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In many countries around the world, Mother’s Day is in May.

Below is a quaint poem I found called “My Mother”. It was written by Ann Taylor (1783 –1866). She’s the sister of Jane Taylor, the author of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Ann and Jane published books of rhymes and poems together.

The illustrations below were done by Walter Crane. Here’s what Crane wrote about it in 1910:

“My Mother” is mid-Victorian-just after crinolines had gone out-but mothers are always in fashion, bless them…

Crinolines are so old-fashioned that many of us in the 21st century are no longer familiar with the word! Crinolines were hoop petticoats worn under skirts to give them a wide round shape. They were often made out of steel to support and widen the look of the skirt. Ladies, let’s all be glad we’re not too familiar with this word!

So here’s the poem with Cranes sweet illustrations…

Walter Crane Illustration of My Mother Poem

My Mother

Who fed me from her gentle breast,
And hush’d me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
My Mother.

When sleep forsook my open eye,
Who was it sung sweet hushaby,
And rock’d me that I should not cry?
My Mother.

Who sat and watched my infant head,
When sleeping in my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
My Mother.

Walter Crane Illustration of My Mother Poem - Baby in Bed

When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
My Mother.

Who dress’d my doll in clothes so gay,
And taught me pretty how to play.
And minded all I had to say?
My Mother.

Walter Crane Illustration of My Mother Poem - Playing with Dolls

Who taught my infant lips to pray,
And love God’s holy book and day.
And walk in Wisdom’s pleasant way?
My Mother.

And can I ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee,
Who was so very kind to me?
My Mother

Walter Crane Illustration of My Mother Poem - In Garden

Ah, no! the thought I cannot bear;
And if God please my life to spare,
I hope I shall reward thy care,
My Mother.

Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well?
My Mother.

Walter Crane Illustration of My Mother Poem - Child Fell

When thou art feeble, old, and gray,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
And I will soothe thy pains away.
My Mother.

Walter Crane Illustration of My Mother Poem - Older Mother

And when I see thee hang thy head,
‘Twill be my turn to watch thy bed.
And tears of sweet affection shed,
My Mother.

Walter Crane Illustration of My Mother Poem - Mother in Bed

For God, who lives above the skies,
Would look with vengeance in His eyes,
If I should ever dare despise
My Mother.

[Note from Mama Lisa: Taylor later softened the last verse, changing it to the following.]

For could our Father in the skies
Look down with pleased or loving eyes,
If ever I could dare despise
My Mother.

UPDATE: Part of this poem is sung in Cameroon, Africa as a children’s song.

P.S. Here are some other posts about Mother’s Day, including other poems:

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This artilce was posted on Sunday, May 4th, 2008 at 4:42 pm and is filed under Ann Taylor, Australia, Canada, Countries & Cultures, Crinoline, England, English, Holidays Around the World, Jane Taylor, Languages, Mama Lisa, Mother's Day Poems, Mothers Day, My Mother, Poems, Poetry, Poets, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Poem, USA, United Kingdom, Words & Phrases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

57 Responses to ““My Mother” a Victorian Poem”

  1. Abby Says:

    I was wondrin if u can put this poem in Spanish

  2. maha rafi Says:

    well, its a joy to visit your website.You have got great poems to show love and affection between motherand her daughter.love your website forever and ever.

  3. Marnna Sheppard Says:

    I am so pleased to see this lovely old poem published again.
    We had to memorize this in school (with the correct expressions in our voice) away back in 1934/35!

    Unabashed tenderness.

  4. yomela Says:

    I LOVE YOUR STORY.

  5. DLT Says:

    I AM THE HAPPIEST PERSON ON EARTH SEING THIS TODAY, I WILL GIVE A SONG WITH THIS AND THE WORLD WILL FEEL IT.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH

  6. Frankwhite Says:

    Amazing poem! Brings back memories. For some odd reason I just remembered it and also remembered how we had to memorise it in elementary school. Could not resist the urge of finding it online and reliving the memories. and here it is the greatest poem of the 20th Century!!

  7. Judyke Says:

    “My Mother” remains the greatest poem for greatest mums!
    Mine is one…just thought of my mum and the memories of elementary school flashed back to my favourite poem for a mother of all mothers-Mrs. E.M. DIKE of Delta State-Nigeria(luv u so much my sweet mum).
    It took me some time to get this website on google but eventually did and here is the original version of the poem.
    Thanks for the good job!

  8. Carole Says:

    I am looking for a short mothers’s day poem (or May poem) in English to teach young 11/12 year old French kids.
    Any ideas? Thanks!

  9. Ujjwal Says:

    i love you mom

  10. Allen Says:

    I love this poem even more now that Mom has gone to be with the Lord. The poem brings back memories of my early childhood when Mom would read stories and poems from a set of books called “Books Of Life”. This poem is found in one of the volumes. To all that have their Mothers still with them, give them a big hug for me on Mother’s Day. Wish I could hug my Mother now. Thanks

  11. Trini Says:

    so i was looking 4 a victorian poem to use 4 a recitation i have due 2morrow 4 british literature 12b n i ran into this poem. as i read i thought too myself that this poem was veri beautiful. every word was touching to my heart and made me think of my own mother.

  12. John Taiti FODJE Says:

    We memorized and sang this poem in elementary school in 1954. Last year I searched for it from the internet and when I discovered it, I leaped up in joyful ectasy! Those who still have their mothers around should read this poem and do what every child must do to one who almost gave up her life to ensure that they are what they are today! Your mother is the most most precious pearl you have! You may not know it until you lose it! Each of us has a divine duty to be good to our mother and to put a smile on her face everyday of their remaining days! And when we do, God’s blessings will abound in us! -John FODJE

  13. Adekunle Osiguwa Says:

    I am so please to see this poem being publish, It remind me of my primary school days where i we are force to recite this poem on and on again in order to remind us that we own our a great debt. On the nutchshell I am bless with this poem and because it remind me of the my dity as a child toward my mother

  14. hassu Says:

    very nise poetry — please do send me IN LONDON TWON poetry — a story called like this — poet is sitting a beautiful evening in london twon in garden and saw a beautiful bird looks like golden eyes some mistuivous fellows kills that bird — please send me the poem

  15. Sheila Smith Says:

    My mother gave this poem to me when I was barely a teenager and I
    memorized it for the most part. She told me to give it to my daughter,
    but I never had a daughter. I lost the orignal poem that my mother
    gave me and later found a book entitled Best Loved Poems at a book
    store in the mall and the poem My Mother was in it, however two verses
    were missing from the original poem and they were Who dressed my
    doll in clothes so gay and the other verse Who ran to help me when
    I fell were excluded from the original poem and it was condebsed to fit
    format of the book. My Mother passed on 5-04-2009 at 98 yrs old
    and I read the peom at her funeral. In poem book it said that Jane
    Tayor wrote the poem. That poem meant a lot to me and my mother
    was a Godly lady with vision and the poem My Mother was embodied
    how deep the bond was between the two of us were. I cared for her
    to her final days and my healthy arm was her stay and I did try to soothe
    her pains away and I sis see her head was hung when I got the call
    from the healthcare center and they delivered the sad news to me and
    I arrived there with a heavy heart for the only woman that I truly ,truly
    loved was gone. My mother would have been 99 on July 2nd and this
    was my first mother’s day without her but, every day was mother’s day
    to me when she was alive. I don’t how I have the strength to type this
    because I am heartbroken and 2 weeks ago today was her funeral.

    Taylor wrote the poem and now I just learned that her sister wrote it.

  16. Sheila Smith Says:

    I meant to say that that in the poem book it stated that Jane Taylor wrote
    the book and I just learned that her sister Ann Taylor wrote “My Mother”

  17. AYOBAMI Says:

    I LOVE IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!!!!!

  18. mary oluwatunbi Says:

    it is a great work, i am excited getting to know the author of the popular poem ‘my mother’. i have also written a book titled: mothers: homemakers and nation builders. it is due for public presentation in august, 2009. cheers!!!

  19. SHYAM Says:

    DEAR MAM,
    isntit lullaby rather than hushaby

  20. Lisa Says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s “hushaby” (which basically means “lullaby”).

  21. Bolaji Says:

    WOWwwwwwwww!!! i am very happy to see this lovwly poem again..After 25 yrs bacl..lol//Just feeling the poem and flash back memories.

    May The Soul Of My Mom rest In Peace.

  22. Julie Aidee Says:

    Twas nice reading this poem again almost 30 something years after
    It sure brought tears to my eyes
    Cos i lost my mum when l was very very young
    And now am a mum
    Wondering…….will my son see me in this light???
    Nice piece of art
    God bless the author of this poem
    Still relevant to date.

  23. Fr. Nicholas Djebah Says:

    I bless God finding this poem. My late sister Agatha recited this poem to my hearing severally while in kindergerten and primary 1 (between 1980-1981). Since my mother took ill two months ago, it has continually replayed itself and I’ve been in search for the lyrics. God rest her soul in peace. May He, too, stretch his hands on my mother to heal her wounds.

  24. Maxine Says:

    A mother poet after my own mother poet’s heart. I have to add you to my blogroll. Can I, can I? Please?

  25. Ngozi Says:

    My beloved mum just passed away and I could not help but think about how she taught me to sing this poem in my Primary School days when I was memorizing this poem to recite in the school morning assembly. Mama rest with our Lord Jesus.

  26. Ruby Says:

    This poem sent my mind back to when I was really young. Now that Im much older, I now truely understand it more that before. Its now meaning a lot to me and has brought tears to my eyes.

  27. The Victorian Poem “My Mother” is Sung in Cameroon, Africa as a Childrens Song! | Mama Lisa's World Blog Says:

    [...] the past, I posted the Victorian poem “My Mother” written by Ann Taylor. Ann was the sister of Jane Taylor the author of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. It turns out that 2 [...]

  28. Emmanuel Says:

    Hey !! am so much please to see this best poems onces again , i cant believe i am reading this sweet poems , i used to read and recite this poems when i was in teen . a very big thks to this site ….

  29. klakshmi Says:

    thanks to the site. have been searching for this poem and finally found it. such a sweet tearful poem. ever green.

  30. KTM Says:

    THIS IS A VERY LOVELY MESSAGE ABOUT OUR MOTHER, I LOVE IT

  31. Betty Newah-Jarfoi Says:

    The words of this poem has touched my whole life and always brings tears to my eyes when ever i read it since my child hood days. My mother died when i was still a child, this poem has always reminded me of how sweet a mothers love can be, now that i am a mother of three, you may not know how much i appreciate your wisdom.
    Rest in peace Mama even though i never had the opportunity to know u i still loved u in your absence.
    O sweet MAMA.

  32. kanayo nwankwo Says:

    i love this poem so much, though mama cecelia didnt live long enough to enjoy the fruits of her faithful labour, my joy is that she knows she will always be appreciated, loved, trusted and her memory remain ever green in our minds. God bless the poet that wrote this poem, it is inspirational and brings out the child in man!

  33. anthony Says:

    oh! what a great thing it is,having a mother,my mum passed on when i was 14,since then i have lived in pain wishing she will be here again for me.this poem i ve learnt since my nursery school days alway remind me of her affectionate care and always make me cry about losing her at my early stage of life.i ll always miss u and love u as long as i live.REST IN THE BOSSOM OF THE LORD SWEET MOTHER.ADIEU

  34. olabisi Oguntoyinbo Says:

    These verses are all about my mother. My God, I love this song and we should never forget how important MOTHERS are to us.

  35. Sanjee Hammannavar Says:

    wow..i extremely happy. This poem has made me remember my childhood.
    Every one must read this poem so that every one takes proper care of his/her mother. This poem realizes me.. that the living god is mother.

  36. Rosemary Says:

    I have always recited or sang this poem since when i was a child.. the pictures made me absorb it more…

    INFACT _-

    Mum… u will continue to be the best mum in the world and I would definitely keep the flag flying with my own kids too. Love u so much mum.

  37. david damon wilson Says:

    the words get back to does day when i used to be sick mama is always there to make me feel happy and strong with the way she use to sing that song.

  38. Mercy Nain Says:

    I was elated when I saw the poem “My Mother” by Ann Taylor. It brought back the memories of my first years in secondary school when we used to chant the poem. Little did we even know the significance of this poem.As I grew older and mature and I understood the indepth of this poem and how important my sweet mom is and has been to me. I will forever love and respect you mom. Happy Mother’s Day and may you leave long so I could equally watch over you head in bed.

  39. ginika ezeani tonetta Says:

    i luv it so much i read it to my little sis and she actually stopped crying

  40. jane otehtubi Says:

    I was taught this poem as a child and when i had my children, i song this poem in whatever way i could remember it, till this year my daughter asked me to sing it properly as she wanted to write the words, as i did not know what the words were, i turned to the internet and GOD BLESS you, my heart leaped with JOY when i came across the whole poem. My daughter and I learn the whole poem in one day and now she has used it as
    1) Her mother’s day talk 2011.
    2) She has used it as her living in the “Victorian Times” project.
    3) She uses it to comfort herself and her brother.
    BUT
    Today, she asked me if it was ok to make a drama production with the poem and me as the “Mother”.

    What joy to know that my darling daughter understand’s now not only the meaning of this poem, but the love between a Mother and Child. because my darling daugther is only 8 years old.

  41. Grace Says:

    this is amazing cos i have been searching for the lyrics ever since. may the Almighty bless whom soever published this poem. amen

  42. Yasmeen Khan Says:

    great poem and great illustrations indeed! I was so inspired that I created a power point presentation on the poem for my students. We have this poem on our high school syllabus.
    cheers.
    Yasmeen
    Pakistan

  43. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for writing Yasmeen! That’s nice to hear.

  44. delirante Says:

    That was a touching poem, I was looking for a victorian poem to include it in a fanfiction and found this page. Thanks for bringing it to us!

  45. Ifeanyi Louis Says:

    Wow!!! it’s much more than a poem to me. I really cannot remember memorizing it years back though, however, i still have some of the verses in memory. To God alone be all the glory, my sweet mum & dad are very much alive, am happy finding this ‘evergreen lullaby’ at this time… it’s miraculous. I pray the Good Lord will help me from today onwards, to always warm the hearts of lovely Mum & Dad than ever before and be there for them. Amen! Please, say Amen to my prayer… I’ll always treasure ”MY MOTHER”. God bless you all for leaving notes for ‘mama’…Tears running down my cheeks… Thank you Jesus.

  46. Darlington C. Onuoha Says:

    ..And at what time I have to think,
    I’ll write my love for you in ink,
    I’ll be your child til the sun will sink…
    My Mother!!!

    I am so touched by the emotions from this lovely poem that I could not help but pen a verse for my own dear mother and the mothers across the world. A mother is the kind of blessing you have and never know how much she means until you lose her……I love you mama!

  47. Kene Nwogbo Says:

    Love all the poem…

  48. Dapo Alabi Says:

    My mum, Iya Alabi is a great woman. Love this poem so much I guess there no one as indebted to his mum as much as I am. Love u ma’

  49. Prince B. Says:

    Wow… my long search poem for my lovely mum… my one and only. Thanks for bringing this online ….

  50. Bolaji Says:

    My son of 5 has been telling his mother (my wife), ‘mum,i dont like u’ without any geniue reason, then i remembered this poem & i searched for d wordings here & sang it to him after which he hugged his mum & kissed him.
    You intend to murder if u hate ur mother

  51. seun akinwumi Says:

    tomorow sun.13-5-2012 is our church mothers day@ cgm int’lDH2 abeokuta.the children and the choir’ll sing dis poem2all mamas.i know a little of dis poem,i can now see other stanza,am a teacher i’ll also teach my pupils @school.

  52. Okoye Slamron Joseph Says:

    So pretty good to have such a long awaiting poem back again. So affectionate even while the rhymes last. It makes me remember my mother all the time and i know it will be my tribute for her when she will die.

  53. ADEIZA Says:

    May d soul of Ann Taylor rest in perfect peace
    May God bless her, bless Mama Lisa and bless all the MOTHERS of this world…
    Lets give peace a chance, love peace and preach peace…PEACE!

  54. sushant Says:

    she is the best whom can i trust & she is my life without her i am nothing

  55. princessdollie Says:

    i love my mother a lot and my mother is my best freind…..

  56. Busola Olatunji Says:

    On Tuesday, 5th of February,1985 I lost my mom to cancer. I can recall as a child, that I stood close to the window on 10th of February same year with tears in my eyes because it was my 10th birthday and my mom was not there as promised to celebrate with me; and mostly because nobody remembered.
    I sat down with tears in my eyes and my poem book at hand, reciting this wonderful poem; realising that my healthy arms shall never be her stay and I shall never soothe her pains away.
    My Mother.
    I remember all we did in our short 10 years together and I will forever cherish the memories in a golden place in my heart.

  57. adaeze Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing.love d memories it brings,mum is gone but her tough love moulded me into d woman I ve become. Happy mothers day to all mothers out there. RIP Lisa Taylor n mum Dorathy Nwankwo.

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