This is one of the finest poems I ever read! I hope you enjoy it too!
As shades of evening settled down,
The Brownies rambled through the town,
To pry at this, to pause at that,
By something else to hold a chat,
And in their free and easy vein
Express themselves in language plain
At length before a store, their eyes
Were fixed with wonder and surprise
On toys of wood, and wax, and tin,
And toys of rubber piled within.
Said one, "In all our wandering 'round,
A sight like this we never found.
When such a passing glimpse we gain,
What wonders must the shelves contain!"
Another said, "It must be here
Old Santa Claus comes every year
To gather up his large supply,
When Christmas Eve is drawing nigh,
That children through the land may find
They still are treasured in his mind."
A third remarked, "Ere long he may
Again his yearly visit pay;
Before he comes to strip the place,
We'll rummage shelf, and box, and case,
Until the building we explore
From attic roof to basement floor,
And prove what pleasure may be found
In all the wonders stowed around."
Not long were they content to view
Through dusty panes those wonders new;
And, in a manner quite their own,
They made their way through wood and stone.
And then surprises met the band,
In odd conceits from every land.
Well might the Brownies stand and stare
At all the objects crowded there!
Here, things of gentle nature lay
In safety, midst the beasts of prey;
The goose and fox,a friendly pair,
Reposed beside the lamb and bear.
There horses stood for boys to ride;
Here boats were waiting for the tide,
While ships of war, with every sail
Unfurled,were anchored to a nail;
There soldiers stood in warlike bands;
And naked dolls held out their hands,
As though to urge the passers-by
To take them from the public eye.
This way and that, the Brownies ran;
To try the toys they soon began.
The Jack-in-box,so quick and strong,
with staring eyes and whiskers long,
Now o'er and o'er was set and sprung
Until the scalp was from it flung;
And then they crammed him in his case,
With wig and night-cap in their place,
To give some customer a start
When next the jumper flew apart.
The trumpets, drums, and weapons bright
Soon filled them all with great delight.
Like troops preparing for their foes,
In single ranks and double rows,
They learned the arts of war as told
By printed books and veterans old;
With swords of tin and guns of wood,
They wheeled about, and marched or stood
And went through skirmish drill and all,
From room to room by bugle-call;
The music-box poured forth an air
That charmed the dullest spirits there,
Till, yielding to the pleasing sound,
They danced with dolls a lively round.
There fish was working tail and fin
In seas confined by wood and tin;
The canvas shark and rubber whale
Seemed ill content in dish or pail,
And leaping all obstructions o'er
Performed their antics on the floor.
More gave the singing tops no rest--
But kept them spinning at their best
Until some wonder strange and new
To other points attention drew.
Some found at marbles greatest fun,
And still they played, and still they won,
Until they claimed as winners, all
The shop could furnish, large and small.
The rocking-horse that wildly rose,
Now on its heels, now on its nose,
Was forced to bear so great a load,
It seemed to founder on the road,
Then tumble feebly to the floor,
Never to lift a rocker more.
'Twas hardly missed in such a store,
With wonders fairly running o'er;
To something else about the place
The happy Brownie turned his face,
And only feared the sun would call
Before he had his sport with all.
Thus through the shop in greatest glee,
They rattled 'round, the sights to see,
Till stars began to dwindle down,
And morning crept into the town.
And then with all the speed they knew,
Away to forest shades they flew.