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Come to me,
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,
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.
Have you read in the Talmud of old,
Of the limitless realms of the air, — Have you read it, — the marvellous story Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Glory,
Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer ?
How, erect, at the outermost gates
With his feet on the ladder of light,
Alone in the desert at night?
The Angels of Wind and of Fire
With the song's irresistible stress;
By music they throb to express.
But serene in the rapturous throng,
With eyes unimpassioned and slow,
To sounds that ascend from below;
From the spirits on earth that adore,
In the fervor and passion of prayer; From the hearts that are broken with losses, And weary with dragging the crosses
Too heavy for mortals to bear.