1 Once a trap was baited with a dainty piece of cheese;
It tickled so a little mouse it almost made him sneeze.
An old mouse said, “there’s danger; be careful where you go.”
“Oh, nonsense,” said the mousey, “I don’t think you know.”
So he walked in boldly—nobody was in sight;
First he took a nibble, then he took a bite;
Close the trap together snapped as quick as you could wink,
Catching mousey fast there “because he didn’t think.”
2 Once there was a robin lived outside the kitchen door,
Who wanted so to go inside and hop upon the floor;
“Oh, no,” said robin’s mother, “I wish you’d stay with me;
For little birds are safest sitting in a tree.”
“I don’t care,” said robin, and gave his tail a fling;
“I don’t think the old folks know quite everything.”
Down he flew, the cat caught him before he’d time to blink;
“Oh,” he cried, “I’m sorry, but then, I didn’t think.”
3 Now, my little children, you who sing this little song,
Oh, don’t you see what trouble comes from simply doing wrong?
And can’t you take a warning from mouse and robin’s fate?
For they began their thinking when it was too late.
Think not all is safety, although no danger shows;
Thinking you know more than anybody knows;
But when warned of ruin, always pause upon the brink;
Don’t go over headlong “because you didn’t think.”
Phoebe Cary, (1824-1871) was born and raised in Mount Healthy in Hamilton County, Ohio. Her family came from Lyme, New Hampshire to Ohio when her grandfather was given land in return for his service in the Continental Army. She was the younger sister of Alice Cary (1820-1871). She and Alice submitted poetry to religious periodicals. Phoebe remained in Ohio and continued to write many hymns, including, "One sweetly solemn thought."
Mary Louise VanDyke… Go to person page >