The Children Band

ALL holy influences dwell within
The breast of Childhood: instincts fresh from God
   Inspire it, ere the heart beneath the rod
Of grief hath bled, or caught the plague of sin.
How mighty was that fervour which could win
   Its way to infant souls!--and was the sod
   Of Palestine by infant Croises trod?
Like Joseph went they forth, or Benjamin,
In all their touching beauty to redeem?
   And did their soft lips kiss the Sepulchre?
Alas! the lovely pageant as a dream
   Faded! They sank not through ignoble fear;
They felt not Moslem steel. By mountain, stream,
   In sands, in fens, they died--no mother near!

by Sir Aubrey De Vere

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