Written in the First Leaf of a Child’s Memorandum Book

By Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb

Illustrated by Winifred Green

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.

Illustration for Written in the First Leaf of a Child’s Memorandum Book by Winifred Green

From Poetry for Children, by Charles and Mary Lamb
London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1898.

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