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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Children Band
By Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)
 
From ‘The Crusaders’

ALL holy influences dwell within
  The breast of childhood; instincts fresh from God
  Inspire it, ere the heart beneath the rod
Of grief hath bled, or caught the plague of sin.
How mighty was this fervor which could win        5
  Its way to infant souls!—and was the sod
  Of Palestine by infant Croises trod?
Like Joseph went they forth, or Benjamin,
In all their touching beauty to redeem?
  And did their soft lips kiss the Sepulchre?        10
Alas! the lovely pageant, as a dream,
  Faded! They sank not through ignoble fear;
They felt not Moslem steel. By mountain stream,
  In sands, in fens, they died—no mother near!
 
 
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