Eugene Field

St Louis / Missouri / United States


Eugene Field, Sr. was an American writer, best known for his children's poetry an humorous essays. He was one of the few poets who wrote only children's poetry. That is how he got his nickname, The Children's Poet. It all started September 2, 1850, at 634 South Broadway in Saint Louis. That's where and when Eugene Field was born. He had one brother named Roswell, who was one year younger than he, and a sister who died soon after her birth. He and his brother were very close, but very different. Eugene took after their mother, Francis, while Roswell took after their father. Eugene hated studying, but his Roswell loved it. Eugene was afraid of the dark while his brother wasn't afraid of anything. When the boys were six and five, their mother died. Mr. Field sent them to live with their cousin, Mary French, in Massachusetts until he could take care of them. While living on their cousin's farm, Eugene wrote his first poem . He was nine then, and the poem was about their cousin's dog, Fido.  Eugene went on to William's College in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, his father died when he was nineteen and he dropped out after eight months. Next he went to Knox College but dropped out of college after a year. Then he went to the University of Missouri, where his brother was also attending. While there, he met Julia Comstock, who was fourteen. When Julia turned sixteen, she and Eugene married. They had eight children. He first started publishing poetry in 1879, when his poem "Christmas Treasures" appeared in A Little Book of Western Verse. Over a dozen volumes of poetry followed and he became well known for his light-hearted poems for children. Field died in Chicago of a heart attack at the age of 45. He is buried at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth, Illinois.

Sample Poem

Japanese Lullaby

Sleep, little pigeon, and fold your wings,— Little blue pigeon with velvet eyes; Sleep to the singing of mother-bird swinging— Swinging the nest where her little one lies.

Away out yonder I see a star,— Silvery star with a tinkling song; To the soft dew falling I hear it calling— Calling and tinkling the night along.

In through the window a moonbeam comes,— Little gold moonbeam with misty wings; All silently creeping, it asks, "Is he sleeping— Sleeping and dreaming while mother sings?"

Up from the sea there floats the sob Of the waves that are breaking upon the shore, As though they were groaning in anguish, and moaning— Bemoaning the ship that shall come no more.

But sleep, little pigeon, and fold your wings,— Little blue pigeon with mournful eyes; Am I not singing?—see, I am swinging— Swinging the nest where my darling lies. - See more at: