Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
Birds of Passage
Flight the Second.
The Children’s Hour
          Included in the volume which contained the first series of Tales of a Wayside Inn, 1863.

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 entwine,
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 dungeon        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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