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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!-
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 frost-
The old hope is hardest to be lost :
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-
handsuls of the meadow-cowslips pretty 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 all day, the iron wheels are droning;
And sometimes we could pray 0 ye wheels' (breaking out in a mad moaning),
Stop! be silent for to-day!'”
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
Ay, be silent! Let them hear each other breathing
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! Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward,
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 unbelievingWe look up for God, but tears have made us blind.”
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.