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The young lambs are bleating in the meadows;
The young birds are chirping in the nest; The young fawns are playing with the shadows;
The young flowers are blowing toward the westBut the young, young children, O my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly!They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
In the country of the free.
Do you question the young children in the sorrow,
Why their tears are falling so ? — The old man may weep for his to-morrow,
Which is lost in Long AgoThe old tree is leafless in the forest
The old year is ending in the frostThe old wound, if stricken, is the sorest
The old hope is hardest to be lost : But the young, young children, O my brothers,
Do you ask them why they stand Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers,
In our happy Fatherland ?
They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
And their looks are sad to see, For the man's grief abhorrent, draws and presses
Down the cheeks of infancy“Your old earth,” they say, “ is very dreary;"
"Our young feet,” they say, “ are very weak! Few paces have we taken, yet are weary
Our grave-rest is very far to seek.
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
Ask the old why they weep, and not the children,
For the outside earth is cold, -
And the graves are for the old !”
" True,” say the young children, “it may happen
That we die before our time.
Like a snowball, in the rime.
Was no room for any work in the close clay:
Crying, 'Get up, little Alice! it is day.'
With your ear down, little Alice never cries !-
For the smile has time for growing in her eyes, -
The shroud, by the kirk-chime!
“That we die before our time.”
Alas, alas, the children ! they are seeking
Death in life, as best to have !
With a cerement from the grave.
Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do-
Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through!
But they answer, “ Are your cowslips of the meadows
Like our weeds anear the mine? Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows,
From your pleasures fair and fine!
“For oh,” say the children, “we are weary,
And we cannot run or leap-
To drop down in them, and sleep.
We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
The reddest flower would look as pale as snow.
Through the coal-dark, undergroundOr, all day, we drive the wheels of iron
In the factories, round and round.
“ For, all day, the wheels are droning, turning,
Their wind comes in our faces,Till our hearts turn, - our head, with pulses burning,
And the walls turn in their places, Turns the sky in the high window blank and reeling
Turns the long light that droppeth down the wall — Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling
All are turning, all the day, and we with all. --
And sometimes we could pray
“Stop! be silent for to-day!'”
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
For a moment, mouth to mouth-
Of their tender human youth !
Is not all the life God fashions or reveals-
That they live in you, or under you, O wheels!
Grinding life down from its mark; And the children's souls, which God is calling sunward,
Spin on blindly in the dark.
Now tell the poor young children, O my brothers,
To look up to Him and pray-
Will bless them another day.
While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirred ? When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us
Pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word!
Strangers speaking at the door :
Hears our weeping any more?
“Two words, indeed, of praying we remember;
And at midnight's hour of harm,
Our Father,' looking upward in the chamber,
We say softly for a charm.*
And we think that, in some pause of angel's song, God may pluck them with the silence sweet to gather,
And hold both within bis right hand which is strong. • Our Father'! If He heard us, He would surely
(For they call Him good and mild) Answer, smiling down the steep world very purely,
• Come and rest with me, my child.'
“But, no!" say the children, weeping faster,
“He is speechless as a stone; And they tell us, of His image is the master,
Who commands us to work on. Go to!" say the children,-"up in heaven,
Dark, wheel-like, turning clouds are all we find. Do not mock us; grief has made us unbelieving
We look up for God, but tears have made us blind.” Do you hear the children weeping and disproving,
O my brothers, what ye preach?
And the children doubt of each.
* A fact rendered pathetically historical by Mr. Horne's report of his commission. The name of the poet of " Orion” and “Cosmo de' Medici” has, however, a change of associations; and comes in time to remind me that we have some noble poetic heat of literature still,- however we may be open to the reproach of being somewhat gelid in our humanity.-E. B. B.