Sir Walter Raleigh

Here you will find the Poem Stans Puer ad Mensam of poet Sir Walter Raleigh

Stans Puer ad Mensam

Attend my words, my gentle knave, 
 And you shall learn from me 
 How boys at dinner may behave 
 With due propriety. 

 Guard well your hands: two things have been 
 Unfitly used by some; 
 The trencher for a tambourine, 
 The table for a drum. 

 We could not lead a pleasant life, 
 And 'twould be finished soon, 
 If peas were eaten with the knife, 
 And gravy with the spoon. 

 Eat slowly: only men in rags 
 And gluttons old in sin 
 Mistake themselves for carpet bags 
 And tumble victuals in. 

 The privy pinch, the whispered tease, 
 The wild, unseemly yell -- 
 When children do such things as these, 
 We say, "It is not well." 

 Endure your mother's timely stare, 
 Your father's righteous ire, 
 And do not wriggle on your chair 
 Like flannel in the fire. 

 Be silent: you may chatter loud 
 When you are fully grown, 
 Surrounded by a silent crowd 
 Of children of your own. 

 If you should suddenly feel bored 
 And much inclined to yawning, 
 Your little hand will best afford 
 A modest useful awning. 

 Think highly of the Cat: and yet 
 You need not therefore think 
 That portly strangers like your pet 
 To share their meat and drink. 

 The end of dinner comes ere long 
 When, once more full and free, 
 You cheerfully may bide the gong 
 That calls you to your tea.