Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
Personal Poems
The Poet and the Children

WITH a glory of winter sunshine
  Over his locks of gray,
In the old historic mansion
  He sat on his last birthday;
With his books and his pleasant pictures,        5
  And his household and his kin,
While a sound as of myriads singing
  From far and near stole in.
It came from his own fair city,
  From the prairie’s boundless plain,        10
From the Golden Gate of sunset,
  And the cedarn woods of Maine.
And his heart grew warm within him,
  And his moistening eyes grew dim,
For he knew that his country’s children        15
  Were singing the songs of him:
The lays of his life’s glad morning,
  The psalms of his evening time,
Whose echoes shall float forever
  On the winds of every clime.        20
All their beautiful consolations,
  Sent forth like birds of cheer,
Came flocking back to his windows,
  And sang in the Poet’s ear.
Grateful, but solemn and tender,        25
  The music rose and fell
With a joy akin to sadness
  And a greeting like farewell.
With a sense of awe he listened
  To the voices sweet and young;        30
The last of earth and the first of heaven
  Seemed in the songs they sung.
And waiting a little longer
  For the wonderful change to come,
He heard the Summoning Angel,        35
  Who calls God’s children home!
And to him in a holier welcome
  Was the mystical meaning given
Of the words of the blessed Master:
  “Of such is the kingdom of heaven!”


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