Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman
   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
788. The Children’s Hour
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 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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