Fugitive Verses
Popular Reprinted Poetry from Nineteenth Century Newspapers

The Children

  • 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.