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“Come, wander with me,” she said,
“Into regions yet untrod;
And read what is still unread

In the manuscripts of God.”

And he wandered away and away
With Nature, the dear old nurse,
Who sang to him night and day

The rhymes of the universe.

And whenever the way seemed long,
Or his heart began to fail,
She would sing a more wonderful song,

Or tell a more marvellous tale.

So she keeps him still a child,
And will not let him go,

Though at times his heart beats wild
For the beautiful Pays de Vaud;

Though at times he hears in his dreams
The Ranz des Vaches of old,
And the rush of mountain streams

From glaciers clear and cold;

And the mother at home says, “Hark!
For his voice I listen and yearn;

It is growing late and dark,
And my boy does not return!”

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CoME to me, O ye children'
For I hear you at your play,
And the questions that perplexed me

Have vanished quite away.

Ye open the eastern windows,
That look towards the sun,
Where thoughts are singing swallows

And the brooks of morning run.

In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklet's flow,

But in mine is the wind of Autumn
And the first fall of the snow.

Ah! what would the world be to us
If the children were no more?

We should dread the desert behind us
Worse than the dark before.

What the leaves are to the forest,
With light and air for food,
Ere their sweet and tender juices

Have been hardened into wood,

That to the world are children;
Through them it feels the glow
Of a brighter and sunnier climate

Than reaches the trunks below.

Come to me, O ye children'
And whisper in my ear
What the birds and the winds are singing

In your sunny atmosphere.

For what are all our contrivings,
And the wisdom of our books,
When compared with your caresses,

And the gladness of your looks?

Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;

For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.

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