Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
Excuse for Not Fulfilling an Engagement
By Lydia H. Sigourney (1791–1865)
Written in School, August, 1814.

MY friend, I gave a glad assent
  To your request at noon,
But now I find I cannot leave
  My little ones so soon.—
Early I came, and as my feet        5
  First enter’d at the door,
“Remember!”—to myself I said,
  “You must dismiss at four.”
But slates, and books, and maps appear,
  And many a dear one cries,        10
“O tell us where that river runs,
  And where these mountains rise,
And where that blind old monarch reign’d,
  And who was king before,
And stay a little after five,        15
  And tell us something more.”—
And then my little Alice 1 comes,
  And who unmoved can view,
The glance of that imploring eye,
  “Pray, teach me something too.”        20
Yet who would think amid the toil,
  (Though scarce a toil it be,)
That through the door the muses coy
  Should deign to peep at me.—
Their brow is somewhat cold and stern,        25
  As if it fain would say,
“We did not know you kept a school,
  We must have lost our way.”
Their visit was but short indeed,
  As these slight numbers show,        30
But ah! they bade me write with speed,
  My friend,—I cannot go.
Note 1. A child deprived of the powers of speech and hearing. [back]

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