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The young lambs are bleating in the meadows;
Do you question the young children in the sorrow, Why their tears are falling so?
The old man may weep for his to-morrow,
The old tree is leafless in the forest
The old year is ending in the frostThe old wound, if stricken, is the sorestThe 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,
For the man's grief abhorrent, draws and presses Down the cheeks of infancy
"Your old earth," they say, "is very dreary;"
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
Ask the old why they weep, and not the children,
And we young ones stand without, in our bewildering,
"True," say the young children, "it may happen That we die before our time.
Little Alice died last year-the grave is shapen
We looked into the pit prepared to take her
Was no room for any work in the close clay:
If you listen by that grave, in sun and shower,
Alas, alas, the children! they are seeking
They are binding up their hearts away from breaking,
Go out, children, from the mine and from the city—
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,
For oh," say the children,
66 we are weary,
And we cannot run or leap
If we cared for any meadows, it were merely
We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
Through the coal-dark, underground-
“For, all day, the wheels are droning, turning,— Their wind comes in our faces,
Till our hearts turn,- our head, with pulses burning,
All are turning, all the day, and we with all. —-
'O ye wheels' (breaking out in a mad moaning),
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
Ay, be silent! Let them hear each other breathing
Let them touch each other's hands, in a fresh wreathing
Let them feel that this cold metallic motion
Is not all the life God fashions or reveals
Let them prove their inward souls against the notion
Grinding life down from its mark;
And the children's souls, which God is calling sunward,
Now tell the poor young children, O my brothers,
So the blessed One, who blesseth all the others,
They answer, "Who is God that He should hear us,
Is it likely God, with angels singing round him,
"Two words, indeed, of praying we remember; And at midnight's hour of harm,—
'Our Father,' looking upward in the chamber,
We know no other words, except 'Our Father,'
And hold both within his 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,
For God's possible is taught by His world's loving —
* 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.