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Sickly children, that whine low
To themselves and not their mothers, From mere habit,-never so
Hoping help or care from others. Healthy children, with those blue
English eyes, fresh from their Maker, Fierce and ravenous, staring through
At the brown loaves of the baker.
I am listening here in Rome,
And the Romans are confessing, “English children pass in bloom
All the prettiest made for blessing. “Angli angeli !" (resumed
From the mediæval story) “Such rose angelhoods, emplumed
In such ringlets of pure glory!” Can we smooth down the bright hair,
O my sisters, calm, unthrilled in Our hearts' pulses ? Can we bear
The sweet looks of our own children, While those others, lean and small,
Scurf and mildew of the city, Spot our streets, convict us all
Till we take them into pity ? 6 Is it our fault?” you reply,
“When, throughout civilization, Every nation's empery
Is asserted by starvation ?
“ All these mouths we cannot feed,
And we cannot clothe these bodies.” Well, if man 's so hard indeed,
Let them learn at least what God is !
Little outcasts from life's fold,
The grave's hope they may be joined in, By Christ's covenant consoled
For our social contract's grinding.
If no better can be done,
Let us do but this,-endeavour
them while they shiver !
On the dismal London flags,
Through the cruel social juggle, Put a thought beneath their rags
To ennoble the heart's struggle.
O my sisters ! not so much
Are we asked for-not a blossom From our children's nosegay, such
As we gave it from our bosom,
Not the milk left in their cup,
Not the lamp while they are sleeping, Not the little cloak hung up
While the coat's in daily keeping,
But a place in RAGGED SCHOOLS,
Where the outcasts may to-morrow Learn by gentle words and rules
Just the uses of their sorrow.
O my sisters ! children small,
Blue-eyed, wailing through the cityOur own babes cry in them all,
Let us take them into pity!
A LAY OF THE EARLY ROSE.
A ROSE once grew within
A garden April-green,
A white rose delicate
On a tall bough and straight:
Her pretty gestes did win
South winds to let her in,
6 For if I wait,” said she,
“ Till time for roses be, For the moss-rose and the musk-rose, Maiden-blush and royal dusk-rose,
“What glory then for me
In such a company?-
“Nay, let me in,” said she,
“ Before the rest are free, In my loneness, in my loneness, All the fairer for that oneness.
“For I would lonely stand
Uplifting my white hand, On a mission, on a mission, To declare the coming vision.
“ Upon which lifted sign,
What worship will be mine!
"A windlike joy will rush
Through every tree and bush,
6 Insects that only may
Live in a sunbright ray,
“And every moth and bee,
Approach me reverently,
Three larks shall leave a cloud
To my whiter beauty vowed,
“Ten nightingales shall flee
Their woods for love of me,
“ I ween the
66 And earth will call her flowers
To hasten out of doors,
So praying did she win
South winds to let her in,
But ah,-alas for her !
No thing did minister
No tree nor bush was seen
To boast a perfect green, Scarcely having, scarcely having One leaf broad enough for waving.
The little flies did crawl
Along the southern wall, Faintly shifting, faintly shifting Wings scarce long enough for lifting.
The lark, too high or low,
I ween, did miss her so,
The nightingale did please
To loiter beyond seas :
Only the bee, forsooth,
Came in the place of both, Doing honour, doing honour To the honey.dews upon her.
The skies looked coldly down
As on a royal crown; Then with drop for drop, at leisure, They began to rain for pleasure.