Friday, April 3, 2009

1913: "A Lullaby" by Irma Spriggs

A Lullaby
Out mid the breakers the tide maketh moan
Sleep, baby, little one, sleep.
Father, the fisherman, ne’er cometh home.
Sleep, baby, little one, sleep.
Far o’er the ocean the dull leaden sky
Weeps out its heart for a day that is by,
Wild ‘gainst the black rocks, the wind rages high.
Sleep, baby, sleep; rock-a-bye.

Heed not the wind nor the rain nor the sea.
Sleep, baby, little one, sleep.
Mother’s lone arms still thy shelter shall be,
Sleep, baby, little one, sleep.
Sleep, though the treacherous tides nearer creep;
Sleep, though the winds round our frail cottage sweep.
Sleep, though sad hearts e’er a vigil shall keep
Till life, like thee, baby, sleep.

The Author:
Irma Spriggs
A native of Missouri, Spriggs joined the East Central Normal School faculty in 1911 as an Assistant in the Department of English at a time when East Central was both a high school and a two-year college. With a Master’s degree in Pedagogy, Spriggs was one of three faculty members in the department at the time. She was educated at Springfield State Normal School in her home state and later at the University of Chicago (in 1919, five of the 20 faculty members whose photos appear in the college yearbook, Pesagi, list the University of Chicago as one of their places where they were educated).

“A Few Established Rules,” a poem which appears in the 1916 Pesagi, suggests that Spriggs ran a tight ship in her classroom: “If you feel just/A little bit ‘bossy,’/And think that you can/Act and talk ‘saucy’—Try it on Miss Spriggs.” (32)

1919 appears to have been her last year at East Central.

In the 1917 Pesagi, a representative quote appears alongside the photo of each faculty member. The quote beside Spriggs's photo reads: “Well, so much for that.” (21)

SUBMITTED BY: Steve Benton
Pesagi. East Central State Normal yearbook: 1913, 1916, 1917.
Pesagi. East Central State Normal yearbook: 1913.

1 comment:

  1. Wow--this is fascinating. Her poem isn't half bad, either--it would be best realized in recitation, as it is meant to be sung as a lullaby (and so many poems at this time were recited aloud--a lost art for us). What an interesting glimpse at her life and career. I hope to have the same quote when I leave ECU: "Well, so much for that."