In 1715 Dr. Isaac Watts published a book of verse for children, Divine Songs for Children. It was quite popular in both England and America, and was widely read for the next hundred years. Not, it should be noted, because the verse was any good, but because it was considered important for children to get their morality lessons through a sutably artistic medium.

Nowadays, most people don't know any of his works. But this one is still seen here and there, mostly because of it has a famous parody. Even if you don't know this poem you will recognize it, because it was parodied by Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as How Doth the Little Crocodile.

Against Idleness and Mischief

How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!

How skilfully she builds her Cell!
How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet Food she makes.

In Works of Labour or of Skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
For idle Hands to do.

In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
Some good Account at last.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.