper lip!"

Through childhood, through manhood,
  Through life to the end,
Struggle bravely and stand
  By your colors, my friend.
Only yield when you must;
  Never "give up the ship,"
But fight on to the last
  "With a stiff upper lip!"



Suppose, my little lady,
  Your doll should break her head,
Could you make it whole by crying
  Till your eyes and nose are red?
And would n't it be pleasanter
  To treat it as a joke;
And say you're glad “'T was Dolly's
  And not your head that broke?”

Suppose you're dressed for walking,
  And the rain comes pouring down,
Will it clear off any sooner
  Because you scold and frown?
And wouldn't it be nicer
  For you to smile than pout,
And so make sunshine in the house
  When there is none without?

Suppose your task, my little man,
  Is very hard to get,
Will it make it any easier
  For you to sit and fret?
And would n't it be wiser
  Than waiting like a dunce,
To go to work in earnest
  And learn the thing at once?

Suppose that some boys have a horse,
  And some a coach and pair,
Will it tire you less while walking
  To say, "It is n't fair?"
And would n't it be nobler
  To keep your temper sweet,
And in your heart be thankful
  You can walk upon your feet?

And suppose the world don't please you,
  Nor the way some people do,
Do you think the whole creation
  Will be altered just for you?
And is n't it, my boy or girl,
  The wisest, bravest plan,
Whatever comes, or does n't come,
  To do the best you can?


They Didn't Think

Once a trap was baited
With a piece of cheese;
It tickled so a little mouse,
It almost made him sneeze.
An old rat said, "There's a danger,
Be careful where you go!"
"Nonsense!" said the other,
"I don't think you know!"
So he walked in boldly -
Nobody in sight -
First he took a nibble,
Then he took a bite;
Close the trap together
Snapped as quick as wink,
Catching mousey fast there,
'Cause he didn't think.

Once there was a robin,
Lived outside the door,
Who wanted to go inside
And hop upon the floor.
"No, no," said the mother,
"You must stay with me;
Little birds are safest
Sitting in a tree."
"I don't care," said Robin,
And gave his tail a fling,
"I don't think the old folks
Know quite everything."
Down he flew, and kitty seized him
Before he'd time to blink;
"Oh," he cried, "I'm sorry,
But I just didn't think."


When Lovely Woman

WHEN lovely woman wants a favor,
And finds, too late, that man won't bend,
What earthly circumstance can save her
From disappointment in the end?

The only way to bring him over,
The last experiment to try,
Whether a husband or a lover,
If he have feeling, is, to cry!



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