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.
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.