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The Cry of the Children

1 Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers, Leave a comment on line 1 0
2     Ere the sorrow comes with years? Leave a comment on line 2 0
3 They are leaning their young heads against their mothers, — Leave a comment on line 3 0
4     And that cannot stop their tears. Leave a comment on line 4 0
5 The young lambs are bleating in the meadows; Leave a comment on line 5 0
6   The young birds are chirping in the nest; Leave a comment on line 6 0
7 The young fawns are playing with the shadows; Leave a comment on line 7 0
8   The young flowers are blowing toward the west — Leave a comment on line 8 2
9 But the young, young children, O my brothers, Leave a comment on line 9 0
10     They are weeping bitterly! Leave a comment on line 10 0
11 They are weeping in the playtime of the others, Leave a comment on line 11 0
12     In the country of the free. Leave a comment on line 12 0

13 Do you question the young children in the sorrow, Leave a comment on line 13 0
14     Why their tears are falling so? Leave a comment on line 14 0
15 The old man may weep for his to-morrow Leave a comment on line 15 0
16     Which is lost in Long Ago — Leave a comment on line 16 0
17 The old tree is leafless in the forest — Leave a comment on line 17 0
18   The old year is ending in the frost — Leave a comment on line 18 0
19 The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest — Leave a comment on line 19 0
20   The old hope is hardest to be lost: Leave a comment on line 20 0
21 But the young, young children, O my brothers, Leave a comment on line 21 0
22     Do you ask them why they stand Leave a comment on line 22 0
23 Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers, Leave a comment on line 23 0
24     In our happy Fatherland? Leave a comment on line 24 0

25 They look up with their pale and sunken faces, Leave a comment on line 25 0
26     And their looks are sad to see, Leave a comment on line 26 0
27 For the man’s grief abhorrent, draws and presses Leave a comment on line 27 0
28     Down the cheeks of infancy — Leave a comment on line 28 0
29 “Your old earth,” they say, “is very dreary;” Leave a comment on line 29 0
30   “Our young feet,” they say, “are very weak!” Leave a comment on line 30 0
31 Few paces have we taken, yet are weary– Leave a comment on line 31 0
32   Our grave-rest is very far to seek! Leave a comment on line 32 0
33 Ask the old why they weep, and not the children, Leave a comment on line 33 0
34     For the outside earth is cold — Leave a comment on line 34 0
35 And we young ones stand without, in our bewildering, Leave a comment on line 35 0
36     And the graves are for the old!” Leave a comment on line 36 0

37 “True,” say the children, “it may happen Leave a comment on line 37 0
38     That we die before our time! Leave a comment on line 38 0
39 Little Alice died last year her grave is shapen Leave a comment on line 39 0
40     Like a snowball, in the rime. Leave a comment on line 40 0
41 We looked into the pit prepared to take her — Leave a comment on line 41 0
42   Was no room for any work in the close clay: Leave a comment on line 42 0
43 From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her, Leave a comment on line 43 0
44   Crying, ‘Get up, little Alice! it is day.’ Leave a comment on line 44 0
45 If you listen by that grave, in sun and shower, Leave a comment on line 45 0
46   With your ear down, little Alice never cries; Leave a comment on line 46 0
47 Could we see her face, be sure we should not know her, Leave a comment on line 47 0
48   For the smile has time for growing in her eyes,– Leave a comment on line 48 0
49 And merry go her moments, lulled and stilled in Leave a comment on line 49 0
50     The shroud, by the kirk-chime! Leave a comment on line 50 0
51 It is good when it happens,” say the children, Leave a comment on line 51 0
52     “That we die before our time!” Leave a comment on line 52 0

53 Alas, the wretched children! they are seeking Leave a comment on line 53 0
54     Death in life, as best to have! Leave a comment on line 54 0
55 They are binding up their hearts away from breaking, Leave a comment on line 55 0
56     With a cerement from the grave. Leave a comment on line 56 0
57 Go out, children, from the mine and from the city — Leave a comment on line 57 0
58   Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do — Leave a comment on line 58 0
59 Pluck you handfuls of the meadow-cowslips pretty Leave a comment on line 59 0
60   Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through! Leave a comment on line 60 0
61 But they answer, ” Are your cowslips of the meadows Leave a comment on line 61 0
62     Like our weeds anear the mine? Leave a comment on line 62 0
63 Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows, Leave a comment on line 63 0
64     From your pleasures fair and fine! Leave a comment on line 64 0

65 “For oh,” say the children, “we are weary, Leave a comment on line 65 0
66     And we cannot run or leap — Leave a comment on line 66 0
67 If we cared for any meadows, it were merely Leave a comment on line 67 0
68     To drop down in them and sleep. Leave a comment on line 68 0
69 Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping — Leave a comment on line 69 0
70   We fall upon our faces, trying to go; Leave a comment on line 70 0
71 And, underneath our heavy eyelids drooping, Leave a comment on line 71 0
72   The reddest flower would look as pale as snow. Leave a comment on line 72 0
73 For, all day, we drag our burden tiring, Leave a comment on line 73 0
74     Through the coal-dark, underground — Leave a comment on line 74 0
75 Or, all day, we drive the wheels of iron Leave a comment on line 75 0
76     In the factories, round and round. Leave a comment on line 76 0

77 “For all day, the wheels are droning, turning, — Leave a comment on line 77 0
78     Their wind comes in our faces, — Leave a comment on line 78 0
79 Till our hearts turn, — our heads, with pulses burning, Leave a comment on line 79 0
80     And the walls turn in their places Leave a comment on line 80 0
81 Turns the sky in the high window blank and reeling — Leave a comment on line 81 0
82   Turns the long light that droppeth down the wall, — Leave a comment on line 82 0
83 Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling — Leave a comment on line 83 0
84   All are turning, all the day, and we with all! — Leave a comment on line 84 0
85 And all day, the iron wheels are droning; Leave a comment on line 85 0
86     And sometimes we could pray, Leave a comment on line 86 0
87 ‘O ye wheels,’ (breaking out in a mad moaning) Leave a comment on line 87 0
88     ‘Stop! be silent for to-day!'” Leave a comment on line 88 0

89 Ay! be silent! Let them hear each other breathing Leave a comment on line 89 0
90     For a moment, mouth to mouth — Leave a comment on line 90 0
91 Let them touch each other’s hands, in a fresh wreathing Leave a comment on line 91 2
92     Of their tender human youth! Leave a comment on line 92 0
93 Let them feel that this cold metallic motion Leave a comment on line 93 0
94   Is not all the life God fashions or reveals — Leave a comment on line 94 0
95 Let them prove their inward souls against the notion Leave a comment on line 95 0
96   That they live in you, or under you, O wheels! — Leave a comment on line 96 0
97 Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward, Leave a comment on line 97 0
98     As if Fate in each were stark; Leave a comment on line 98 0
99 And the children’s souls, which God is calling sunward, Leave a comment on line 99 0
100     Spin on blindly in the dark. Leave a comment on line 100 0

101 Now tell the poor young children, O my brothers, Leave a comment on line 101 0
102     To look up to Him and pray — Leave a comment on line 102 0
103 So the blessed One, who blesseth all the others, Leave a comment on line 103 0
104     Will bless them another day. Leave a comment on line 104 0
105 They answer, “Who is God that He should hear us, Leave a comment on line 105 0
106   While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirred? Leave a comment on line 106 0
107 When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us Leave a comment on line 107 0
108   Pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word! Leave a comment on line 108 0
109 And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding) Leave a comment on line 109 0
110     Strangers speaking at the door: Leave a comment on line 110 0
111 Is it likely God, with angels singing round Him, Leave a comment on line 111 0
112     Hears our weeping any more? Leave a comment on line 112 0

113 “Two words, indeed, of praying we remember; Leave a comment on line 113 0
114     And at midnight’s hour of harm, — Leave a comment on line 114 0
115 ‘Our Father,’ looking upward in the chamber, Leave a comment on line 115 0
116     We say softly for a charm. Leave a comment on line 116 1
117 We know no other words, except ‘Our Father,’ Leave a comment on line 117 0
118   And we think that, in some pause of angels’ song, Leave a comment on line 118 0
119 God may pluck them with the silence sweet to gather, Leave a comment on line 119 0
120   And hold both within His right hand which is strong. Leave a comment on line 120 0
121 ‘Our Father!’ If He heard us, He would surely Leave a comment on line 121 0
122     (For they call Him good and mild) Leave a comment on line 122 0
123 Answer, smiling down the steep world very purely, Leave a comment on line 123 0
124     ‘Come and rest with me, my child.’ Leave a comment on line 124 0

125 “But, no!” say the children, weeping faster, Leave a comment on line 125 0
126     “He is speechless as a stone; Leave a comment on line 126 0
127 And they tell us, of His image is the master Leave a comment on line 127 0
128     Who commands us to work on. Leave a comment on line 128 0
129 Go to!” say the children,–“up in Heaven, Leave a comment on line 129 0
130   Dark, wheel-like, turning clouds are all we find! Leave a comment on line 130 0
131 Do not mock us; grief has made us unbelieving — Leave a comment on line 131 0
132   We look up for God, but tears have made us blind.” Leave a comment on line 132 0
133 Do ye hear the children weeping and disproving, Leave a comment on line 133 0
134     O my brothers, what ye preach? Leave a comment on line 134 0
135 For God’s possible is taught by His world’s loving — Leave a comment on line 135 0
136     And the children doubt of each. Leave a comment on line 136 0

137 And well may the children weep before you; Leave a comment on line 137 0
138     They are weary ere they run; Leave a comment on line 138 0
139 They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory Leave a comment on line 139 0
140     Which is brighter than the sun: Leave a comment on line 140 0
141 They know the grief of man, without its wisdom; Leave a comment on line 141 0
142   They sink in the despair, without its calm — Leave a comment on line 142 0
143 Are slaves, without the liberty in Christdom, — Leave a comment on line 143 0
144   Are martyrs, by the pang without the palm, — Leave a comment on line 144 0
145 Are worn, as if with age, yet unretrievingly Leave a comment on line 145 0
146     No dear remembrance keep,– Leave a comment on line 146 0
147 Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly: Leave a comment on line 147 0
148     Let them weep! let them weep! Leave a comment on line 148 0

149 They look up, with their pale and sunken faces, Leave a comment on line 149 0
150     And their look is dread to see, Leave a comment on line 150 0
151 For they think you see their angels in their places, Leave a comment on line 151 0
152     With eyes meant for Deity;– Leave a comment on line 152 0
153 “How long,” they say, “how long, O cruel nation, Leave a comment on line 153 0
154   Will you stand, to move the world, on a child’s heart, — Leave a comment on line 154 0
155 Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation, Leave a comment on line 155 0
156   And tread onward to your throne amid the mart? Leave a comment on line 156 0
157 Our blood splashes upward, O our tyrants, Leave a comment on line 157 0
158     And your purple shews your path; Leave a comment on line 158 0
159 But the child’s sob curseth deeper in the silence Leave a comment on line 159 0
160     Than the strong man in his wrath!” Leave a comment on line 160 0

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Source: https://marginalia.sunygeneseoenglish.org/short-poems/the-cry-of-the-children/

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