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By Phoebe Cary

Suppose, my little lady,
      Your doll should break her head,
Could you make it whole by crying
      Till your eyes and nose are red?
And would n’t it be pleasanter
      To treat it as a joke;
And say you ’re glad “’T was Dolly’s
      And not your head that broke?”


Suppose you ’re dressed for walking,
      And the rain comes pouring down,
Will it clear off any sooner
      Because you scold and frown?
And would n’t it be nicer
      For you to smile than pout,
And so make sunshine in the house
      When there is none without?


Suppose your task, my little man,
      Is very hard to get,
Will it make it any easier
      For you to sit and fret?
And would n’t it be wiser
      Than waiting like a dunce,
To go to work in earnest
      And learn the thing at once?


Suppose that some boys have a horse,
      And some a coach and pair,
Will it tire you less while walking
      To say, “It is n’t fair?”
And would n’t it be nobler
      To keep your temper sweet,
And in your heart be thankful
      You can walk upon your feet?


And suppose the world don’t please you,
      Nor the way some people do,
Do you think the whole creation
      Will be altered just for you?
And is n’t it, my boy or girl,
      The wisest, bravest plan,
Whatever comes, or does n’t come,
      To do the best you can?


  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living

Poet Bio

Phoebe Cary
Phoebe Cary was born in 1824 and grew up on a farm near Cincinnati, Ohio, in an area later immortalized by her sister Alice’s Clovernook stories. Both sisters immersed themselves in the classics of literature under the tutelage of an older sister whose death in 1833 affected them deeply. Although Phoebe and Alice published poems while still teenagers, it wasn’t until 1850, after their work had been noticed by such luminaries as Edgar Allan Poe and John Greenleaf Whittier, that they published their book, Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary. After this literary debut, the sisters moved to New York City, where they became central figures in the East Coast literary milieu, contributed regularly to national periodicals, and hosted a famous salon on Sunday evenings. They were also active in the early days of the women’s rights movement, with Phoebe Cary serving as an assistant editor for Susan B. Anthony’s newspaper The Revolution.  See More By This Poet

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