Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
The Children’s Hour
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
BETWEEN the dark and the daylight,
  When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations
  That is known as the children’s hour.
I hear in the chamber above me        5
  The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
  And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
  Descending the broad hall-stair,        10
Grave Alice and laughing Allegra,
  And Edith with golden hair.
A whisper, and then a silence;
  Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together        15
  To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway,
  A sudden raid from the hall:
By three doors left unguarded
  They enter my castle wall.        20
They climb up into my turret
  O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me:
  They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses;        25
  Their arms about me intwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
  In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine.
Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti!
  Because you have scaled the wall,        30
Such an old mustache as I am
  Is not a match for you all?
I have you fast in my fortress,
  And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeons        35
  In the Round Tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever,—
  Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
  And moulder in dust away.        40

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