"Great, Wide, Beautiful, Wonderful World" by William Brighty Rands

Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful World,
With the wonderful water round you curled,
And the wonderful grass upon your breast—
World, you are beautifully drest.
The wonderful air is over me,
And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree,
It walks on the water, and whirls the mills,
And talks to itself on the tops of the hills.
You friendly Earth! how far do you go,
With the wheat-fields that nod and the rivers that flow,
With cities and gardens, and cliffs, and isles,
And people upon you for thousands of miles?
Ah, you are so great, and I am so small,
I tremble to think of you, World, at all;
And yet, when I said my prayers to-day,
A whisper inside me seemed to say,
“You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot:
You can love and think, and the Earth cannot!”

Lilliput Lyrics (1899) | William Brighty Rands (1823–1882)

  • Read the poem out loud.
  • Choose one of the stanzas to copy and illustrate.
  • Older students can copy the entire poem into their copybook.
  • What two things are being compared? Make a compare/contrast chart.
  • Younger children may enjoy thinking of other things they can do that the earth cannot.
  • Find examples of personification.
  • Find examples of alliteration.

Additional Resources

Great, Wide, Beautiful, Wonderful World
Colorful handout.

Free Nature Studies: A Story of the Rocks
Nicely fits this portion of our free nature studies.

Exploring Planet Earth

Exploring Planet Earth by John Hudson Tiner
Explore the earth! Students can work through the book on their own, providing narrations for each chapter. The questions at the end can be used for discussions. The book will help the student create a planet earth notebook (copywork, diagrams, timeline, etc.).

Online Poetry Anthology
Online Poetry Anthology

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