- When the lessons and tasks are all ended,
- And the school for the day is dismissed,
- The little ones gather around me
- To bid me good night and be kissed;
- O! the little white arms that encircle
- My neck, in their tender embrace,
- O! the smiles that are halos of heaven,
Shedding sunshine of love on my face.
- And when they are gone, I sit dreaming
- Of my childhood, too lovely to last!
- Of love that my heart will remember
- While it wakes to the pulse of the past
- Ere the world and its wickedness made me
- A partner of sorrow and sin;
- When the glory of God was about me,
And the glory of gladness within.
- O! my heart grows as weak as a woman’s,
- And the fount of my feelings will flow,
- When I think of the paths deep and stony,
- Where the feet of the dear ones must go;
- Of the mountains of sin hanging o’er them—
- Of the tempests of Fate blowing wild,
- O! there’s nothing on earth half so holy,
As the innocent heart of a child!
- They are idols of hearts and of households
- They are angels of God in disguise;
- His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses;
- His glory still gleams in their eyes;
- O! those truants from home and from heaven,
- They have made me more manly and mild;
- And I know, now, how Jesus could liken
The kingdom of God to a child.
- I ask not a life for the dear one
- All radiant, as others have done,
- But that life may have just enough shadow
- To temper the glare of the sun;
- I would pray God to guard them from evil,
- But my prayers would bound back to myself.
- Ah! a seraph may pray for a sinner,
But a sinner must pray for himself.
- The twig is so easily bended
- I have banished the rule and the rod;
- I have taught them the goodness of knowledge
- They have taught e the goodness of God;
- My heart is a dungeon of darkness
- Where I shut the for breaking a rule,
- My frown is sufficient correction,
My love is the law of the school.
- I shall leave the old house in the autumn,
- To traverse its threshhold no more;
- Ah! how shall I sigh for the dear ones
- That meet me each morn at the door!
- I shall miss the “good-nights,” and the kisses,
- And the gush of their innocent glee,
- The group on the green, and the flowers
That are brought every morning for me.
- I shall miss them at morn and at eve—
- Their song in the school and the street;
- I shall miss the low hum of their voices,
- And the tramp of their delicate feet.
- When the lessons of life are all ended,
- And death says, “The school is dismissed!”
- May the little ones gather around me,
- To bid me good-night and be kissed.