The Story Of Romping Polly

A poem by Heinrich Hoffmann

"I pray you now, my little child,"
Thus once a kind old lady
Spoke to her niece in accents mild,
"Do try to be more steady.
I know that you will often see
Rude boys push, drive, and hurry;
But little girls should never be
All in a heat and flurry."

While thus the lady gave advice
And lectured little Polly,
To see her stand with downcast eyes,
You'd think she'd owned her folly.
She did, and many a promise made;
But when her aunt departed,
Forgetting all, the silly maid
Off to the playground started.

Now see what frolic and what fun,
The little folks are after;
Away they jump, away they run,
With many a shout and laughter.

But fools who never will be taught,
Except by some disaster,
Soon find their knowledge dearly bought,
And of a cruel master.
This little girl, who, spite of all
Her good old aunt had spoken,
Would romp about, had such a fall
That her poor leg was broken.

In sore amaze, those standing by
Then placed her on a barrow;
But oh! to hear her scream and cry
Their souls it sure did harrow.

See how her brother bursts in tears,
When told the dreadful story;
And see how carefully he bears
The limb all wet and gory.

Full many a week, screwed up in bed,
She lingered sad and weary;

And went on crutches, it is said,
Until she died so dreary.

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