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    Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977)

           WALTER DE LA MARE
  Tells His Listeners About Jack and Jill.

    UP to the top of the haunted turf
        They climbed on the moonlit hill.
    Not a leaf rustled in the underbrush;
        The listening air was still.

    And only the noise of the water pail
        As it struck on a jutting stone,
    Clattered and jarred against the silence
        As the two trod on alone.

    Up to the moonlit crest they went;
        And though, not a word would they say,
    Their thoughts outnumbered a poet's love-songs
        In the first green weeks of May.

    The stealthy shadows crept closer,
        They clutched at the hem of Jill's gown;
    And there at the very top she stumbled,
        And Jack came shuddering down.

    Their cries rang out against the stillness,
        Pitiful and high and thin.
    And the echoes edged back still further
        As the silence gathered them in.


Untermeyer is perhaps best known as an anthologist, but the above poem can be found in his collection of parodies and light verse:
  • Untermeyer, Louis. "— and Other Poets". New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1916.

    The original:

        Jack and Jill went up the hill
            To fetch a pail of water;
        Jack fell down and broke his crown,
            And Jill came tumbling after.

    can be traced back to at least the eighteenth century. Various extra verses and theories of greater antiquity can be found in:

  • Opie, Iona and Peter Opie, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. London: Oxford University Press, 1952.