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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Come to me,  O ye children !

For I hear you at your play:

And the questions that perplex'd me

Have vanish'd quite away.

Ye open the Eastern windows

That look toward the sun,

Where thoughts are singing swallows

And the brooks of morning run.

In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,

In your thoughts the brooklets flow:

But in mine is the wind of Autumn

And the first fall of the snow.

Ah !    what would the wolrd be to us,

If the children were no more ?

We should dread the desert behind us

Worse than the dark before.

What the leaves are to the forest,

With light and air for food,

Ere their sweet and tender juices

Have been harden'd into wood, ---

That to the world are children:

Through them if feels the glow

Of a brighter and sunnier climate

Than reaches the trunks below.

Come to me,  O ye children !

And whisper in my ear

What the birds and the winds are singing

In your sunny atmosphere.

For what are all our contrivings,

And the wisdom of our books,

When compared with your caresses

And the gladness of your looks ?

Ye are better than all the ballads

That ever were sung or said:

For ye are living poems,

And all the rest are dead.


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