Farewell To The Children

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Old 09-Oct-2010
Farewell To The Children

In the early summer morning
I stand and watch them come,
The children to the school-house;
They chatter and laugh and hum.

The little boys with satchels
Slung round them, and the girls
Each with hers swinging in her hand;
I love their sunny curls.

I love to see them playing,
Romping and shouting with glee,
The boys and girls together,
Simple, fearless, free.

I love to see them marching
In squads, in file, in line,
Advancing and retreating,
Tramping, keeping time.

Sometimes a little lad
With a bright brave face I'll see,
And a wistful yearning wonder
Comes stealing over me.

For once I too had a darling;
I dreamed what he should do,
And surely he'd have had, I thought,
Just such a face as you.

And I, I dreamed to see him
Noble and brave and strong,
Loving the light, the lovely,
Hating the dark, the wrong, -

Loving the poor, the People,
Ready to smile and give
Blood and brain to their service,
For them to die or live!

No matter, O little darlings!
Little boys, you shall be
My citizens for faithful labour,
My soldiers for victory!

Little girls, I charge you
Be noble sweethearts, wives,
Mothers - comrades the sweetest,
Fountains of happy lives!

Farewell, O little darlings!
Far away, - with strangers, too -
He sleeps, the little darling,
I dreamed to see like you.

And I, O little darlings,
I have many miles to go,
And where I too may stop and sleep,
And when, I do not know.

But I charge you to remember
The love, the trust I had,
That you'd be noble, fearless, free,
And make your country glad!

That you should toil together,
Face whatever yet shall be,
My citizens for faithful labour,
My soldiers for victory!

I charge you to remember;
I bless you with my hand,
And I know the hour is coming
When you shall understand:

When you shall understand too,
Why, as I said farewell,
Although my lips were smiling,
The shining tears down fell.

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