A child should always say what’s true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table;
At least as far as he is able.
– Robert Louis Stevenson
This poem was first published in as a part of A Child’s Garden of Versus in 1885. Stevenson was a writer of skill and influence. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1850 and lived until 1894. He started his writing career by publishing travel writing and is the author of many short stories and novels including Treasure Island. Here is an interesting website devoted to his life and work.
Whole Duty of Children is a poem that describes the behavior expected from children 129 years ago. However, its principles should be followed today by both young and old; speak the truth, responded if you are spoken to and do your best to have good manners.