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BIRDS OF PASSAGE.

FLIGHT THE SECOND.

THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. 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 moustache 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!

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