A Child's Garden of Verses

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The Title Page of a 1916 Edition

A Child's Garden of Verses is a collection of poetry for children by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, a collection that concerns childhood, illness, play, and solitude. The collection first appeared in 1885 under the title Penny Whistles, but has been reprinted many times, often in illustrated versions. It contains about 65 poems, including "Foreign Children", "The Lamplighter," "The Land of Counterpane", "Bed in Summer", "My Shadow", and "The Swing".

In 1922, the classical scholar Terrot Reaveley Glover published a translation of the poems into Latin under the title Carmina non prius audita de ludis et hortis virginibus puerisque.[1]


Happy Thought, as used in A Little Book for A Little Cook, 1905

Part I – A Child's Garden of Verses

  • To Alison Cunningham
  • Bed in Summer
  • A Thought
  • At the Sea-side
  • Young Night Thought
  • Whole Duty of Children
  • Rain
  • Pirate Story
  • Foreign Lands
  • Windy Nights
  • Travelling
  • Singing
  • Looking Forward
  • A Good Play
  • Where Go the Boats?
  • Auntie's Skirts
  • The Land of Counterpane
  • The Land of Nod
  • My Shadow[2]
  • System
  • A Good Boy
  • Escape at Bedtime
  • Marching Song
  • The Cow
  • Happy Thought
  • The Wind
  • Keepsake Mill
  • Good and Bad Children
  • Foreign Children
  • The Sun's Travels
  • The Lamplighter
  • My Bed is a Boat
  • The Moon (poem)
  • The Swing
  • Time to Rise
  • Looking-glass River
  • Fairy Bread
  • From a Railway Carriage
  • Winter-time
  • The Hayloft
  • Farewell to the Farm
  • Northwest Passage: Good Night, Shadow March, In Port

The Child Alone

  • The Unseen Playmate
  • My Ship and I
  • My Kingdom
  • Picture-books in Winter
  • My Treasures
  • Block City
  • The Land of Story-books
  • Armies in the Fire
  • The Little Land

Garden Days

  • Night and Day
  • Nest Eggs
  • The Flowers
  • Summer Sun
  • The Dumb Soldier
  • Autumn Fires
  • The Gardener
  • Historical Associations


  • To Willie and Henrietta
  • To My Mother
  • To Auntie
  • To Minnie
  • To My Name-child
  • To Any Reader


  • Disneyland Record released a LP record of the poems set to music. Gwyn Conger wrote the music which was performed by Francis Archer and Beverly Gile.[3]
  • The Italian composer Carlo Deri composed, in 2005, a song for voice and piano, The Unseen Playmate, on Stevenson's poem. This song is also included in Deri's one-act opera Markheim (2008).[4]
  • The contemporary Lithuanian composer Giedrius Alkauskas (b. 1978) arranged five poems—"The Wind" (two alternative arrangements), "Rain", "Singing", "Marching Song", and "At the Sea-side"—as a six-song cycle, A Child's Garden of Songs, for mezzo-soprano, piano, and trumpet in B, which was released in 2014.[5][6]


  1. ^ "A child's garden of verses". Archive.org. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  2. ^ Charles H. Frey The Literary Heritage of Childhood: An Appraisal of Children's ..- 1987 - . 0313256810 "Stevenson's verses for children differ from the Mother Goose nursery rhymes and from the poems of Edward Lear in that ... In the poem "My Shadow," for instance, the speaker's shadow becomes a kind of darker shadow self "not at all like ...
  3. ^ Johnson, Jimmy (March 27, 1971). "The Disneyland Records Story". Billboard. p. D-2. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "Carlo Deri – Markheim". Teatrodioisa.pi.it. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Score of "A Child's Garden of Songs" on IMSLP". Imslp.org. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Recordings of the cycle "A Child's Garden of Songs"". YouTube. Retrieved 31 August 2017.

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