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To see a light upon such brows,
Which is the daylight only!

Be pitiful, O God!

The happy children come to us
And look up in our faces;
They ask us "Was it thus, and thus,
When we were in their places?"
We cannot speak;-we see anew
The hills we used to live in,
And feel our mother's smile press through
The kisses she is giving.

Be pitiful, O God!

We pray together at the kirk
For mercy, mercy solely:
Hands weary with the evil work,
We lift them to the Holy.
The corpse is calm below our knee,
Its spirit, bright before Thee:
Between them, worse than either, we—
Without the rest or glory.

Be pitiful, O God!

We leave the communing of men,
The murmur of the passions,
And live alone, to live again
With endless generations:
Are we so brave? The sea and sky
In silence lift their mirrors,
And, glassed therein, our spirits high
Recoil from their own terrors.
Be pitiful, O God!

We sit on hills our childhood wist,
Woods, hamlets, streams, beholding,

The sun strikes through the farthest mist
The city's spire to golden:
The city's golden spire it was,
When hope and health were strongest,
But now it is the churchyard grass
We look upon the longest.

Be pitiful, O God!

And soon all vision waxeth dull;
Men whisper "He is dying;"
We cry no more "Be pitiful!"
We have no strength for crying:
No strength, no need. Then, soul of mine,
Look up and triumph rather!
Lo, in the depth of God's Divine,
The Son adjures the Father,


[Blackwood's Magazine 1843.]

“Φεῦ, φεῦ, τί προσδέρκεσθέ μ ̓ ὄμμασιν, τέκνα;”- Medea.

Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years?

They are leaning their young heads against their mothers,
And that cannot stop their tears.

The young lambs are bleating in the meadows,
The young birds are chirping in the nest,
The young fawns are playing with the shadows,

The young flowers are blowing toward the west-
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly!

They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
In the country of the free.

Do you question the young children in the sorrow
Why their tears are falling so?
The old man may weep for his to-morrow
Which is lost in Long Ago;
The old tree is leafless in the forest,

The old year is ending in the frost,
The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest,
The old hope is hardest to be lost:
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
Do you ask them why they stand
Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers,
In our happy Fatherland?

They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
And their looks are sad to see,

For the man's hoary anguish draws and presses
Down the cheeks of infancy;

"Your old earth," they say, "is very dreary,

Our young feet," they say, "are very weak;
Few paces have we taken, yet are weary-
Our grave-rest is very far to seek:

Ask the aged why they weep, and not the children,
For the outside earth is cold,

And we young ones stand without, in our bewildering, And the graves are for the old.

"True," say the children, "it may happen That we die before our time:

Little Alice died last year, her grave is shapen
Like a snowball, in the rime.

We looked into the pit prepared to take her:

Was no room for any work in the close clay! From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her, Crying, 'Get up, little Alice! it is day.'


you listen by that grave, in sun and shower,

With your ear down, little Alice never cries;

Could we see her face, be sure we should not know her,
For the smile has time for growing in her eyes:
And merry go her moments, lulled and stilled in
The shroud by the kirk-chime.

It is good when it happens," say the children, "That we die before our time."

Alas, alas, the children! they are seeking
Death in life, as best to have:

They are binding up their hearts away from breaking,
With a cerement from the grave.

Go out, children, from the mine and from the city,
Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do;
Pluck your handfuls of the meadow-cowslips pretty,

Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through!
But they answer, "Are your cowslips of the meadows
Like our weeds anear the mine?
Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows,
From your pleasures fair and fine!

"For oh," say the children, "we are weary,
And we cannot run or leap;

If we cared for any meadows, it were merely
To drop down in them and sleep.
Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping,
We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
And, underneath our heavy eyelids drooping

The reddest flower would look as pale as snow. For, all day, we drag our burden tiring

Through the coal-dark, underground; Or, all day, we drive the wheels of iron In the factories, round and round.

"For all day the wheels are droning, turning; Their wind comes in our faces,

Till our hearts turn, our heads with pulses burning,
And the walls turn in their places:

Turns the sky in the high window, blank and reeling,
Turns the long light that drops adown the wall,
Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling:
All are turning, all the day, and we with all.
And all day the iron wheels are droning,
And sometimes we could pray,


'O ye wheels' (breaking out in a mad moaning), 'Stop! be silent for to-day!""

Ay, be silent! Let them hear each other breathing
For a moment, mouth to mouth!

Let them touch each other's hands, in a fresh wreathing
Of their tender human youth!

Let them feel that this cold metallic motion

Is not all the life God fashions or reveals: Let them prove their living souls against the notion That they live in you, or under you, O wheels! Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward,

Grinding life down from its mark;

And the children's souls, which God is calling sunward, Spin on blindly in the dark.

Now tell the poor young children, O my brothers,
To look up to Him and pray;

So the blessed One who blesseth all the others,
Will bless them another day.

They answer, "Who is God that He should hear us,
While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirred?
When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us
Pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word.
And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding)
Strangers speaking at the door:

Is it likely God, with angels singing round Him,
Hears our weeping any more?

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