The Childrens hour

HW Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the light is beginning to lower.
Comes a pause in the days occupation,
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 every where.
 
They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms around 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 moustache 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 I will keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away.