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              James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

                      LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE


                     WITH ALL FAITH AND AFFECTION

    To all the little children:—The happy ones; and sad ones;
    The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
    The good ones—Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

    LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
    An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
    An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
    An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
    An' all us other children, when the supper things is done,
    We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
    A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
    An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
                            Ef you

    Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers—
    An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
    His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his daddy heerd him bawl,
    An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
    An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
    An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'wheres, I guess;
    But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:—
    An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
                            Ef you

    An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
    An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
    An' wunst when they was "company," an' ole folks was there,
    She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she did n't care!
    An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
    They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
    An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
    An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
                            Ef you

    An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
    An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
    An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
    An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,—
    You better mind yer parunts, and yer teachurs fond an' dear,
    An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
    An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
    Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
                            Ef you


The above poem can be found in:
  • Riley, James Whitcomb. The Complete Poetical Works of James Whitcomb
    Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993.