Written in the First Leaf of a Child’s Memorandum Book
My neat and pretty book, when I thy small lines see,
They seem for any use to be unfit for me:
My writing, all misshaped, uneven as my mind,
Within this narrow space can hardly be confined.
Yet I will strive to make my hand less awkward look;
I would not willingly disgrace thee, my neat book!
The finest pens I’ll use, and wondrous pains I’ll take,
And I these perfect lines my monitors will make.
And every day I will set down in order due
How that day wasted is; and should there be a few
At the year’s end that show more goodly to the sight,
If haply here I find some days not wasted quite,
If a small portion of them I have pass’d aright,
Then shall I think the year not wholly was misspent,
And that my Diary has been by some good angel sent.
From Poetry for Children, by Charles and Mary Lamb
London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1898.