David Rands has kindly shared with readers of the Victorian Web his site about the life and works of W. B. Rands, the prolific writer of children's literature and originator of The Boy's Own Paper. Readers may wish to consult this site for more information about this little-known figure who had an immense influence upon Victorian children. [GPL]

I know an absent-minded boy,
To meditate is all his joy;
He seldom does the thing he ought
Because he is so rapt in thought.

At marbles he can never win;
He wears his waistcoat outside-in;
He cannot add a sum up right;
And often he is not polite.

His mother cries, "My poor heart breaks,
Because the child makes such mistakes;
He never knows," she says with sighs,
Which side the bread his butter lies!"

One day, anbsorbed in meditation,
He roamed into a railway station,
And in a corner of a train
Sat doen, with inattentive brain.

They rang the vbell, the whistle blew,
They shook the flags, the engine flew;
But all the noise did not induce
this boy to quit hids mood abstruse.

And when three hours were past abnd gone
He found himself at Somethington;
"What is this place?" he sighed in vain,
For railway mencan not speak plain.

When he got home his parents had
To pay his fare, which was too bad;
More than two hundred miles, alas
The absent boy had gone first-class.

For fear he should, in absentness,
Forget his own name and address
whilst he pursues his meditations,
And so be lost to his relations,

Would it be best that he should wear
A collar like our dog, or bear
His name and home in indigo
Pricked on his shoulder, or below?

The chief objection to this plan
Is, that his father is a man
Who often moves. If we begin
To prick the boy's home on his skin,

Before long he will be tattooed
With indigo from head to foot;
Perhaps a label on his chest
Would meet the difficulty best.


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Last modified 21 August 2005