Ella Wheeler Wilcox (5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)
The Island Of Endless Play
Said Willie to Tom 'Let us hie away
To the wonderful Island of Endless Play.
It lies off the border of 'No School Land'
And abounds with pleasures, I understand.
There boys go swimming whenever they please
In a lovely river right under the trees.
And marbles are free, no one has to buy;
And kites of all sizes are ready to fly.
We sail down the Isthmus of Idle Delight,
We sail and we sail for a day and a night.
And then if favored by billows and breeze
We land in the harbor of Do-as-you-please.
And their lies the Island of Endless Play
With no one to say to us Must or Nay.
Books are not known in that land so fair,
Teachers are stoned if they set foot there.
Hurrah for the Island so glad and free,
That is the country for you and me.'
So away went Willie and Tom together
On a pleasure boat, in the lazy weather,
And they sailed in the teeth of a friendly breeze
Right into the harbor of 'Do-as-you-please!'
Where boats and tackle and marbles and kites
Were waiting them there in this Land of Delights.
They dwelt on the Island of Endless Play
For five long years; then one sad day
A strange dark ship sailed up to the strand,
And 'Ho! for the voyage to Stupid Land.'
The Captain cried with a terrible noise
As he seized the frightened and struggling boys,
And threw them into the dark Ship's hold,
And off and away sailed the Captain bold.
They vainly begged him to let them out,
He answered only with scoff and shout.
'Boys that don't study or work,' said he,
'Must sail one day down the Ignorant Sea
To Stupid Land by the No-Book strait,
With Captain Time on the Pitiless Fate.'
Then he let out the sails and away went the three,
Over the waters of Ignorant Sea.
Out and away to Stupid Land,
And they live there yet, I understand.
And there's where every one goes, they say,
Who seeks the Island of Endless Play.
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