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 - 1807-1882
Woods in Winter
When winter winds are piercing chill, And through the hawthorn blows the gale, With solemn feet I tread the hill, That overbrows the lonely vale. O'er the bare upland, and away Through the long reach of desert woods, The embracing sunbeams chastely play, And gladden these deep solitudes. Where, twisted round the barren oak, The summer vine in beauty clung, And summer winds the stillness broke, The crystal icicle is hung. Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs Pour out the river's gradual tide, Shrilly the skater's iron rings, And voices fill the woodland side. Alas! how changed from the fair scene, When birds sang out their mellow lay, And winds were soft, and woods were green, And the song ceased not with the day! But still wild music is abroad, Pale, desert woods! within your crowd; And gathering winds, in hoarse accord, Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud. Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear Has grown familiar with your song; I hear it in the opening year, I listen, and it cheers me long.