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The Children’s Hour

April 23, 2007
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 
    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, 
 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 
    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!
 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, 
    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, 
 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 
    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!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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