(Poem #799) Mr Toad
The world has held great Heroes, As history-books have showed; But never a name to go down to fame Compared with that of Toad! The clever men at Oxford Know all that there is to be knowed. But they none of them know one half as much As intelligent Mr Toad! The animals sat in the Ark and cried, Their tears in torrents flowed. Who was it said, "There's land ahead"? Encouraging Mr Toad! The army all saluted As they marched along the road. Was it the King? Or Kitchener? No. It was Mr Toad. The Queen and her Ladies-in-waiting Sat at the window and sewed. She cried, "Look! Who's that HANDSOME man?" They answered, "Mr Toad."
From "The Wind in the Willows", first published in 1908. Sung (loudly) by Toad, after his escape from prison and sundry other inconveniences. "The Wind in the Willows" is one of a select group of books that fully deserve the name 'classic'. From its publication in 1908 to the present day, the adventures of Mole, Rat, Otter, Badger and the irrepressible Toad (of Toad Hall) have enthralled young and old alike... ... oh dear, I'm beginning to sound like a publisher's blurb. Damnation! Anyway. The Wind in the Willows truly is a classic. It's a book of many moods: the beauty and mystery of the Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the enchantment of the Sea Rat's spellbinding tales, the thrills (and spills) of Toad's rollicking adventures, the terror of the Wild Wood, the humour and simplicity and joy of Ratty's escapades, the enthusiasm and loyalty of Mole... it's all there and it's all magical, utterly magical. Grahame creates a world that's utterly convincing, and utterly true. And underlying it all is a gentle nostalgia, a quietness and ineffable peace that suffuses his portrayal of the Thames riverbank. Wonderful. thomas. [Biography] born March 8, 1859, Edinburgh, Scot. died July 6, 1932, Pangbourne, Berkshire, Eng. Author of The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the English classics of children's literature. Its animal characters -- principally Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad -- combine captivating human traits with authentic animal habits. It is a story that adults have enjoyed as much as children. Orphaned at an early age, Grahame went to live with his grandmother in England and attended St. Edward's School, Oxford. Money was lacking for him to go to the university; hence his family guided him into a career at the Bank of England, with which he stayed until ill health compelled him to retire in 1907. Meanwhile he contributed articles to such journals as the St. James Gazette and the Yellow Book and published collections of sketches, stories, and essays -- Pagan Papers (1893), The Golden Age (1895), and Dream Days (1898) -- all of which reveal his sensitive understanding of childhood. The Wind in the Willows was dramatized by A. A. Milne as Toad of Toad Hall (1930) and became a frequently performed Christmas play. -- EB [Links] Here's the complete text of Grahame's classic: http://www.literatureproject.com/wind-willows/index.htm Here's Winnie-the-Pooh: [broken link] http://www.machaon.ru/pooh/ And here are some poems by A. A. Milne to have featured on the Minstrels: Poem #91, "Cottleston Pie" Poem #463, "Disobedience" Poem #562, "The King's Breakfast" Poem #576, "Tra-la-la, tra-la-la" Incidentally, both Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind in the Willows share the distinction of being transcriptions of bedtime stories told by their creators to their sons (Christopher Robin Milne and Alastair Grahame, respectively).