The Plea of the Children

A BOSTON peace advocate protests against allowingour children to play with tin guns, lead soldiers, and other warlike toys, lest mimic battle engender a spirit of militarism.

Mr. William Archer objects to giving Shakespeare to children, lest premature and ignorant familarity dull the edge of appreciation.

Dear parents, you have taught us to re spect you,
To think you wise and morally upright. Did your good parents, zealous to protect you
From evil influence, rob you of delight
And take away your toys by day
And books by night ?
When pewter regiments their foes o’erpowered
Upon your battlefield, the nursery floor,
Did you despise your Noah as a coward
Because his ark was not designed for war ?
Did toyland fill your hearts with military lore ?
If so, then take away our wooden daggers,
Break in our drums, and burn our paper hats;
Melt the lead soldier that so boldly swaggers
Among the woolly lambs and cotton cats.
(They fear no fray with him, for they Are diplomats.)
Give us instead toy courts of arbitration,
Little tin Hagues that peaceful toyshops sell,
And doll commissioners for every nation
With works ingeniously contrived to tell,
When gently pressed upon the chest,
That “War is hell.”
But don’t deprive us of those consolations
To childish hearts imperishably dear,
The works of Shakespeare, which two mighty nations
In unity neglect but still revere.
Don’t take away our right to say
We have read Lear.